Nine Leaves 2016 Velier 4 Year Old Japoniani
Nine Leaves distillery is located in the Shiga prefecture on Honshu island in Japan. Japan does not have a long history of rum production, but founder, Yoshiharu Takeuchi, was able to draw on a wealth of whisky distilling experience to aid him with his new distillery in 2013, turning to Ichiro Akuto of Chichibu for council. On his advice, he ordered wash and spirit pot stills from Forsyth’s and stainless steel washbacks in the style of those at Glenfarclas in Speyside. The wash in question is unusual, being neither molasses nor pure cane juice, rather a solution of brown Muscovado sugar and water. The spirt is distilled twice before being aged in American and French oak casks.
This Nine Leaves rum was distilled in 2016 from cane harvest in three different islands: Iriomote, Hateruma and Takeuchi. The rum was aged in a lot of three casks for 3 years, then matured a further two years in a single "ex-acacia wood" barrel for a further 2 years, for a total of 4 years in wood. One of 350 bottles. This is part of a trio of rums released in 2020, known as the Japoniani due to featuring labels sketched by Luca Gargano on a flight from Japan back to Italy.
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.