Caroni 21 Years Old Trinidad The Duchess Cask 20 64,1% 1998
€ 219,01 (in. Vat)
|Region||Laventile, Port of Spain|
|Condition||In Original Box|
Another new release from the Duchess and yet another new release from my beloved Caroni. THIS is something that excites me. Bottled at cask strength and having spent a glorious 21 years in the barrel (Distilled 1998 and bottled 2019 - split between tropical and continental - heavy on the continental). 245 bottles made it out of this cask.
As I (and many others) have written many times about both the Duchess and Caroni, I won’t spend much time introducing this one. The Duchess is a Netherlands-based independent bottler who bottles single cask releases of some beautiful rums and releases them as they come out of the cask…
Caroni…this shouldn’t need much introduction. This Trinidad distillery went out of production in 2002 and people around the world have, in recent years, discovered what happens to this amazing juice after spending years in oak. The supply keeps going down. The prices keep going up…but my god are they tasty. Known for their heavy fusel oil component, these rums (often) offer a diesel/petroleum funk that is matched by no other.
Now on to what’s in my glass!
The nose - YES!!! WE HAVE CARONI!!! Spilled oil. Kerosine. Petrol. Rubber gum boots. It’s all there. Sitting together in a dusty cellar in a grandpa’s old dry basement. There is a fair amount of fruit going on as well. Apples. Pears. Plums. All slightly aged and browning. I also get candied notes thrown in there, as if it's a mix between bruised fruit cider and buttery caramel. Surprisingly, I also keep getting whiffs of a slightly green thing going on that reminds me a little bit of fresh mint. Smokey and sweet burnt fire wood. Ash. Pepper and a handful of almonds. The nose burns ever so slightly, although is not overly aggressive for the 64.1%. Promising…
On the palate - Caroni again!!! The rubber jumps out at me the most. Followed closely by the petrol and liquid cement. The wood character is strong. Slightly bitter. It starts off as if it's going to go sweet but it doesn’t. Not a lot of the vanilla/chocolate notes but instead old dank oak (I mean this in as pleasant a way as I can). Butterscotch. Chestnuts. Almonds. A nuttiness that is both creamy and and bitter. Orange peel. Dried roses (at first I thought I was wrong, but it keeps coming back to me). As with the nose, I get slight hints of smoke/burnt wood. Perhaps a pinch of salt…and to finish it off, a lingering taste of mint that for some reason puts the thought of root beer in my mind…(I am one who does like the taste of root beer).
The finish is very long. VERY VERY LONG. I will still be tasting this tomorrow. Exactly how a good Caroni should be. The body is medium-full. Extremely dry but oily mouthfeel. It’s hot but not too hot. It leaves my mouth warm and tingling.
I like this. I like this a lot. The nose was good, but the palate was even better.
Priced at around the €200 mark, it is where it should be. Perhaps even below where it could be considering where other 21% Caronis are these days.
A beautiful bottling yet again by the Duchess. Keep ‘em coming!
…next is to taste this next to their previous 20-year Caroni release….perhaps will make its way into another post. For now I want to put my feet up and enjoy this tot.
Serge Valentin (89)
Some lonely souls are claiming that there’s no good Caroni left. I don’t think that’s exactly right…
Nose: oh, metal polish in abundance and some sour, umami-y, savoury notes of ready-made miso soup, plus some tobacco and notes of walnut shell and pine cones. Some old kelp too, Spanish ham, bone marrow… It is a whole meal! With water: must be me losing all senses, but this reminds me of the old, pre-Glenmo Ardbeg 10. Soot, coal, tarry ropes and stuff…
Mouth (neat): big, punchy, earthy, very tarry and almost rubbery. Which works here. Could someone try to smoke porcinis please? And then report back to WF’s Research Committee? With water: yeah, there, lime and seawater.
Finish: long and bitter, on artichokes and Brussels sprouts. What works in whisky or rum would never work in a soup… right…
Comments: a big boy, with this very specific kind of rubber that’s very Caroni in my book. Now I would have called this The Warlord rather than The Duchess (I’m not sure anyone wants to hear your opinion on these matters, S.)
Gal Granov (91)
I have not reviewed a new RUM recently, and now that temperatures are rising in Israel (and Europe i hope too), it’s a perfect opportunity to try the latest release from The Duchess, an independent Rum bottler (and whisky too, yes). This time they have chosen to bottle a Caroni (again, the last one was awesome) at cask strength. This Rum spent a glorious 21 years in the barrel (Distilled 1998 and bottled 2019 – split between tropical and continental – heavy on the continental), and only 245 bottles made it out of this cask.
Nose: Yes, this is 100% Caroni for sure : Smoky, dirty, and deep notes of rubber, kerosene and mint. It’s like a visit to your local car garage, but in a nice way. Sweet honeyed fruit (stewed apple, pear and apricot), which give way to more wood smoke, some dunnage warehouse notes as well. Damn. It’s lovely and complex.
Palate: bitter entry with loads of wood, more rubbery notes, and more spiced wood. Nutty, and ashy, pepper and mint, very dry and the fruit is nowhere to be seen. Black tea, mocha and more wood.
Finish : long with a deep smoky and rubbery touch, dry oak,pinch of salt.
Conclusion: The nose on this one is amazing – everything I had hoped for, and then some, a brilliant melange of sweet, fruit, smoke, dirt and rubber. The palate however, is a bit to dry and woody and did not fully live up to the (amazingly) promising nose. It’s still a lovely palate, with the oak, mocha mint and wood working well together. Lovely endless finish, concludes a great combo altogether. I don’t score Rums, but this one’s a good choice for Caroni lovers with money to spend (as Caronis are never cheap).
Another welcome bottling from the Duchess which is becoming one of nicer voices in Indie rum these days. Good work by Nils & Co.