Friday, 2 December 2016

Review 100 - Velier UF30E 1985 27 year old

Photo copyright © H.Kristoffersen
A singularity in the universe of rum.
Information
Welcome to the longest single review I have written so far. This being my review number #100 I thought I should do something special.

And fret not, it's another Velier! Ta-daa. Surprised? No? Well, anyway...

I have been looking forward to doing this review since April 2014. That was the time when my rum journey took a huge turn for the better and more exciting (and economically dismal).

At that time I decided to go way outside my usual rum comfort zone – both in style, strength and cost.

After reading through a couple of writings (countless times) of these majestic Velier rums over on my buddy Lance’s Lone Caner site, I decided to jump right in and get one of these pieces of art myself.

Having absolutely no idea of what I was getting into, except for what I could read on Lance’s site, I also had no idea which one to choose as my first.

They all just looked so awesome, so I started roaming international web shops to find the rums, I had been reading about and to see what was actually available.

After finding several shops with Velier rums on their shelves, for some reason this particular rum just spoke to me in a special way.

After a long, hard weighing of pros and cons, I finally gathered my personal and economical courage, punched in my credit card details, decided not to look back and instantly turned into a kid waiting for Christmas.

When it showed up, it was placed on a shelf next to the rest of my (at that time) very small rum collection, but after flirting with it for a couple of days, I decided to open it.

I had to find out what was so special about these Velier products and see if I was 40% boy or a cask strength man (No disrespect to all you 40% boys out there, but cask strength is just more badass).

Could it really be that much better than all the other great rums I had tried so far - stuff like the Diplomatico ResEx, the El Dorado 15, the Quorhum 30 and several others from more or less the same league.

After trying it, I was hooked. Velier was now forever burned into my frontal lobe, and it would push my rum journey into new waters. Waters which I am very thankful to still be sailing in today.

When I finally started writing about rum, I was a little reluctant to write about the UF30E, because as much as it meant to my rum journey, I was also a little awe-struck with it. And that made me procrastinate this review for quite a while. Much like the Skeldon 73, which I had standing around (the sample anyway) for a very long time before even considering opening it.

I somehow felt that I had to gather a little more experience before I was ready.
But now the time has finally come. Oh yes, time has come.

With that trip down memory lane, we are now back in the present looking at another handsome piece of Gargano magic.

The Velier UF30E 1985.

Bottled in 2012, we are dealing with a 27 year old Uitvlugt rum. The name refers to the exact field the sugarcane behind this rum was harvested from. The Uitvlugt Field #30 East. Or so the scholars of Velier rums proclaim. And that is fine by me. Sounds plausible enough anyway.

814 bottles very made, next to none are left and I'm sad to say that I managed to buy way to few of them before they disappeared.

No more introduction. On to more interesting things. But first, a slightly boring intermezzo.

Presentation
Once again the usual stoic Velier Demerara expression.

A sturdy card board box in green and yellow colours.

All the information you need is right there on the box.

The bottle is also familiar. The opaque, black mastodon we have gotten so used to, when dealing with Velier.

Front label is an exact replica of the information on the box, and on the back, the usually little Italian sweet talk. Along with the ”>90% angels share”. This is serious rum.

Inside we find a beautiful dark brown coloured liquid, which leaves a thin, thin coating of the inside of the glass. Twirling only creates a barely visible ring at the top, which transforms into many, many small dots, which crawl slowly down.

Nose
Pulling the cork, you have to brace yourself, as the fumes start to assault your sense immediately. Something huge is coming. You can tell already when pouring this thing.

Far from the glass, a delicious smell is noticeable, and when moving closer, it just gets more and more powerful.

Huge, rich, voluptuous molasses. Like a burlesque dancer entering the stage

Draped in fat honey and liquid liquorice, which flows around the molasses core, like a fog of deliciousness.

A cornucopia of dried dates and figs, as well as prunes and huge, juicy raisins.

Underneath it all a floor of soft oaks with a little tannic sting and a carpet of sweet cinnamon rolls.

Absolutely stunning and it makes an effort not to make it difficult for you to easily pick it apart.

Taste
Entering the mouth it presents itself in a way, which isn’t seen very often.

First it introduces itself with huge molasses, liquorice and juice raisins.
Then without warning it sets of a thermonuclear bomb of heat and flavours.

At first, the initial trinity of flavours expands violently.

Then massive, intense warmth, which help the entire expression to grow to a size, where you think it’ll be too much, and your mouth (and possibly your face) might explode.

The first 4-5 times I tried this rum, I gave in, had to cough and let in a little air. I simply couldn’t contain it. It is that huge a flavour bomb.

But when I finally learned how to control it, it just got mindblowingly beautiful.

The trinity was still there, but then came an added layer of sweet marmalades made from cherries, apricots, blackberries and raspberries.

Then spice. Cinnamon, vanilla, cloves and white pepper.

Thinking that it couldn’t get any deeper, I was surprised by a layer of leather and smoke, before realising there was also some really juice green apples and even a little orange in there.

