Caroni 21yo, Trinidad, 64.1% – The Duchess

Caroni is more or less the Port Ellen of the rum world. It’s been closed for a decade or two, and prices are soaring since most people are only now (the last couple of years) discovering the quality of the product. Or, maybe, as with Port Ellen whisky, it needed more time than it had had when they decided to close the place down.

Anyway, Caroni is no more. Stocks are running out. I’ve managed to taste a few, here and there. Most notably at Cadenhead’s last year in April, when FV and I were straggling to pick up our bottles. Back then we had an 18 year old one, which was described as Mark Watt’s private cask, by Mitch. If I remember correctly, that is.

But now, a year and a bit later, I’m writing about another one, bottled by The Duchess. My friend Nils works for the brand (and more or less created it, if I’m not mistaken), and has been bottlings some great rums over the last few years.

Of course, this being from a closed distillery makes the price go up, but compared to some other recent releases, the € 200 this goes for isn’t that far fetched. Also, this clocking in at 64.1% means you can make a bottle and half of it without it getting too weak…

Rather complex, herbaceous, sweet, burnt caramel, walnuts, pears. Not too woody, molasses, golden syrup. Dark bread, lots of depth.

Quite sharp, but also quite palatable at 64%. Dark, fruity, some baking spices. Figs, prunes, dark bread, golden syrup, molasses.

The finish is quite rich, with chocolate, popcorn, walnuts. Caramel, and sweet wood.

Now, I’m not an authority on anything, let alone older rums. What I do know is that I like this one and it’s different from the overly sweet and woody stuff you’d expect from a 20 year old Caribbean spirit.

I do love that it’s both fruity and herbaceous. It doesn’t give too much way to sugar and caramel and oak. So, there’s a lot of character here and that makes for an awesome drink. Recommened!


Caroni 1998-2019, 21 years old, Cask #20, Trinidad, 64.1%. Available from Best of Wines for € 200

Sample provided by Best of Wines, much obliged!


About Sjoerd de Haan-Kramer

I'm very interested in booze, with a focus on whisky. I like to listen to loads of music and play lots of Magic: the Gathering, and board games too. I'm married to Anneke, have two daughters Ot and Cato, a son Moos and a cat called Kikker (which means Frog, in Dutch). I live in Krommenie, The Netherlands.
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