I am really only aware of the two Blairmonts bottled by Velier, but I am sure that there were more Rums of that particular style – we just weren’t told. I am not going to start a guessing game, that would be futile, but precisely because of this, these two Rums are kinda unique. At least so far DDL didn’t bottle a single marque Blairmont, which makes me wonder if that style is still produced today or not. All I have is some very dated information that Blairmont is used, or rather has been used, in the 3YO El Dorado blend but I have absolutely no idea if that is still the case. To the best of my knowledge, the other OBs do not use the style at all. So for the very unlikely occasion that someone of DDL is reading this: Check your warehouses for some aged Blairmont and bottle it, will you!?
The Blairmont distillery must have been founded by Lambert Blair between 1802 and 1838, when the estate switched to growing sugar cane. I do not know when exactly, but eventually the estate must have been acquired by S. Davson & Co. Ltd, which merged with the Booker group in 1955. Since the big consolidation of Rum distilleries owned by the Booker group took place in 1962, Rum must have been distilled at the estate until around that year. The original Blairmont still was a continuous Coffey still (a Blair still would have been fitting, no!?), which, to the best of my knowledge, has been scrapped. Perhaps it has been brought to Uitvlugt but if so, it definitely didn’t survive for very long, since the Uitvlugt Savalle still took over and imitated the profile; and perhaps still imitates it today. There was simply no use for so many, partly redundant stills. You probably know this but the Uitvlugt Savalle still is widely regarded to be one of the most versatile stills in the world. Who knows how many more stills would have been around in Guyana today if it weren’t for that French beauty. But enough of that! Time to taste some Rum.
Velier Blairmont 1991 15YO “<B>” (56%): Nose: Very light and at least initially somewhat underwhelming. We get a whiff of glue, caramal, coconut chips, oak and spices such as cloves, cinnamon or even anise. After a while also leather, coffee, ever so slightly an idea of tropical fruits and definitely sugar. It probably sounds worse than I mean it but this is everything that Rums like Zacapa are trying to be I think. Now that I think about it, that’s actually a compliment, right!? Let’s take a sip. Palate: Quite sweet at first, with sugar and caramel. Right behind that we can find the coconut chips, spices, wood and even some esters. Interestingly, we now get quite a few herbal notes and going back to the nose I must attest that they were there the whole time! If you want it is this typical Demerara column still profile that you get with these tropically aged Rums, it is just that we’ve had much, much better expressions in the past already. However, I think that I can now understand the quality of this Rum much better compared to, say, ten years ago, when I was way less impressed by it (see the upcoming anecdote). I remember someone comparing this to certain Saint Lucian Rums and I didn’t get it back then, but now I kinda do, even though I probably wouldn’t have made that connection myself. Finish: Quite short and more or less forgettable with vanilla, spices, oak and dried coconut chips. If you ask me, this is still pretty much an overrated Rum and definitely rather the product of collectors’ mania than anything else. Sure, the profile with its coconut and caramel aromas is nice but all in all it is just too light and uninspiring. As a small anecdote: Back in 2011 around Christmas, there has been a clearance sale in a German online shop where this particular Rum was selling for 40€ if I remember correctly. We didn’t buy it back then, because we thought that it wasn’t worth that much. There where just so many other, in my opinion better, Rums available back then that I would have bought with that money instead. You can interpret that story from two different angles: It is either how stupid we were, or a demonstration on how quickly times have changed. Personally, I prefer to go with the latter, but of course I leave that decision up to you! (83/100)
Velier Blairmont 1982 29YO “<B>” (60,4%): I am actually not sure if the higher age is an advantage or disadvanta here. I might expect both, that it enhanced the distillate (additive maturation) and that it destroyed the more subtle nuances as well (substractive maturation). Nose: Quite strong at first. It takes a while until the Rum settles down but these old fellas need their time and we should grant it to them. The profile starts with plenty of glue, salty/ maritime notes, iodine perhaps, a whiff of coconut, a mix of grilled fruits (think along the lines of pineapple or oranges), oak (but not as much as you might be inclined to believe), plantains and sweet potatoe as well as that characteristic Demerara spicyness. I think this is a very good nose, albeit it is a bit too light for my liking, i.e. it is not quite up their with those other legendary Rums from the Savalle still such as the glorious Velier Uitvlugts or Albions. Palate: Once again a bit sharp at first but once this initial bite is gone we get lovely aromas of tobacco, fresh rubber, coconut, esters, orange juice, leather even, definitely sugar (both fresh and burnt) and clearly also wood, but still not too much. This is very elegant and I must say that I definitely prefer the palate over the nose, which is relatively rare. With the second sip we can also find those spices again, and even a slightly humid, mossy touch. Extremely good, just maybe already a bit too tame for my liking. The Saint Lucia comparison makes even more sense here by the way. Finish: Medium long with oak, fresh herbs, those mossy impressions we’ve had, coconut, vanilla, and other spices. This is an excellent, yet somewhat unremarkable Rum. Clearly a great distillate at its best age – something you do not hear us say often about these extremely old, tropically aged Rums. I guess it is the type of marque/ profile that just benefits from these extremely long ageings, unlike some other Rums out there. Nevertheless, I am missing this certain extra push over the cliff, that would make this one go to eleven. (90/100)
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