Velier Royal Navy Very Old Rum
Trinidad / Guyana / Jamaica
Blended Rum – A blend of only pot still and traditional column still from multiple distilleries.
ABV Hydrometer Test: 57% ABV @ 20°
* P C B
Anything that appears with the word “Velier” instantly tweaks the interest of the rum world. Head honcho, Luca Gargano knows his rums and when he puts the Velier name on a bottle, it raises the profile and desirability beyond that of most rums.
Why? Well, put simply, in the rum world, the Velier name has come to be respected and admired as a proponent/producer/bottler/blender of some of the finest rums on the planet. No additives, no marketing b*llsh*t, just honest rum. And of course, those in the know in the rum world will be aware of the proposed re-categorisation of rum, created by Luca himself. And anyone who has met Luca will know that he is a top bloke and a really kind, generous person. But all of that leads to high demand and therefore inflated prices, too unfortunately.
I met Luca again at Rumfest 2017 (see below).
So, as a supporter of rum’s re-categorisation and a fellow Guardian of Rum, I was very excited to spot a new Velier release at 2017’s RumFest – Velier Royal Navy Very Old Rum.
This is an exceptional blend of rums described on the bottle as “the oldest blend of British caribbean rums of 21st Century.” To be precise, Caroni from Trinidad, tropically aged for more than 20 years, Demerara from Guyana aged in Europe for over 15 years and Jamaican pure single rums aged in the tropics for more than 12 years. The bottle states that the blend’s “weighted average” is 17.42 years. Wow!
Under Richard Seale’s/Luca Gargano’s proposed rum categorisation, this would most-likely be classed as a “Blended Rum” – A blend of only pot still and traditional column still from multiple distilleries. My hydrometer test showed a measurement of 57%.
Bottled at a very precise 57.18%, this rum certainly sounds pretty impressive. So, let’s look a little more closely at this rum.
The bottle is nothing remarkable – pretty standard, but then that is fine with me as I am more concerned about the contents. The label is old-fashioned looking, presumably evoking memories of history and the British Navy. There is clear and detailed info on the rums and the blend (as mentioned previously), which is fantastic.
The rum’s colour is a medium amber, perhaps slightly coppery. The aroma is exceptionally strong – not a big surprise given it is 57%. The first nosing offers over-powering diesel-like metallic fumes that dominate – obviously, this is the Caroni element vying for your attention. Leave this in the glass for a few minutes and the Caroni dominance mellows leaving behind dried fruits, almost Christmas-cake-like. There is also some oak underneath it all in the background.
This is one of those rums that really benefitted from being poured into my Neat glass as it helped to keep the strong fumes inside the glass, allowing the high ABV rum to shine through.
Taste, Initial-middle 34/40
Despite the high ABV, the entry is remarkably soft and light. This makes for dangerous drinking methinks as this can be drunk way too easily, especially as the rum is very smooth.
Initially upfront is oak and dried fruits, which I think is the Guyanese influence. Plus there are soft pastry-like flavours.
Taste, Middle/Throat 35/40
The Caroni appears in the mid-palate with a fist pumping whack! That metallic, diesel-like aroma dominates as a flavour at this point, although after multiple sips, your palate becomes more accustomed to it and allows other notes to appear. The Neat glass helps with this as it tones down some of the high ABV aromas. There is lots of charred oak and peppery spice, which is joined by tropical and dried fruits, notably raisins. The rum becomes drier with multiple tastings and the power of the ABV is more noticeable as it becomes more reminiscent of a Hampden rum (the Jamaican influence).
The rum has an exceptionally long and dry finish that continues to please long after swallowing. There is lots of well-managed oak and the peppery spice becomes more noticeable, too. The more sips you have, the more the finish reminds me of a Hampden rum, which suits me perfectly.
Morning After Aroma
This rum still has amazing aromas. The Caroni is fresh and powerful but a little less diesel-like. The dried fruits and Christmas-cake-like aromas are very prominent.
We have three rums in one bottle here.
The aroma, especially initially, is very distinctly Trinidadian Caroni. The entry is a mixture between Guyanese oak and Jamaican funky fruits. The mid/rear is a mixture of Caroni diesel and Hampden funky fire. Finally, the body and finish are very Jamaican.
It is an exciting taste experience, but leaves me to question if there isn’t a little too much happening in the rum at the same time, which detracts slightly. All of the rums in the blend are top quality and enjoy their individual moments in your glass though.
I have tried a couple of drops of water in this, too and to be honest, some will prefer it, but I do not think the flavours improve. The ABV feels right for most of the tasting, moving seamlessly between very soft to powerful.
With Velier’s reputation and given the pedigree of the rums in this blend, it will fly off the shelves, but it IS pricey. That said, 20 year old Caroni, 15 year old Demerara and 12 year old Hampden are all superb tipples.
P Denotes the rum contains POT still distillate.
C Denotes the rum contains traditional/Coffey COLUMN still distillate.
B Denotes the rum contains a BLEND of POT and COLUMN still distillate.
M Denotes the rum contains MULTI-COLUMN still distillate or is a MODERN rum.
A Denotes the rum is an AGRICOLE i.e. from Cane Juice.
S Denotes the rum is presented in a SWEETENED style.
Bottle/Presentation Out of 3
Glass/Aroma Out of 10
Taste, Initial-middle Out of 40
Taste, Middle/Throat Out of 40
Afterburn Out of 7