Velier UF30E 1985

This write-up will be relatively small….to match the amount of liquid I have available to talk about. Thanks need to go to Helena over at A Mountain of Crushed Ice (link on the side of this page) for sending me the sample from her own sample….There really is that little of this stuff around.

Image Copyright of Lance Surujbally

Image Copyright of Lance Surujbally

So this is a weird one. On the bottle (that I’ve only seen photographs of), the name of this Rum is UF30E 1985……So we gather that distillation was in 1985. It’s a Demerara Rum from Guyana so we can deduce by the U that it could perhaps be from the Uitvlugt Distillery that was on the West Coast of the Demerara River in Guyana. Now there is a whole host of information over at Barrel Aged Mind that I would be plagiarising if I were to regurgitate here so I suggest that you give this long and detailed article a go. The research that went into it is astounding. The basics however are that the Uitvlugt Plantation (Uitvlugt as a translation from Dutch means ‘Flowing Out’ or ‘Out Flow’) was founded sometime between 1759 and 1776 and the Distillery was said to have been established in 1798 at the earliest as there was a shift in quantities of Coffee and Sugarcane production leading to reduced Coffee production and increased Sugarcane production with the sole crop being Sugarcane from around 1838. The Uitvlught Distillery was active until December 1999. Stills wise, only the Four Column French Savalle Stills were original to Uitvlugt and taken from the distillery upon its closure although in its time the distillery saw the Double Wooden Pot Still from Port Mourant (moved to Diamond in 2000) and also the Single Wooden Pot Still from Versailles (via Enmore). There is mention in the article linked to that the 4 Column French Savalle Still was initially two 2 Column Stills that were joined together in their current guise at DDL…..and on the DDL website there is a note that this 4 Column Still can produce 9 marques ranging from light to heavy body so its pretty versatile kit.

Image Copyright of Lance Surujbally

Image Copyright of Lance Surujbally

The F30E part is however a bit of a unique one. This actually relates to the field in which the sugarcane that went into this Rum was grown! Essentially the full title is Uitvlugt Field #30 East. This Rum distilled in 1985 as stated and it was bottled in 2012. It saw a full 27 years of tropical age and lost over 90% of the barrel contents (barrel numbers #10548, #10552 and #10553) to the Angels Share. Not a great return for your patience as only 814 bottles were produced at an eye watering 60.7%.

Velier UF30E 1985 – 60.7% abv

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Tasting Notes

Glass: The Rum is a dark mahogany and gold in the glass….reminiscent of golden syrup. Initial aromas are punchy alcohol that has a stinging astringency to it….it is also brimming with Muscovado sugar aromas. There is that familiar nose of burnt syrupy sugar and warming liquorice. Prunes, raisins and medjool dates coated in milk chocolate. There is also a salty character to the nose. Oak is clearly present but nowhere near as dominating as I had anticipated. Its well-tempered and sat a few layers down. It plays off the sweeter dark fruit and syrup notes by combining with the liquorice to give a light bitterness that perfectly offsets the former. I have such a small sample of this Rum, I’ve been sitting with it for half an hour or so and have carefully added one drop of water, given it a swirl and awoken sticky ginger cake, star anise, cinnamon and the lightest whiff of window putty.

Mouth: This Rum has a bitter entry on the palate. It’s all liquorice and Pontefract cakes with light oak. There is a growing warmth that brings a black pepper spike to the mid palate and a moisture sapping astringent oak to the cheeks. Further careful sips reveal crystalized orange wheels, raisins, glace cherries, star anise and ginger. Sticky date and walnut cake also comes to mind along withe the fruit loaf that my Auntie Hazel used to make when I was a child…..She would ALWAYS burn the top….first time was probably a mistake, but I’m pretty sure that my reaction to my first taste of that bittersweet loaf meant that she deliberately burnt it on subsequent bakes. The finish, whilst not as long as I had anticipated runs the gamut of the flavours that preceded it with added lighter floral notes and drying charred oak. It is so unbelievably well integrated and balanced that even at its hefty 60+% its an absolute delight  to enjoy.

