Caroni 20 Years Old Trinidad The Duchess Cask 19 64,6% 1998
Laventile, Port of Spain
Gal Granov (91)
I know this is mostly a Whisky Blog (and i know i’ve been blogging Rum for the last couple of posts..), but quite a few very interesting Rums made their to WI towers lately, and this one’s really worth your while. The Duchess is the label under which Best of Wines bottle their whiskies / Rums, as they also operate as Independent bottlers. We all know Whisky casks are quite hard to come by, especially ones that are very good, and not very expensive, Rum on the other hand, is easier to bottle, although it’s not cheap anymore as many whisky aficionados have discovered. At any rate, this one was picked by a good friend, Nils, who’s in charge of Whisky / Rum operations at BOW .
Caroni Rums are the Port Ellen / Brora of Rum, as this (Iconic, now) distillery closed its gates way back in 2002. Caroni is known for its smoky edge, and heavy style , and is very popular these days with the Rum Geeks.
This single cask bottling is released at Cask Strength of 64,6%
Nose: This is deep stuff, lots of wood, some tobacco leaf notes, earth, dark licorice, and burnt sugar to the point it’s quite bitter, with a certain ripe plum note, pepper and more wood,some wax as well, this is one complex monster, and this IS a monster i promise you, it’s BIG, and BOLD, but not over the top, and you can nose it for quite some time without getting bored.
Palate: So, what have we here? more wood, and black tea leaf, tobacco and some heavy thick Demerara sugar, on top of licorice sticks, bitter-sweet and heavy on the wood, with a lingering sweetness and more wood spices.
Finish: the sweet Demerara touches are going on for a long time, as well as the wood, spice and slight touches of Chilly heat and Lapsang tea.
This is one hell of a Rum indeed. Lots of oak, tobacco, tea and spices, make it ideal for a cold winter night. Don’t imagine myself sipping this super complex/ heavy stuff on a humid day in Trinidad… No sir.
At any rate, Excellent selection of cask there by Nils, Well done mate! Highly recommended if you’re a Caroni fan. Not cheap, but well worth your while. It really leaves many whiskies behind, so to speak….
It’s a true and rather sweet rum with a lot of oak. Very dry (maybe the insanely high ABV?) with hints of dried tobacco leaves. Deep flavors of waxed oak, some spices and crusty dark bread. Somehow, even a bit of whipped cream.
The palate is sharp and dry, but even though this is over 64%, it doesn’t taste THAT sharp. There still is a lot of alcohol of course, but that heat is offset by oak, sweet molasses and slightly bitter tobacco leaves. Very autumnal with old oak, furniture wax. That creaminess from the nose is present here too.
On the finish, the spiciness is getting a bit more in the spotlight, with pink peppercorns and wood flavors, some chili pepper, but a lot more gentle than before.
Honestly, without trying too hard, I figured I should be drinking this on a hot day, on a porch in a rocking chair. Something I normally associate with bourbon.
The sweetness with the wood spices is very reminiscent of America’s national spirit, although it is of a lighter profile than some of those heavy hitting bourbons (like Knob Creek, for example).
All in all this is one of the best rums I’ve ever had, although it’s hard to compare to some. For example, Diageo’s Zacapa is a tremendous rum too, it’s such a different beast that focuses more on smoothness and sweetness than on oak and depth, like this one does.
In hindsight it might have been wrong to close the Caroni distillery. Much like Brora, for example.