The history of Velier

Velier is an Italian company, more precisely Genoa, It is the city from which it inherited its talent as a great merchant... Read more

The history of Velier

Velier is an Italian company, more precisely Genoa, It is the city from which it inherited its talent as a great merchant... Read more

The history of Velier

Velier is an Italian company, more precisely Genoa, It inherited its talent as a great merchant from the city. It was a certain Casimir Chaix who created it in 1947, then developed it until 1953, the year in which it began to assert itself as an importer of wines, spirits and delicatessen products.

It continued to flourish until 1983, when the young Luca Gargano (27 years old) made his debut.

This businessman, photographer, traveller and rum lover began his career as a brand ambassador for Saint-James rums in the 1970s. It was at this time that he made his first trip to the West Indies and fell in love with rum and, more broadly, with Caribbean culture. It was also during his first trips that he discovered a reserve of Saint James 1885 rum, bottled in 1952. He then decided to put some of what would become one of the jewels of the rum world in a safe place.

In 1983, while he was marketing director of Spirit Spa, the largest Italian importer of spirits, he became a majority shareholder in Velier. In 1985, he decided to focus on quality products first and foremost, and began to target high-end restaurants and wine bars. Velier then began to distribute Billecart-Salmon champagne, which was still little known at the time.

Velier was the first Italian company to import "new world wines" (Chile, California, New Zealand, etc.) in 1988. This search for quality throughout the world continued with the introduction of cachaças, mezcals and piscos on the Italian market in 1991.

Passing on the passion for rum

When the brand was created El Dorado brand in 1992, it became the first distributor in Europe. It was also at this time that Luca Gargano bought his first barrels of rums from the Caribbeanas well as single maltsto offer its first independent bottlings in 1995.

Velier maintains a taste for fine and exclusive products, and in 1999 becomes the only importer of Cuban cigars in Italy.

Lhe passion that Luca Gargano for authenticity was expressed in 2001, when he wrote the manifesto Triple A (Farmer, Craftsman, Artist) manifesto in favour of natural wines. Then, in 2002, came the first bottling of brut de fût rum, a Damoiseau 1980which was the first step towards a radical change in the world of rum.

Another milestone for rum lovers was 2003 when Mr Gargano met Yesu Persaud, director of DDL in Guyana. From their friendship a series of bottlings of Demerara raw from casks that remainhave in the annals. It was also during these selections that Luca discovered the difference between tropical and continental ageing, which he would later emphasise.

Velier has definitely marked its time at the beginning of the 21st century, since it marketed the first Caroni "original" brut de fût in 2005. This was the beginning of a long series of highly coveted bottlings, destined to come to an inevitable end, as the Trinidad distillery closed its doors in 2002.

A first dream comes true for Luca Gargano

In 2008, Luca Gargano and Vittorio Capovilla, in collaboration with Bielle, set up their stills on the island of Marie-Galante to create the Rhum Rhum brand. These agricultural rums would later give rise to the Libération series. In the same purist approach to rums made from pure cane juice, Velier bottled the Clairins d'Haïti in 2012. These traditional cane spirits, then totally unknown, are endowed with a unique character and offer enthusiasts a new vision of the category.

2015 sees the end of the partnership between Velier and DDLfollowing the retirement of Yesu Persaud. But it was also at this time that the Habitation Velier range was born, highlighting traditional distillation techniques. This project, which is partly educational, also includes the idea of classification of rumThis project, which is partly educational, also includes the idea of classifying rum, with a desire to raise this spirit to the rank of the greatest, in the image of Scotch Whisky.

One of Luca Gargano 's partners in this rum enhancement project is Mr Richard Seale, boss of the Foursquare distillery in Barbados, with whom he starts a series of bottlings in 2016. Velier then celebrates its 70th anniversary in 2017, and offers a series of landmark whisky rums.

The new era of La Maison & Velier

In 2017, Velier joined forces with La Maison du Whisky in a joint venture called La Maison & Velier. One of the ambitions of this project is to market Velier's imported products in the United States. This was achieved in 2018, when the first clairins arrived on American shelves.

2018 will be a rich year for the Italian house, with the release of its first Cape Verde grogue, the creation of the "Palenqueros" mezcal series and the purchase of the Hampden distillery's stock, which will present its first official bottlings at the "Tasting of the century" in London.

In the same year, Luca Gargano and Velier continue our exploration of rum, offering old styles from the Long Pond and Clarendon distilleries in Jamaica.

In 2019, the Caroni Ceremony"where Caroni enthusiasts gathered in Cognac to taste the last of the Caroni casks freshly repatriated to Europe. Indeed, if Luca Gargano is a fervent advocate of ageing in a tropical climate, he had to face the fact that maturing for more than 20 years was complicatede. He therefore decided to stop ageing the rums in dame-jeanne and in stainless steel tanks, for the future and final bottlings of Caroni.

2020 will also bring its share of firsts, as Velier will be bottlingNeisson, Appleton and River Antoine rums under its banner for the first time. It is also in this complicated year that the first drops of Providence rum will come out of the still of the brand new Gargano and Capovilla distillery in Haiti. Read less

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