Velier Blairmont 1991 (15 years)
Background: this is my first review of a Velier demerara rum. There is little to say of this Velier demeraras that has not already been said by a popular rum reviewer. In essence, Velier made exemplary the existence of very high quality Guyanese rums which are tropically aged, when the segment was dominated by ultra-old continentally aged Cadenhead’s bottlings. Now these Velier bottles are fetching ridiculous prices on the secondary market. This Blairmont is no Skeldon, but a bottle of it would still cost you a cool £2000 at auctions. Just how much of the £2000 is one paying for the rum itself? One has to taste to find out.
Nose: very milky, in both scent and texture; old, legendary rums the likes of Samaroli West Indies 1948 and Velier UF30E come with a certain kind of thick, musty sweetness that one might describe as “milky”, but it really is a different thing; the dairy note is more pronounced here, and it is impressively thorough, seeping into every aspect of the nose; various kinds of tea with milk – matcha, ceylon, earl grey; coconut shavings, fried with brown sugar; peppermint bubblegum; sandalwood resin; hessian cloth; roasted coffee beans and malt; with some exposure to air, it gets more fruity; overripe jackfruit; dried mango and papaya; an stew of apples, cherries and fig; I am inadvertently reminded of Four Roses; the base notes include petrichor, crystalline cane syrup, and mochi.
Palate: medium-bodied; stewed cherries and figs; oxidised apple; coconut shavings in brown sugar; caramel; creamy matcha and black milk tea; papayas served multiple ways, green and overripe, with and without skin; dried and crystallised apricot and mango, accompanied by a fresh serving of sugarcane juice and a drizzle of cane syrup; there is an uncanny similarity to a particular aged cane juice rum from the Vendome still of Saint Lucia Distillers; the oak is felt on the back-palate in the form of roasted coffee beans and malt, along with a touch of iodine.
Finish: rather short in length; the milky and creamy notes come back; vanilla; matcha; grass jelly in soy milk, nicknamed “Michael Jackson” in this part of the woods; indistinct dried yellow fruits; apple and peppermint bubblegum; fresh leaves and vegetables show up in the aftertaste as a nice surprise.
Conclusion: this has the hallmarks of a light distillate that improved in quality over time in wood. That is not to say the light mark has no character; it definitely does, what with the enduring presence of a bunch of milk teas. Even so, like all other Velier demeraras I have tasted, the emphasis here is on the “darker”, sweeter aromas and flavours. More savouriness and acidity would elevate this to the realm of greatness. Still undeniably a very good rum, but not something I would pay more than $200 for.
Score (assuming a normal distribution with mean 50): 86/100
Image Courtesy of u/zoorado.
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