I only wish that I owned a bottle of this stuff. My sample will have been decanted, split, decanted and then kindly forwarded to me and I can only imagine the delights that would await you as you pop the cork on an unopened bottle of this. I’d expect a bigger more aggressive alcohol and oak astringency from a new bottle, but maybe I haven’t had to work as hard to find the good stuff as it has had plenty of time to stretch its legs and it performed with such class from the word go.

This UF30E represents a true piece of Rum making history in a glass and a testament to the art of Rum making and the value of extreme patience. I doubt that we’ll see the likes of this Rum again.

I turn 40 soon so if anyone is feeling generous…..this is what I’d like.

© Steven James and Rum Diaries Blog 2017. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material, both written and photographic without the express and written permission from this blog/sites author and owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Steven James and Rum Diaries Blog with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

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Velier Skeldon 1973 Full Proof

I think that it would only be right and proper to advise you up front that this is probably the best Rum that you’ll almost certainly never be able to buy….That is unless you have the contacts and the disposable income as the bottles that I have seen have sold for upwards of 1200 Euros……A strange way to start an article I know, ‘Here’s something I know that you’ll not get to experience’. But I have been very fortunate in the contacts and friends that I have made purely through sharing a mutual love of a bottled spirit, and I have been very lucky enough to have been granted the opportunity to try this mythical creature courtesy of a very generous friend and writer….take a bow Lance….You are a gentleman and a scholar.

Skeldon 1

Photograph Copyright of Lance Surujbally

There are precious few resources about this particular Rum online and even fewer resources on the background of the distillery. I will of course link to those resources throughout this article. One of the ways that I conduct the tastings that throw out these meandering brain dumps that I’m unsure if anyone cares for, is to always complete my own notes before looking for other articles. It is so easy to almost fool yourself into thinking that you can taste and smell certain things that others with perhaps more trained noses and palates can detect, but there is a certain satisfaction when you then look around and see that you experience similar things but perhaps with differing memory based triggers. The wonderful world of Rum.

The distributors of this Rum are Velier. Velier are an Italian company headed up by the skilled and very charismatic Ruruki Gargano. I’ll save further elaboration for some upcoming articles. Anyhow, back to the important business at hand. From the limited information online, Skeldon it seems is not based ‘on the banks of the Demerara River’….though it is based on a different river. It is a small town in the East Berbice-Corentyne region on the banks of the Corentyne River which forms the border that Guyana shares with Suriname. The Rum itself was not it seems distilled at the Skeldon facility as this Distillery produced Rum only up until 1960. It is likely then that this Rum was produced at the now closed Uitvlugt Distillery on a Coffey Still. As none of the stills were apparently relocated, the still used must have been pre-existing in its Uitvlugt location. This information has been gathered from the quite frankly magnificent research and writing carried out by Marco Freyr and it can be found here. 

Velier Skeldon 1973 – 60.5% abv

Skeldon 73 Close

The Rum in question was distilled in 1973 and bottled in 2005 giving it a massive 32 years of tropical age. In this day and age that it unbelievable. Barrel marks are <SWR> which according to Marco’s research could be either ‘Sir William Russell’ or more likely ‘Skeldon William Ross’, with William Ross being the founder of the Skeldon estate. The outturn of this release was a paltry 544 bottles….I don’t have information on the exact losses to the angels share but it surely must’ve been 80% plus. Here we go…

