My Desert Island Rum

Diamond 1996, Velier bottling- Full Proof Demerara Rum truly is my desert island Rum. I’ve struggled to write about this Rum objectively.

This is a marriage of 5 barrels from the Diamond Coffey still in Guyana. It has been matured for 15 years “in the Tropics” where the Angels are particularly greedy. The end result is intense with concentrated flavours that leave a lasting impression.

Demerara Distillers Ltd, or DDL for short, are famous for producing some of the tastiest Rum the world has ever seen- Take El Dorado as a perfect example. They have the famous Demerara Sugar Cane to play with, named after the Demerara river on whose banks it grows. DDL also houses a whole plethora of famous stills. Take their 3 wooden stills, “Enmore,” “Port Mourant” and “Versailles” as an example. Sitting firmly in the shadow of these stills sits some seriously overlooked Rum making giants. The Coffey Still from the former Diamond Distillery takes centre stage this time and I am yet to taste a Rum that rivals it.

This Rum from Luca Gargano’s infamous Velier Bottling Company is outstanding liquid. Bottled at a casual 64.6% but I would not recommend watering it down. Part of the enjoyment is the intensity. The complex aromas of wet tobacco, blackcurrant, leather and more leather are incredible. Try not to burn your nose. On the palate, the entire range of my vocabulary of dried fruit assault the mouth with an unexpected dryness that strips all the saliva away and leaves you shocked, like a rabbit staring into headlights. You finally come round about a week later and are ready for more.

This Rum is like Fernet Branca, or more accurately as Fernet Branca was once described to me, like a ‘thick Russian Novel.’ This is no easy page-turner, but if you like it, there’s nothing else in the world that comes close. You can read it and keep re-reading it, going deeper each time, discovering subplots and nuances that perhaps you missed the first few times.

I recently bought my second bottle of Diamond 1996, Velier Rum and vowed not to open it until the end of the world, or at least a few hours prior to the end of the world?! I recently gave in however and opened it. It’s behind the bar at Black Parrot for all to try. Perhaps if I can find a third bottle, which will already be in the £1,000’s. Perhaps then I might save it for a rainy day. Unlikely though, Rum this good needs to be drunk and by as many people that read Russian as possible.