Yet again my curiosity draws me towards a Velier bottle. This time another one of the 2014 released Velier bottlings.
This particular bottle comes from the Uitvlugt French Savalle still, bearing the barrel mark ”ULR”, which identifies it as an experimental light rum from a still, which can create up to nine different marks or profiles if you like.T
he fact that it was distilled in 1997 makes it of somewhat historic interest. At that point the Uitvlugt still was still operational at the Uitvlugt Distillery and it remained there until 2000, when the distillery was closed and the still was moved to Diamond in Georgetown.
Distillates from Uitvlugt are not the most common to run into, when you start sniffing around for indie demeraras. Port Mourants, Diamonds and Enmores are the most commonly found distillates, but there has been a few Uitvlugts available as well. A couple from Velier of course, but also Duncan Taylor, Mezan, Silver Seal and The Rum Cask – and there might even be more out there.
But today I find my self making eyes at the 17 year old ULR which only exists in 1.404 bottles after experiencing an angels share of more than 77% during its slumber.
It has been bottled at a manly strength of 59,7% and it is with some awe and anticipation, that I prepare my little setup for the tasting. Hopefully it won’t catch fire.
The rum comes dressed in the typical Velier clothing, which I seem to have fallen hopelessly in love with.
The extreme simplicity of the two tone box in green and yellow (apart from a very small amount og white text), as well as the abundance of useful information present in the boxes on both the box and the bottle it self.
The majestic black bottle only dressed in the same two tone colour labels matching the box.
Every interesting detail about this rum can be read on either the box and/or the labels on the bottle, and that is a quality in it self.
There is no self glorification or sales speeches anywhere. The small italian note on the back has even gone on the 2014 releases, and made way for more detailed information. Velier knows they make awesome rums. They don’t seem to have a need to convince anybody about that.
The rum has a dark copper colour with a beautiful ruby hue. When given a soft twirl, it greats the tiniest thin ring, which then metamorphosed into a billion tiny droplets, which in exchange slowly joined each other in larger drops, before starting the eternal decent down the inside of the glass.
The first sniffles hints a little pungency and a young profile, but even if it is called a ”Uitvlugt Light Rum”, the nose seems to indicate that ”light” is subject to debate. In other words, it feels a lot heavier than typical light rums.
After the pungency clears off I am overwhelmed by intense marzipan and acetone – but acetone in a nice, soft way. And just as I look forward to it mellowing out a but, I get blasted with even more intense sweet fruitiness, composed of apricots, figs, pineapple and oranges.
All ripe to the point where a single bite will leave juices running down your face.
Following the fruitiness, are some slight wooden and tobacco notes, which are barely allowed to join the party.
There is a feeling of fresh cane and rain covered lawn underneath.
A very beautiful, but also quite aggressive nose.
The alcohol stand up and makes a statement. My goodness it’s hot!
And be very aware: If you don’t take caution when sipping or take a too large sip or cough or sneeze or let your thought wonder off for just a smidgen of a second, it will try to remove your tonsils, burn your respiratory system and make you cry. It doesn’t play nice unless you keep it in check.
The profile is actually a lot lighter than I expected after nosing it, but now I get why it is called a light rum. Although it doesn’t quite compare to the lightness of e.g. the Cuban rums, it is somewhat light for a full proof demerara rum.
It has a quite oily texture which covers the mouth and sustains the heat for a little while.
Then comes the fruits. Pineapple, apricots, peaches and even elderflower.
Very exotic and fresh. The grassy notes and the wet lawn is back again, and rides the waves of the light profile just perfectly.
The intense expressions from the high proof makes we wonder if this is actually a bit too much. The aggressiveness doesn’t cooperate that well with the intense fruits.
Apart from the fruits there is also some oak spices and some big and juice raisins present, but they have trouble competing with the fruits.
After you swallow it with caution, a finish primarily focused on warmth and fruits appear.
I got a lot more of intense pineapple and peaches, and a mildly drying effect.
It seems to end very quickly, and very soon you only have a slightly juicy and spicy ghost left roaming the halls of you mouth.
It could have been a lot longer without stepping on anybodies toes.
Rating and final thoughts
Another anecdote in the history of the Demerara rums.
The insane fruit salad was very refreshing and the light profile made it super drinkable at the same time.
A couple of days ago I reviewed a 23 y.o. Jamaican by Rum Nation, which I also found insanely fruity. But where the Jamaican was super concentrated to the point of being almost synthetic, the ULR1997 is just a cornucopia of organic, ripe, juicy tropical fruits.
The high proof does make it quite aggressive and I am sure that a lot of people would prefer a more smooth and easy ride. It does pack a punch and will incinerate your tonsils unless you are careful.
I did however enjoy it very much and I see a lot of similarities with one of my absolute favourite rums – the Velier UF30E. However the Uitvlugt 97 does feel younger, lighter weight and less matured.
I have reviewed a couple of these mastodont from Velier by now, and I struggle to find new ways to praise them.
There is no argument against an artisanal spirit like this one. It is incredibly good. We are not far from the top of the mountain, but there is still a little hike to summit.
And for that, it deserves a loud and clear…