Getting closer to the end, some honey and roasted oak to add another dimension, with just enough tannic bite to make it a little dry.

And then, at the very bottom of this insane dive, the dried fruits extravaganza from the nose.

Mind blowing. This has to be among the top 5 things I ever tasted. Not just rums, but everyting edible or drinkable by humans.

Finish
When I first tried this rum, I had a hard time believing how long the finish was. It just goes on forever.

The huge explosion slowly dies out, but it takes its time as it has to go through all the flavour layers of the palate once more.

I’m not going to repeat them all. But let me just say, that you are treated with a fading reprise of every single scent and flavour presented to you so far.

When the fade stops just short of a complete disappearance, you are left with such a pleasant aftertaste of sweet liquorice, soft oak and blackberry jam, that you really don’t want to eat or drink anything else as long as it’s there.

And it will stay there for long. 15-20 minutes go by in a hurry when you sit back and savour the moment after downing your first sip. Exhaling through the nose you'll be able to reintroduce a little heat, which makes the experience seem longer lasting.

It is just so tasty, so beautiful, that you can’t really be disturbed. And you mustn’t.

A rum of this magnitude deserves a lot of attention, presence and respect. Especially when taking into account that this might be an era long gone.

Oh yeah, and by the way, this is a 60,7% rum. I totally forgot to mention that, as the strength is so incredibly well integrated, that you'll never really notice it. Apart from the nuclear explosion of flavours that is.

Rating and final thoughts
Considering that this was my first cask strength rum and my first Velier, I could have done worse. Coming to think of it, I’m not sure I could have done much better at that time.

It has perhaps evolved into the pinnacle of rum for me. One of the absolute best things I ever tasted. And in the rum world, perhaps rivalled only by the Skeldon 73 so far.

For me, the UF30E is very much on par with the Skeldon 73, and perhaps even a tiny smidgen better. It is a damn close call, that’s for sure.

Value for money is not really relevant here. First, you have to find a bottle. Then, you have to pony up more than a thousand euros for one (the last one I saw went for €1500). There is a threshold for sure, but no matter how much you pay for this baby, you are probably going to feel that is was a bargain, once you get to taste it.

It absolutely blew my mind when I first tried it. It has blown my mind countless times since then. It has blown the minds of everybody I shared it with. And it still blows my mind today, more than 2 years since I first bought it (thank you, who ever told me to split my bottle into smaller bottles once I opened it!).

This is a truly extraordinary rum.

I hope that this meagre piece of writing will end up at the desk of the DDL CEO, and that he actually takes notice, and stops destroying his ancient rums by blending them into the sugarbombs of ED21 and ED25. Please stop doing that, DDL! Every time you do that, Baby Rum-Jesus cries!

Instead, you should create rums like this.

Real rums. Pure rums. Amazing rums. Rums that will live on in the memories of the many rum lovers out there. Rums which will be spoken of with awe and respect long after they have vanished from stores and collections and become mere ghosts of a time long gone. Rums which will enter the legacy of rum, and ultimately help make the spirit just as huge and prestigious as whisky and cognac.

I know that DDL put out the Rare Collection line of rums recently, but they are still not on par with bottles like this one. Not even close.

This is an amazing rum beyond all reason, and I don’t possess an adequate vocabulary to do it enough justice. It is stellar. It has no mentionable flaws. It is in no way casual. It chuckles at your expectations before easily exceeding them by light years.

So how to rate this?

It really is a singularity in the spirits universe. It is way off the charts.
Perhaps that is what the result should be. Or at least somewhere in the vicinity of absolute perfection. That calls for a…

Rating: 96/100

Links

Notes
Consider this: When I first got a bottle of this, it had been on the market for nearly two years along with a lot of other Velier rums in a price range of the Diplomatico Ambassador, Havana Club 15, Abuelo Centuria or two bottles of (pardon my french) fucking Zacapa Black Label!

Please explain to me how rums like these survived more than two years in the shops?!

Today they would sell out in mere hours or even minutes after being released and at a price two or even three times as high. Rum certainly has evolved in the last few years!

Word count
"Are you sure this is your longest single review to date? I'm pretty sure that the Skeldon 73-review is also quite long." - you may think.

And you would be right. The Skeldon 73 review was also quite long.
It contained 8.682 characters excluding spaces and line breaks, making up 1.946 words.

But this review contains 8.765 excluding spaces and line breaks, which makes up 1.983 words, making this the longest single Rum Corner review to date.

I say "single review" because the two Demerara Trilogies of the initial Rum Nation Small Batch Rare Rums and the El Dorado Rare Collection, are both quite a bit longer.

The El Dorado Rare Collection being vastly the longest with its 16.975 characters and 3.793 words.

(In all fairness the "word counting-paragraph" has not been included in the character and word count).

4 comments:

  1. Now that's some serious rum porn ! G

    ReplyDelete
  2. Great review! Great Rum! Great entertainment.

    ReplyDelete
  3. "...baby rum-Jesus cries..." may be the single funniest quote I've read all year. Great review, of an amazing rum.

    ReplyDelete