Diamond SSN 1996 Velier 16 Year Old
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.
Velier's earliest Demerara releases were bottled in 1996, laying the groundwork for what would later become affectionately known as the "Age of Velier's Demerara." This began in earnest in 2004, after Gargano was invited to the Demerara Distillers Ltd warehouses in Guyana to select tropically aged barrels to be bottled by Velier for the first time. The "age" only lasted until 2015, but has an enduring legacy of having indelibly raised the profile of the historic rum stills and marque's of Guyana, which have become some of the most sought after in the world, these Velier releases in particular.
This was distilled in the Diamond metal coffey still in 1996 and bottled 2012. The three SSN barrels - 8404, 8405 & 8407 - and were hand selected by Luca Gargano of Velier, and produced 828 bottles after 16 years of tropical ageing and a whopping angels' share of 75%.
Established around 1670, the Diamond Estate is the only remaining rum distiller in Guyana. Located on the east bank of the Demerara river, the distillery is operated by Demerara Distillers Ltd (DDL), the company created by the government in Guyana as it attempted to consolidate the nation’s rum production. This began in 1974 and culminated with the closure of Uitvlugt in 1999. Diamond blends its El Dorado brand using distillate from various combinations of its rum-producing stills, which include the pair of two-column English coffey stills, installed there in the 1950s and a rarely used high-ester John Dore pot still. These operate alongside the “Heritage Stills” acquired from Uitvlugt, which are Uitvlugt’s own historic four-column French Savalle stills, the Versailles and Port Mourant wooden pot stills, and the Enmore wooden coffey still, the oldest and last of its kind in the world. El Dorado was launched in 1992, but the distillery has continued its historic practice of providing barrels to independent bottlers, resulting is a wealth of impressive releases like this.