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  • Writer's pictureStuart Pearce

Very rare Demerara review

Updated: Jul 27, 2021

What a perfect way to spend a couple of hours on holiday. The sound of the waves hitting the beach under our balcony. 30 degrees in the shade and my first taste of a couple of very special rums.

Silver Seal 'Special Reserve' 1986. 21year. 55%. £nuts.

An independent bottling from the highly regarded Silver Seal. A very rare treat produced on the unique Versailles wooden pot still in Guyana.

Wooden pot stills, a bizarre concept, with exceptional results and a cult following. Only a couple remain functioning, both in Guyana.

Guyana has seen a vast, and saddening loss of its distilleries over the last century. Happily though, during this consolidation, some of the historic stills have been saved, and moved to remaining distilleries.

The Versaille still this rum was produced on, was first installed at the Versaille distillery in 1890. When the distillery closed in the mid 70s the still was moved to the Enmore distillery where this rum was produced. Enmore closed in 1993 and the still was moved, via Uitvlugt, to the last remaining distillery in Guyana where it still produces great rum today (Diamond distillery)

So, an Enmore rum, produced on the legendary wooden Versailles still in 1986 - aged for an incredible 21 years. Bottled in 2007 by Silver Seal at 55%. Originally sold at around £100 now achieving £1k+ in auction.

Eyes: A beautiful dark golden bronze. Incredible thickness leaving long oily legs on the glass.

Nose: Prunes, coffee, oak. Deep & rich nose. A little banana and marzipan. And rubber. Beautifully integrated alcohol. Some raisin. A little spicy ginger. Quite dry. Really complex and interesting. Almost chocolate at the end.

Mouth: Starts very gentle. A whole heap of different spices. A little coffee. Lovely oak. Some orange zest. And milk chocolate. A nice oily mouth feel. Beautifully warm and lingering. Some brine towards the finish. Some slight bitterness. A little gap at the back of the mouth. Overall a very enjoyable rum. There are better rums for 1/10th the price this now goes for, but a very tasty drop and an incredible experience - tasting a piece of history. [89pts]

Velier Enmore & Port Mourant 'Blended In The Barrel' 1998. 62.2%. £more nuts.

So, it's Velier, arguably the top of the tree for independent bottlers. With a price to suit. I could buy a decent bottle of rum for the cost of this sample!

As with the Silver Seal, this is the product of unique wooden stills in Guyana. In this case, both the legendary Enmore AND Port Mourant stills. Produced in 1998, an experimental rum where the outturn of these two stills were blended before barrelling and tropically aged for sixteen years before bottling at a bold 62.2%.

Only 886 bottles were produced. Retailing at £120 on release. A high price at the time. But not when you compare to the thousands it changes hands for now.

The history of how, through consolidation of distilleries, these two unique and iconic wooden stills ended up together was partly covered above. The only necessary addition being the story of the Port Mourant still. Constructed in 1732 on the Port Mourant Estate, this still was later moved to the Uitvlugt Estate (where this rum was made) and then to Diamond Estate in 2000.

Eyes: Slightly brighter and more golden than the Silver Seal. Equally thick and lucious.

Nose: A heavier, fruitier, bigger, funkier nose. Some solvent or acetone, cocoa, coconut, liquorice and molasses. Lovely oak. Really impressive. A little tropical fruit. More enticing and exciting than the Silver Seal.

Mouth: Starts with tropical fruit. Then a bit of lovely dry funkiness. Then oak. Then more fruit. Chocolate. Back to fruit. And a lively fresh long chocolate caramel finish. Yum. Such a lot going on. All working in harmony together. Very impressive. Is it worth the price for a bottle? Don't ask me because I can't afford one. It's a very special, unique and absolutely delicious rum [92pts]

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