Tasting Notes

Skeldon 2

Photograph Copyright of Lance Surujbally

In the glass – You immediately get the impression that you are about to be a part of something really special. The Rum itself is so so dark and brooding. It is a mahogany that when held to the light displays a vibrant dark red reminiscent of ripe Victoria plums. There is a very apparent greenish hue to the ring of liquid where it meets the glass further indicating a good deal of time spent in oak. A swirl leaves a ring of liquid that slowly develops small beads. It takes a good 2 or 3 minutes for a few of those beads, not all of them, to slowly make their way back home to the rest of their rummy buddies in the glass. Getting your nose within a foot of the glass overpowers your senses with raisins and prunes. Very inviting. Moving closer to the glass, there is a slight nutty quality that draws you into something that is reminiscent of a really good pint of Porter or a nice Chocolate Stout and all of the chocolate and coffee notes that they carry within them. There is a slight hint of bitterness too that reminds me of a freshly opened tin of treacle….this then develops into a soft liquorice. Time is certainly key with this Rum. You don’t spend 32 years in a barrel, numerous years sitting in a bottle and then reveal all straight away. Coming back to the glass 10 minutes later, there is a sour black cherry note that is lifted upon the brooding heavy stone fruit. One thing that I’m not suffering from is a feeling that there has been too much time spent in the barrel. Wood influence I certainly there but it is not dominant. Maybe it is responsible for the sour black cherry and slight bitterness? The last thing that hits me, some 30 minutes after pouring is the slightest menthol note. To be honest, If I could smell only one Rum until the end of my days it would be a close call between the Velier Diamond 1999 or this Velier Skeldon 1973.

Skeldon 73 GlassIn the mouth – The initial entry is all-encompassing. There is a slight, but only slight, bite from the alcohol. But its good to be reminded that you’re drinking a high-proof spirit. This swiftly gives way to a really pleasant warming heat that envelops your whole mouth in a silky dark chocolate resplendent with intense notes of coffee. The best way to reference this, for me, is to go back to the pint of Porter or Chocolate Stout. Huge bitter notes are in abundance and it is liquorice leading the way now. This dies down and leads into prunes and a homemade blackcurrant jam that are themselves starting to morph into a really oaky, well aged PX Sherry minus the cloying nature. It is a big Rum, but not a chewy Rum. It is such a well-balanced prospect that it manages to release all of the waves of flavour almost in some sort of other worldly cosmic order to take you on a journey through all 32 years of its life. Each facet gets ample time in the spotlight, all being held upright and slowly ushered along by the strong spine of coffee and liquorice. The oak brings with it a cutting Steven Wright or Jack Dee like dryness. Now we are almost at the really saddening part….assessing the finish using the remains of the sample. It should come as no surprise that it is long….very long. Coffee and chocolate lead the way before the prunes elbow their way in. Bitter liquorice follows before, several minutes later, a real sense of black olives surprises you with an almost salty brine. Sensational stuff.

This Rum is everything a Rum should be. It smells amazing. Tastes amazing. Is unbelievably well-balanced. Is relaxed whilst remaining focussed, and it delivers an experience that must be savoured. Sure the 60.5% is there, and it is a bit punchy, but still also massively drinkable up there. It has none of the tongue numbing factors usually associated with high-proof spirits. Never once did my senses feel compromised. Things like this are quickly becoming impossible to find. With Veliers almost exclusive choice of the 100% tropically aged Demerara stocks at DDL now all but ended with the release of El Dorados Rare Collection, this truly is a moment in time.

If I were a man who used expletives within articles, and those that know me know that I rarely swear *cough*, I would find quite a few strong words to extol the virtues of this mythical creature.

So the big question is, if you see it, should you pay upwards of 1200 Euros for it? That decision can only be yours. It is certainly an experience….and a bloody good one at that. There is history attached to this Rum. Stories of closed distilleries and upheaval. A dwindling industry and a concentrating of resources. If that is your bag, you already know your answer to the question. For me, I don’t have the resources to part with such cash. If I did, I would already own a bottle. It’s simply that good. The fact that I have been able to experience it is something that I’m hugely thankful for. I’d offer something of equal value to Lance, but sadly that’d mean handing over a kidney….or an arm…and I kinda like having a full complement.

