Tasting Notes for Habitation Velier - Last Ward 2009
Nose: Warm but not quite spicy. Initial fruity notes of cherry, ripe banana and citrus hints. Bitter cocoa and sweet spices elegantly close the picture.
Taste: Ripe fruits – cherry, apples, peaches followed by almonds, cereals and vanilla, before doing a neat segue into salted butter, leather and a crisp note of light citrus giving it some edge.
Finish: The finish fades gently into leather, smoke, fruits and lemon peel, exiting not so much with a flourish as a satisfied sigh that makes you hasten to fill another glass just to get some more.
The Habitation Velier Last Ward 2009 release is the second Habitation Velier bottling from this famous distillery on Barbados, and the final release to be named Last Ward.
Between 2007 and 2014, the Ward family, after whom the release is named and who owned and operated the famous Mount Gay distillery for over a century, produced an experimental triple distilled spirit on their McMillan double retort pot stills. Velier obtained casks of this rare spirit after the distillery was sold in 2014.
This Velier release is unique in that it is a style of rum not bottled by Mount Gay itself - triple distilled on the wonderful old pot stills from the Mt Gilboa/Mt Gay distillery in St. Lucy Parish, and unlike more commercial Mount Gay releases, this is 100% pot still, rather than the blends which go into the mainstream offerings.
After aging for 9 years in bourbon barrels in Barbados, and giving up an angels share of more than 64%, the rum was bottled at natural cask strength of 59% abv, creating one of the only opportunities to try an experimental spirit from one of the oldest distilleries in the world.
The Velier company was founded by the Chaix family in 1947. From 1953 to 1983, this small traditional company, located in the port of Gênes, specialised in the importation and distribution of wines, champagnes and spirits. In 1983, then aged 25, Luca Gargano acquired shares in Velier. Under his influence the company began specialising in the importation of exceptional spirits to be supplied to the most prestigious establishments in Italy. In the early 1990s, Luca Gargano heard rumours of a mythical, quasi-legendary stock of St James Rum that had supposedly been distilled at the end of the 19th century. Eventually he discovered proof that this stock, distilled in 1885 and bottled in 1952, did indeed exist. And in 1991, following lengthy discussions, Luca finally managed to acquire the entirety of this stock, which he then released on the Italian market. These selections of rums have since multiplied and led to the birth of exceptional ranges.
The latest range by Velier and Luca Gargano is Habitation Velier. The result of extensive research and education on rum over the past decades, combining Velier's experience with the know-how of the best rum producers. This range of rums takes up the codes dear to the brand, namely changing the perception of things, from the importance of aging to the importance of pot still distillation.
The idea behind the Habitation Velier project is to educate consumers and to promote artisanal distillation and the distiller’s art and techniques. Each expression, with its unique features, embodies an original project, a “world premiere” for each distillery. The range includes white Pure Single Rums, which although still not widely known, are the quintessence of sugar cane and its by-product, molasses.
Today, these white rums provide great inspiration for new generation international mixology. The vintage Pure Single Rums are entirely aged in a tropical climate, which ensures natural, accelerated aging compared to European ageing, at the expense of the quantity produced. All Habitation Velier rums are bottled at barrel proof, non-chill filtered, and without the addition of caramel or any other element not from distillation.
Producer Mount Gay for Velier Style Pure Single Rum Age 9 years tropical aging in Barbados Volume 70CL ABV 59%