Habitation Velier Last Ward 2009


The Last Ward series from Habitation Velier gets its name from the Ward family, whose involvement with Mount Gay Distillery in Barbados extends back to 1908. More specifically, it refers to Dr. Frank Ward, managing director at Mount Gay Distillery from 2005 to 2014 and the “last Ward” to manage the distillery. During his time there, he created the Mount Gilboa brand of triple-distilled rums made exclusively with Mount Gay’s double retort pot stills. This particular bottling was aged tropically aged for nine years in ex-bourbon barrels and bottled at 59%


The nose is full of antique shop aromas, wet leaves, dark chocolate, cherry pits, light wood smoke, and mulch. It’s is a little closed off without water, but a few drops opens it up nicely.

The palate confirms what the color and nose were hinting at: this is very oaky. Nonetheless, it’s immediately more expressive on the palate than the nose. This has big Black Forest Cake vibes, with notes of dark, sour cherry and bittersweet chocolate. Someone added a little cinnamon and some raisins on the top of the cake, too. Despite the confectionary notes, it’s quite dry. There’s also a little bit of motor oil reminding me this is from a pot still.


Within the category of heavily oaked rums, this does very well. The distillate has tons of character, but I feel as though the intensity of the oak smothers it a little. I really enjoy this for what it is, and it certainly stands out as one of the most unique things I’ve tasted from Barbados (no, I haven’t had any of Foursquare’s experimental releases). Still, I can’t help but think that this could have been more enjoyable around the four or five year mark. (7/10)