Brand: Habitation Velier, Pure Single Rum series
Origin: Privateer Distilling, Ipswich, MA, USA
Still: Pot, Column
Age: 3 years
Finish: New American Oak
By all measures, Privateer is the American rum distillery to watch in 2022 and beyond. From their Letter of Marque program to their much sought-after Distiller's Drawer releases, Privateer is leading the way in both historical American rum production as well as innovative and community-driven projects.
Habitation Velier (HV) is a collaboration between La Maison du Whisky in France and Velier in Italy. The project's stated goal is "to educate consumers and to promote artisanal distillation and the distiller’s art and techniques". The rums they release are bottled in a unique "flask" style bottle, typically with depictions of the still(s) used to produce the rum on the label.
Together, Habitation Velier releases a variety of rum, often un-aged, to showcase the materials and methods used in producing the distillate. In this case, an aged expression is on display, providing a high-profile debut of an American rum on the international, heavily European market.
Having tasted over a dozen aged Privateer expressions, I am interested in seeing how much I like this HV bottling.
High clarity, brown; light viscosity
Ethanol, caramel apples, almonds, pastry dough, honey
Rich vanilla, caramel, oak, dark chocolate, browned butter, light molasses
Intense; long, moist, oaky, with lingering heat
This bottling is exciting, since it is the first American rum independently-bottled for Habitation Velier, but it is not the strongest example of Privateer's offerings. I have tried about a dozen different expressions of aged Privateer rum, and while I have never been disappointed by any of them, there are some that shine and some that twinkle; this would be in the latter group.
If you were to nose this right after pouring it into your glass, you'd likely get a tidal wave of ethanol, which is not exactly pleasant. Once you get passed that, though, you'll find a pleasant bouquet of caramel apples, almonds, and pastry dough. Over time, the astringent ethanol tapers off.
Once you sip the 3 years-aged rum, you will get a rich, oaky, vanilla, and slightly caramelized palate, leading to some bitter dark chocolate notes. Despite the light viscosity, the palate coats the tongue in a slightly waxy, browned butter flavor.
This palate gives way to an intense, long, and moist finish, with plenty of tannins that play with the residual moisture before fading into lingering heat.
I do like this rum for what it is, but it is a little untamed and shows its proof a little too freely. Unlike other Distiller's Drawers or Letters of Marque I've tried, this bottling of Privateer is relatively simplistic as far as flavors go. However, I will grant that this is a solid example of the distillery's signature style, which I feel is a big part of the Habitation Velier project.