Ah, we’re at Skeldon again. Of course not at Skeldon distillery, which shut down for good in or around 1960, but with a pair triplet of Rums that wear the “SWR” marque – i.e. Rums that attempt to mimique those original Skeldon Rums that we more than likely never had and never will have (at least not knowingly and/ or outside of blends). Somewhat naturally, we have a certain bias to believe that the two old Velier expressions are what Skeldon is all about, but then again, there’s no way for us to know how big the overlap with the originals really is. And while I don’t think it is very likely, these 2001 might potentially get even closer to them, who knows. We shall never know…

S.B.S Diamond Distillery “SWR” 2001 19YO (52,2%): We really did like these 2001 quite a bit and don’t expect anything less from this one. Nose: Nice and heavy Demerara Rum with notes of molasses, muscovado sugar, burnt caramel, already quite a lot of wood, hints of toffee, an ever so slightly sharp note (not a big deal at all) and a few spices from the cask. We gotta admit that we often times aren’t the biggest fans of much of what DDL has been producing in the 2000s but this one smells darn good. Later also cocoa/ chocolate and a hint of coffee. I love it! Palate: A very thick and creamy texture with notes of leather, molasses, burnt muscovado sugar, wood, bamboo perhaps, licorice, sweet potatoes and more notes along these lines. The abv is perfect here as we have an ideal balance between sippability, itensity and texture. Finish: Long with wood, sugar, almost syrupy notes (molasses, caramel) and dry cocoa. An absolutely beautiful new school Demerara in the old school tradition if you ask me. The best of the 2001 for me so far. (90/100)

Velier Skeldon “SWR” 1978 27YO (60,4%): Words shouldn’t be necessary here. It might be one of the most sought after Rums on earth. Who really cares for Wray & Nephew 17YO anyway!? I know which of the two bottles I’d choose as the W&N, expectedly, just doesn’t life up to the hype. Now we didn’t enjoy the 1973 32YO as much as some others did but this one should be a different animal. However, there’s actually some much older juice in this one as well by the way, from 1973 even, if I am not mistaken. Nose: My first impression is: Quite different from the 1973, as my first notes are glue, glue and more glue. It takes a while until I get further notes of molasses and Demerara sugar (syrup), espresso, dark chocolate, oranges and spices such as cloves or cumin as well as tobacco. Absolutely stunning. Later other notes such as iodine, leather, a touch of dry mint, a salty seabreeze and crummock. We gotta taste this now! Palate: Quite bitter and woody and like the 1973, a major disappointment at the palate. It should have been bottled way earlier if you ask me. The creamy texture is amazing, sure, but the bitterness is something that you have to like. It is not ultra adstringent, just bitter. My main associations are wood, cold coffee, walnuts and walnut oil, non-sweet Demerara sugar (if such a thing would exist) and orange bitters. Finish: Long, dry and (too) bitter. There is a lot of wood, espresso, spices from the cask and those old walnuts from the palate. Legendary Rum give or take, personally I have not much use for this bitterness. Yes, the profile is special, even great, but I am sure that it would have been a lot better at “only” +/- 20 years in the tropics. If only the palate had been a bit more like the nose… (88/100)

Skeldon Unaged Straight from the Still (94,7%): Yes, you did read correctly. This has been distilled up to 94,7% – that’s essentially neutral alcohol territory and I wonder if there’s anything to be found here at all. Nose: Not really. The alcohol burns very sharply in my nose and at best, i.e. with plenty of imagination, I can find notes of chocolate here but please take that with a grain of salt. Diluting this down to about 50% abv indeed reveals these notes, as well as coffee and some related aromas but those are very faint and may actually only be present in my mind. Palate: Do we try this neat? I think we will have to, even though I am not sure if it is healthy (of course it is not – SCR). A very tiny sip is actually managable and there are quite a few flavours to the Rum, even though it is tough to decode that at this abv. A few splashes of water help again and set free notes of cocoa, chocolate, coffee, molasses and sugar. Yes, that is the Skeldon profile after all, even though I am not sure if we would have been able to say the same if this had been given to us blindly. Finish: Nope, impossible. It’s always interesting to try these raw distillates, eve though in this case it is somewhat in vain, given the high abv. (no score)