Velier released a quite surprising trio last year. I have to confess that they marked me especially by those crazy labels. I could read that these labels were drawn by Luca in a return flight from Japan (now you know why they’re called Japoniani) but please be honest, Luca, you weren’t totally clean, right? Luckily for you we’re not artistic judge so let’s go for the tasting!
Velier Japoniani Karukera 2009-2020 (58.2%, cask #L7, 312 bottles)
Colour: Dark gold.
Nose: The alcohol integration could have been better. The nose has a pleasant freshness with some typical agricole rhum aromas. Oak wood, caramelized almonds, nuts, fresh soil, toasted bread, cocoa, bitter oranges, grapefruits, white pepper, ginger and quite present herbal notes.
Mouth: Very pleasant thick texture and it has a serious strength. It starts with fresh cane, eucalyptus, lot of wood, citruses, menthol, ginger, tannins, overcooked caramel, black grapes, plums and chilies. The mouth is powerful but it’s going off in all different directions, it lacks of structure.
Finish: Long and warm. Peppermint dominates the finish, burnt wood, coffee beans, toasted bread and some dried fruits.
A bit classic and unbalanced to be honest. Maybe a small reduction could have bring something better and more balanced,
Velier Japoniani Nine Leaves 2016-2020 (66.6%, 350 bottles)
Nose: To be honest, that’s my first Nine Leaves experience and I’m very surprised at first nose! I really have the feeling of smelling my Kellogg’s bowl back from when I was a kid. That’s not the same kind of cereals you can find in a whisky, that’s a bit more sugary. Kellogg’s, honey from wild hives, herbal notes, caramel, brown sugar, marzipan, almonds and wood.
Mouth: Very nice oily texture as well. The mouth alcohol integration is nice for that ABV and it follows the same pattern as the nose with Kellogg’s, a lot of honey, caramel, candle wax, almonds and nuts. That’s not the most complex mouth I’ve tried, it’s young and I clearly feel it, but the profile seems interesting and I’m curious to see how will be the older Nine Leaves.
Finish: Long enough and slightly drying. Bitter wood, vanilla, dark chocolate, canon powder and some dried fruits.
Okay that’s not a crush but a nice introduction to Nine Leaves. I’m looking forward to taste more (and older when it will be possible) Nine Leaves to make up my own mind.
Velier Japoniani Savana HERR 2006-2020 (63.2% , cask #515, 262 bottles)
Nose: Now we’re in a familiar territory. No doubt that’s a Savanna with a nice aromatic strength but less extreme than I expected. The typical Savanna mutant strawberry dominates that nose, then we have vinegar, glue, polish, wood, black olives, apple cider, pickles, grapefruits, camphor and quinces.
Mouth: Nice thick and oily texture for the third time today. That’s powerful but the alcohol integration is pretty good. French tagada strawberries, blackcurrant, blackberries, leather, wood, esters, polish, pickles, mangoes, passion fruits, lemons, oranges and bubblegum. We’re clearly in a high ester profile but I was expecting it more extreme than it is finally, that’s a good thing to me but I can also understand the HERR geeks to be left hungry.
Finish: Long, warm and slightly bitterish. Bubblegum, sugar, apples, mint freshness and some dried smoked beef.
A gentle HERR and that works for me. I’m not a huge fan of Savanna but I enjoyed this one, good job Luca!
Surprising trio, without knowing it I wrote the same words before and after tasting them!
I guess that’s unusual to see these bottles open nowaday so thanks Alain for the samples and the picture. Cheers!