© Steven James and Rum Diaries Blog 2016. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material, both written and photographic without the express and written permission from this blog/sites author and owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Steven James and Rum Diaries Blog with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

Our Rum and Spirits Guyana 24

Our Rum & SpiritsOur Rum & Spirits is an independent brand hailing from Germany. It is the brainchild of restaurateur Christian Nagel. Christian has been an independent restaurateur for almost 9 years initially had 2 Rums on his menu. In time this increased to over 30. In August 2011 he opened a new restaurant in the world cultural heritage town of Hildesheim called Gasthaus im Brühl. The menu there started with 35 Rums and now has over 80 due to the popularity of Rum with his guests. He began getting asked whether he had plans to sell his own Rum bottlings and this led him to source an importer of Rums within Germany. The Our Rum & Spirits brand was born. Their first bottling was a Guyana Diamond 11-year-old Rum. Only 60 bottles were available, it was 62.5% abv and was sold for 48 Euros per bottle. All have been sold except for 3 bottles kept back to be served to restaurant guests. In December 2014, Christian obtained enough bulk Rum for 100 bottles of Barbados Rum and he also purchased a barrel of Guyanese Rum to further expand the range.

Our Rum & Spirits Guyana 24 Year Old – 61.2% abv

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This Rum is from the Enmore Distillery which closed in 1993 and was distilled in their Single Wooden Pot Still which was originally located at the Versailles Distillery prior to it’s arrival at Enmore. It was distilled in December 1990 and was bottled in January 2015. The Rum is from Cask 20 which was stored in England prior to the end of 2013 when it was relocated to Germany. The barrel mark is MEV which means Main Rum Enmore Versailles…..this was not a distillery applied barrel mark. The barrel yield was 178 bottles at its cask strength of 61.2% abv and the Rum is neither coloured nor chill filtered. The Rum is a limited edition for Our Rum & Spirits and each one costs 110 Euros.

Tasting Notes

In the glass: The Rum is a pale gold / straw colour in the glass. A little swirl reveals……nothing. Well, apart from a thin halo around the glass. Slowly, little beads begin to develop. They just sit there, getting slightly larger before over a period of 2 to 3 minutes, slowly and reluctantly returning home. There are immediate astringent notes along with freshly sharpened pencil aromas…..and lots of them. This Rum doesn’t give much up at all. There is a bourbon like oak, some white pepper and a fortified wine tingle. Like the colour, very light.

In the mouth: Holy Hell…..I gulped too much initially. Massive schoolboy error. Coughing ensued and I needed a sip of water. It felt like a roundhouse kick from Chuck Norris! Where did THAT come from…..its a mild-mannered, gentle beast surely?!? Apparently not! Right, now with the respect it clearly deserves. Heavy is a word that I would use. The Rum is very smoky, almost peaty. Those freshly sharpened pencils are there along with raisins, sticky dates and an all-encompassing mouthfeel. It is very spicy up front but this subsides as you sip more of the liquid. It is also very dry due to its 24 years in the barrel. It feels almost gloopy in your mouth….its not, but it feels that way. I’ve not tried many 15 year plus Demerara Rums but this has spiked my interest! I want more if this is a common theme! It slowly reveals more raisins, dates and chewy toffee. It’s a grow-er not a show-er for sure. The finish is very very long on this beautiful Rum…..in fact, I think that I can still taste it! True to the initial observations the finish is entirely consistent…..pencil shavings, oak, a wine influence, astringency and dry smoke. There is also a Bakewell Tart taste right at the end.

*edit 09.03.2015 – I finished off the last remains of the sample and continuing the woody theme, it reminded me of making wooden arrows in the garden shed as a child, that freshly sawn timber and sap aroma. There was also a faint bit of liqourice on the finish that I didn’t pick up on my initial visits*

I added a little water. The astringency is removed and the oak is calmed. This allows a muscovado sugar aroma to peep through the oak. To taste it is still warming but not as spicy. There is a slightly bitter, woody quality now. It is still very dry but with light vanilla. To be honest, keep it at full strength…..it provide a far better experience there.

This Rum is one of the oldest demerara’s that I’ve tasted and has opened my eyes a little. Such a depth of flavour and such a heavy body to the Rum……I’m afraid that my closing words have to be…..I want one!

© Steven James and Rum Diaries Blog 2015. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material, both written and photographic without the express and written permission from this blog/sites author and owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Steven James and Rum Diaries Blog with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.