Getting to try Caroni is, by now, the rum equivalent of getting to try a new Port Ellen or Brora, except for the fact that it’s about 10% of the price.
So, when Wu Dram Clan offered to send me a sample of these two new bottlings that (should?) have released this week, I was barely able to contain my giddiness!
Two single casks, one from 1997 and one from 1998. Both at whopping strengths of above 60% ABV, I didn’t wait long to try them.
Caroni, Trinidad, 1997-2021, Cask #59, 60.6%
Quite a lot of molasses and brown sugar, before oak and spice kick in. Cracked leather and fresh red peppers. It’s quite fiery when you stick your nose in, which isn’t that surprising of course. Grilled banana with some dark chocolate.
Quite hot,but not without flavor! Dry molasses and burnt sugar. It gets more sweet with some swimming. Grilled fruits, mango, banana. Caramelized fruit sugar. Some baking spices, cinnamon and clove.
The finish is surprisingly gentle, long and sweet. Dried fruits, molasses, caramel, oak. A bit of black pepper.
Interestingly, this rum is a little bit predictable. It does what you would expect a Caroni to do, but it does it exceptionally well.
This is a gorgeous rum, and more or less a quintessential one.
Caroni, Trinidad, 1998-2021, Cask #2109, 62.2%
Lots of dry sawdust and peppery heat. White pepper and chilis. After a while I start getting stewed red fruits with red cinnamon. Stewed mixed berries. Brittle caramel, and a bit of treacle.
The palate is not very sweet. A whiff of bitter caramel. Quite some oak and the brittle caramel again. ‘Grey’ pepper. More fruity after a while, blackberries, strawberries. A bit of treebark.
The finish veers more towards the caramel, with some cocoa powder and a bit of irony minerals. It’s strange that it’s so different from the palate, but doesn’t contrast.
This one then. Holy crap this is good. The combination of that ‘classic rum’ backbone, with the spices, cocoa and fruits on top of it. This might just be the best rum I’ve had to date.
Strangely, the nose, palate and finish differ quite a bit, but it’s more like a journey than a contrast, and that makes for some awesome drinking!
My expectation is that these have sold out by the time they’re officially released. I don’t think they’ll hit the shelf in any shop.
Images supplied by Wu Dram Clan, as are the samples. Much, much obliged!
Wu Dram is forever! Caroni Rules Everything Around Me