MG 2003 Velier 7 Year Old
Bielle is one of three distilleries on the island of Marie Galante in the Guadeloupe archipelago. It was founded at the end of the 19th century as rum production began to take over following the decline in profitability of sugar. The distillery was acquired by Paul Rameaux in 1955, and today is still run by his nephew, Dominique Thiery. Bielle produces around 320,000 litres of agricole rum on its column still every year. It also houses a bespoke Muller pot still, designed by Italian grappa maker Vittorio Capovilla for his Rhum Rhum collaboration with Luca Gargano of Velier.
These casks were discovered by Luca and Paolo Gargano in 2006, while working in Marie Galante for the Rhum Rhum brand. Velier decided to acquire 6000 litres of this 2003 vintage agricole rum from Bielle distillery, all in ex-bourbon barrels. Their intent was to gain a deeper understanding of the tropical ageing of Marie-Galante agricole, the esterification over time, and the share given out to the angels.
This was the third and final bottling from the casks, released in 2012 and aged 9 years. It was drawn from the last remaining 20 barrels.
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.