Sunday, 9 August 2015

Review 52 - Velier Diamond 1999 SVW 15 year old

Photo copyright © H.Kristoffersen
Halleluja, the newest classic Diamond bottling from Velier.
So, after a long and hard summer holiday it is back to work. And I can't find of a better place to start, than with the Velier Diamond 1999 15 year old.
”Enough with all these Velier bottlings! And haven’t you already reviewed this?”, you might think. The answer would be ”No”.

Then your reply would possibly be: ”But isn’t it a 15 year old Velier Diamond from 1999?”. My answer would then be ”Yes”.

Your final effort would sound something like: ”Well, what the hell is the difference between this and that?!”

Well, the most obvious difference is the strength. Where the first on was bottled at 53,4%, this one is a staggering 64,7%. The second difference is the barrel mark. The first one was marked <S>, and this one is marked with a SVW.
Diamond SVW 64,7%
Diamond <S> 53,1%
So what does this mean?

The barrel marks of the DDL rums usually tells us something about which still was used to create the distillate inside and how it was configured.

In this case we know that they are both from the Diamond distillery – a copper coffey still able to create many possible outputs.

I can’t tell you exactly how the two 15 year old 99s differ from each other in terms of still setup, but I can tell you that we are talking about to two very, very different rums. In fact the 99 <S> isn't even the closest sibling to the 99 SVW.

A couple of years ago Velier made another 15 year old rum with the SVW mark – one of the Diamond 1996s. That one had a lot in common with the 16 year old Diamond 1996 with the SSN mark. So I am actually expecting this new 15 year old SVW to be more like my previously reviewed 16 year old SSN, than the 15 year old <S>. Enough barrel marking geekery for now.

Apart from being a 64,7% monster, only 1.411 bottles has been made. So once again it is a race to get your hands on it before they are all gone.

I am not going to make a huge fuzz about explaining who and what Velier is. Go to Lance’s site and find an essay under ”The Makers”. It is a great read and tells you everything you need to know.

I will however tell you a bit of horrifying news that came to my attention lately: There are practically no more cask available for Velier to bottle. This will be one of the very last products from the Velier Demerara range of rums! I thought I woke up from a bad dream when first hearing this, but it seems to be the reality.

Thankfully there is word on the street, that Velier will start looking towards Barbados and Jamaica instead, and I imagine that will be something to look forward to. A lot.

Usual Velier impression with the understated, minimalistic box.

Two colours, black and yellow, tells you all you need to know.  A little red and white is there as well, but it easily gets overlooked on the larger wasp like frame.
I haven’t really thought about it before, but suddenly I find it quite weird that Velier didn’t put their name anywhere on the box. When looking at it, you will think that it is a Demerara Distillers Ltd. product. Which it isn’t since it’s not an El Dorado… And thank your favourite deity for that.

The bottle is also the typical black Velier thing. A monolith to celebrate legendary rums.
Inside we find a dark copper coloured liquid, which forms a very thin ring on the inside of my glass. 
Many, many small droplets appear, but it takes forever before legs start to form.

Hea-vy and huge nose. It comes thundering at you like boulders going down a hill.
If you dare to resist running for your life, you are treated with brutal brown sugar and maple syrup.

Very clear oak notes also play a dominant role with vanilla on the side.
If also contains as many roasted almonds and dried apricots you could possibly want.

A pleasant nose tickling from the massive strength. Don’t inhale too fast or your eyes will water!

To quote my fellow rummie Andy of Rumbustious Times, the nose is absolutely gorgeous on this rum. I does indeed remind me a lot of the Diamond 1996 16 year old, which had a little more oak and a little less almonds. But otherwise they are almost identical.

Covers the entire inside of your mouth with an impressive coating of sweet oaks and maple syrup, with an intense tannic dryness

Earthy undertones starts to seep through along with roasted almonds, dried fruits and vanilla.
At the back end there is also a little pineapple and cinnamon.

It is not as complex as I would have thought, but it does deliver a perfect balance of the elements mentioned above. And the eye watering ABV concentrates that mix, and lets it go off a little to the brutal side. 

Like most other Velier bottlings, the ABV is under constant supervision and at no point does it go off on a tangent and set fire to anything. Everything is intense and violent, but kept under strict control.

Impressive piece of tasty treat…

Very long finish. The heavy strength make the exit last forever.

As more oak tree and syrup slowly rolls in and gets replaced by more of the same thing, the drying tannins constantly makes sure that everything is nice and clean.

Nothing new is introduced, which is quite fine. By now I am eagerly awaiting a chance to let my taste buds cool off a bit.

Great way to end this magical encounter.

Rating and final thoughts
Well, I don’t really know how to put it, without just repeating my self.

Another prodigy… A great piece of work… True craftsmanship… blahblahblah…

There is no need to discribe it or drown it with superlatives. It is a Velier. And that should be enough to let you know, that this is no ordinary rum. It is not just great, it is superb.

I couldn’t point out a winner between the Diamond 1996 SSN 16 y.o. and this one, but this one is a little bit better than the Diamond 1999 S 15 y.o.

Value for money can be discussed a lot. The €130 mark is home to a lot of great rums. But I feel that it will be much easier to do worse, than it is to do better than this one.

No mass produced big brand product can compete with these rums. Period.  So before you shell out €200 for that Diplomatico Ambassador. Think again. You want to buy this one instead.

There is not much more to talk about.
An awesome drink. Velier has done it again.

Rating: 88/100


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