Review: La Maison & Velier Rums, Late 2023 Releases

Review: La Maison & Velier Rums, Late 2023 Releases

We’re diving back in with three more new releases from La Maison & Velier, with three new rarities from the importer’s prized, limited edition stocks. Some single cask goodies here… along with some more readily available fare. Dig in.

Habitation Velier Long Pond STCE 2007 Single Cask #10 – 15 years old, all ex-bourbon casks; compare to Cask #5 from last year’s review. The least boozy rum in this list, at just 58% abv. Incredibly floral on the nose, its perfumed potpourri backed by elements of cherry blossoms, fresh molasses, lime leaf, and mixed tropical fruits. On the palate, more of the same, but backed by a slightly bitter, petrol-laden edge. Tarry, then nutty — then those heavy Madeira notes that cask #5 poured on so heavily. The finish is daunting with oxidized wine character, turning slightly pruny on the denouement. Ultimately quite similar to its predecessor. 116 proof. B+ / $200

Habitation Velier Hampden Estate HGML 2018 Single Cask #137 – 4 years old. A follow-up to cask #132 which we reviewed last year, HGML is Hampden’s ultra-high ester expression, which is something of a blend of overripe fruit and fresh-brewed gasoline. While cask #132 erred initially on the fruit side then moves into the refinery, #137 puts the pedal down first on the petrol, making for a sharp and industrial attack, before stepping back to let the fruitier notes come to the fore. This order of operations works a lot better, punching through the chemical madness to find a way for big banana, peach, and apricot notes — the lattermost particularly hefty on the finish. Water’s a good move here, bringing out a light honey-meets-bubblegum note that somehow doesn’t feel cloying. A much better barrel than the brash #132, despite #137 being notably higher in alcohol. 126 proof. B+ / $150

Hampden Estate HLCF Classic – This is a new, non-single cask release of Hampden’s HLCF mark — Hampden Light Continental Flavored — which is in the mid-level of ester concentration. Nonvintage, a 4 year old age statement in the fine print; not branded as a Habitation Velier release. Nicely rounded, clearly thanks to some astute blending, with a lightly charred, slightly smoky nose that quickly folds in overripe pineapple, lime leaf, and a bit of black olive. More restrained on the palate, with overtones of vanilla and creme brulee, increasingly bitter as the finish builds — orange and lime zest clinging to the back of the throat. Water tames the beast amply. Surprisingly well-rounded, it’s a punchy but great little expression. 120 proof. A- / $100

Hampden Estate HLCF Classic




Christopher Null is the founder and editor in chief of Drinkhacker. A veteran writer and journalist, he also operates Null Media, a bespoke content creation company.

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