Habitation Velier Savanna HERR (2018)


Savanna Distillery in Réunion is, in my view, one of the most versatile distilleries in rum. Whether it’s cane juice or molasses, low or high ester, rested in stainless steel or aged in a variety of casks, Savanna does it – and usually really well. 

As the result of some impossibly good luck, I ended up with today’s bottle: an unaged HERR (High Ester Rum Réunion) from 2018 bottled by Habitation Velier. It was pot distilled from molasses, it has an ester count of 499.9 gr/hlpa, and it was bottled at 62.5%. 


On the nose, I get ripe fruits like pineapple, passion fruit, guava, underripe banana, and fuji apple. The fruity notes are accompanied by sharpie, distilled white vinegar, a mix of floral essential oils, and mint (but even the mint is fruity — one of those varieties like pineapple mint or even lemon balm).

The palate brings back the bubblegum note I now expect from HERR, but it doesn’t dominate. What dominates is a huge fruit salad soaked in vinegar — it’s sour, sweet, and delicious. Beyond that, there’s some bitter orange pith which plays nicely with the sweeter fruit notes, more sharpie, more mint, and more flowers.


Exceptional! To me, the official HERR 57 bottling from 2019 is more on the confectionary-bubblegum side, and the 2018 Velier is more on the vinegary-pineapple side. I think I prefer the Velier, but both are excellent. 

All that’s left of this batch is now being sold on auction sites for silly prices, and despite how good it is, my recommendation is to get whatever HERR you can get your hands on. The differences between each release are subtle, and not one of them has been anything less than great. (8/10)