Diagram of a pot still, provided by Velier

A New Chapter in Rum

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For the past few years I've been hearing bartender friends and other industry professionals posit the theory that rum will be the next craft spirit to explode in popularity and demand. And while I am hugely enthusiastic abut the category in general, the reality didn't seem likely to match up with all of our hopes. Until this year, that is. The introduction of Velier, an Italian company specializing in craft spirits, notably rum, has brought a wave of excitement to the US market, as well as exciting products to quench our thirsty palates. To refernece the somewhat overused marketing slogan, a  "Rum Revolution" might actually be about to happen.

Habitation Velier is a project done in collaboration with various distilleries around the Caribbean to highlight the qualities of pot-distilled rums, aged entirely in the tropics, and bottled without any sugar or additives, at high or full proof. Of the 49 commercially operational distilleries in the Caribbean, only 18 employ pot stills, with the rest choosing to produce their spirits on either single column stills as is traditional in Martinique for example, or large multi-column stills that have the capability to quickly and efficiently rectify to very high alcohol levels and strip out almost all flavor from the raw material (looking at you, Bacardi!). In contrast, distillation in a pot still is longer, slower, and by doing only one pass, more of the flavors and aromatic compounds are retained from the original material. We're very happy to be able to offer these delicious and distinct rums from some of our favorite distilleries in the Caribbean. Oskar Kostecki

We're also very excited to have Kate Perry, US Market Manager for La Maison & Velier on hand next Friday, October 12th to pour these stupendous spirits. The tasting will be from 5-7pm. Stop by and expand your rum horizons!

The rums on offer will be available for pick-up, delivery in New York City, or shipping within New York State on Wednesday, October 10th. We cannot ship spirits out of state.

Habitation Velier Forsyths WP 502 57% (PRE - Arrives Fri. Oct 12

A very aromatic white molasses-based rum, distilled on the Forsyth double-retort pot still at Worthy Park distillery. By isolating particular yeast strains and implementing an incredibly long (3 weeks!) fermentation, this particular mark of Worthy Park is incredibly effusive, clocking in at very high congener (a chemical constituent which gives aromas) level. Rich and quite oily on the palate, this rum shows beautiful aromas of citrus fruit, lime zest, banana, vanilla, and a hint of the classic Jamaican petrol funk. Great on its own, I can't wait to see what it does in a daiquiri. Oh my, the very idea has chills running down my spine. Oskar Kostecki

  • rum
  • 2 in stock
  • no discount
  • $47.99

Habitation Velier Forsyths WP 2005 57.8% (PRE - Arrives Fri Oct.

After a 70-year hiatus due to a government shutdown, Worthy Park was back in business in 2005, continuing to make traditional, aromatic Jamaican rum. This 2005 batch is one of the first distillates produced at Worthy Park since re-opening, and is a great example of a medium-bodied Jamaican rum. Not as high in congeners as the white, this has also been beautifully mellowed by over 10 years of aging in the tropical climates of Jamaica. Petrol and funk are still present, but in a gentler iteration, and the combination of tropical fruit and caramel is perfectly balanced. Great texture and an oily mouthfeel. Oskar Kostecki

  • rum
  • 1 in stock
  • no discount
  • $99.99

Habitation Velier Worthy Park 2007 59% (PRE - Arrives Fri. Oct 12

The 2007 Worthy Park takes everything the 2005 has and magnifies it. Rich and full-bodied, this is a tremendous rum, almost overloading the senses. Waves of leather, vanilla, caramel, petrol, banana, overripe pineapple, and apricot wash over the nose and palate. Bottled at 59%, you might want to reach for a small ice cube, but at the same time, diluting any of the flavors of this powerhouse would be such a shame. Oskar Kostecki

  • rum
  • 3 in stock
  • no discount
  • $109.99

Habitation Velier Foursquare 2013 64% (PRE - Arrives Fri. Oct 12

Richard Seale of Foursquare Distillery on Barbados is a master of blending pot and column distillates, and indeed all rums produced under the official Foursquare label are such combinations. Finding the right balance between the two has been done with great skill and care, and in the past few years Foursquare has emerged as one of the leading rum brands in the world (we're obviously talking quality here, not quantity). But here we have a different animal: the only commercial example I have ever seen of a 100% pot-distilled Foursquare. Wow is this intense. Aged for two years in Cognac cask and bottled at a whopping 64%, this is a brawny rum, full of character and flavor. Notes of leather, baking spice, raisin, dried apricot, baked apple, and vanilla are all present, along with a meaty and rich mouthfeel. If you've enjoyed the official Foursquare offerings, this will be right up your alley; a step further down the rabbit-hole. Oskar Kostecki

  • rum
  • 9 in stock
  • no discount
  • $84.99

Habitation Velier Last Ward 2009 64% (PRE - Arrives Fri. Oct 12

Back in 2014 I went to a blending seminar for Mount Gay. We were presented with various marks of rum, both from column stills and pot stills, and asked to approximate the blend for the new Mount Gay Black Barrel, which was just released in the US market. It was my first time tasting the difference between pot and column still rum and I was astounded. The depth of flavor and exuberance extracted by the pot still was amazing, and the column still distillate was, by comparison, muted, lacking discernible flavor, and quite boring. I proceeded to construct a blend of mostly pot still Mount Gay (all I really wanted to drink), adding a tiny bit of the column still distillate, and duly failed the assignment. I was dismayed to learn that the "proper" blend should have been the other way around, mostly dull column-distilled rum, and a small proportion of pot still to give some flavor. I'm very happy I finally have the chance to drink some pure pot-distilled Mount Gay!

Mount Gay is the oldest commercial rum distillery in the world, and has been in operation since at least 1703. Since the early 1900s it has been owned by the Ward family, though the commercial rights to Mount Gay rum have been owned by Remy Cointreau since 1989. The last owner-distiller at Mount Gay, Frank Ward, passed away a few years ago, and this bottle has been named as a tribute to him. It is an incredible distillate, exploding with flavors of dried fruit, figs, apricots, baking spices, caramel and cocoa. Fruit-forward and quite lush, it drinks incredibly well at the full proof of 64% ABV. A beauty. Oskar Kostecki

  • rum
  • 9 in stock
  • no discount
  • $129.99

Habitation Velier Hampden LFCH 2011 62% (PRE - Arrives Fri. Oct 12

If you've stopped by the shop and asked me about rum, chances are you've heard about Hampden Estate. I just can't help myself, there is something about this historic Jamaican rum producer that makes me lose my mind; before I know what's happening I'm on my knees blurting out half-coherent sentences about why this might be the most important distillery in the entire world. If you're curious about the long form story, call the shop or email me, but the shorthand is this: Hampden Estate has been making uncompromising rum in exactly the same way for close to 300 years, using a blend of molasses, fresh sugarcane juice, and dunder (a combination of spent mash after distillation and the residue after fermenting molasses, that's then buried and exhumed and added to these pits and then re-distilled and it's all kind of crazy, etc) all fermented for long periods of time using only wild indigenous yeasts, creating the most wonderfully funky and compelling spirits. Finding pure, aged Hampden is always a joy, finding 100% tropical-aged Hampden is a revelation. The LFCH mark is a quite recent one for the distillery, not as high in congeners as some others produced here, but this is still a cacophony of tropical fruit, petrol, funk, and that special Hampden magic. Bottled at 62% and I wouldn't drink it any other way. Oskar Kostecki

  • rum
  • 1 in stock
  • no discount
  • $104.99