Long Pond 1985 Velier
Velier was founded by Casimir Chaix in Genoa in 1947 as a wine and spirits importer and distributor. By the 1980s they were still a small family-company with less than ten staff. This all changed in 1986 when it was purchased by Luca Gargano, a former brand ambassador for Saint James who was at the time still in his twenties. Under his direction, they selected their first single cask whiskies in 1992, and their first rum in 1996. In the decades that followed, Velier have gone on to become one of the most collectible brands in the industry, and Gargano has positioned them as the one of the foremost authorities and bottlers of rum anywhere in the world.
Although Velier nowadays have positioned themselves as one of the foremost champions of tropically aged rum (meaning rum from warmer climates being matured in the same environment it was distilled), their earlier releases were bottled from casks sourced in Europe. This one was bottled from cask #423 in 1997 by Thomson & Company in Liverpool. Velier had bottled its first Demerara rums the year prior, which were the catalyst for an eventual working relationship with Demerara Distillers Ltd; the fruits of which became their first bottlings of tropically aged casks in 2004 (alongside the first of the legendary Caroni releases). These 1990s bottlings are true collectors items and each represent an important step in the journey Velier took to becoming the sensation in the rum world that it is today.
This is a 1985 vintage from the pot still of Long Pond distillery in Jamaica.
Founded in 1753, Long Pond distillery is located in the Trelawny parish of Jamaica, which is also home to the Hampden Estate. Its modern history begins in the 1940s, when Seagram chief, Samuel Bronfman, bought the distillery from the Jamaican government and began to produce the Captain Morgan brand there. When Seagram was dissolved in the early 2000s, Diageo bought Captain Morgan and moved production to Clarendon. Long Pond became part of National Rum of Jamaica, a firm established in 1985 and currently part-owned by the Jamaican government, Demerara Distillers in Guyana, and Maison Ferrand in France. Long Pond produces rum using both John Dore pot stills and a Blair column still. Its output is highly regarded, and stock shortages caused by its closure between 2012-2017, and a fire in 2018 mean it is becoming increasingly sought after.