A new bottler announced itself a little while ago. A few years ago that would have been something quite regular, but it’s happening less and less. Probably because of a rather full market and getting hold of barrels of anything is hard at the moment (oil included…).
Jack Tar did just that though, announce themselves and get hold of casks. And those casks are quite something. They’re not starting out with any 7 year old Miltonduff or something. These are high end casks.
Luckily, I was sent a couple of samples of some of their first releases (thank you!). In this case a trio of Caroni and an old Enmore for rum, and a Aberlour. These latter two will be reviewed soon, but today it’s time to do a little write-up of the Caroni Trio.
As some of you might know, Caroni is a currently very popular rum distillery from Trinidad and Tobago. Unfortunately, prices are soaring because of said popularity in combination with the distillery having been closed since 2003. So, stocks are dwindling fast, and whatever’s there is sought after.
In some cases this popularity is mostly based on the distillery being closed, and not necessarily on quality. Caroni, however, has earned its stripes for their aged rums, and when you’ve tried one or two, you’d understand why people are snatching up bottles left and right!
These three were bottled at cask strength, and with them being similar in age, I decided to line them up according to ABV. Which means we start at the lowest, at an already whopping 61.3%!
Caroni La Lune, 1997-2021, Cask #84, 61.3% – Jack Tar
Pretty intense, to the surprise of about nobody. Very classical with molasses and tropical fruit. Brown sugar, and a whiff of diesel. Some menthol, and burnt toast.
The palate is massively intense, but not just because of the ABV. There’s a lot happening flavorwise too! Less sweet than the nose made me expect, even though there are still notes of brown sugar. Chili pepper, molasses, golden syrup. For fruitiness there’s mango and papaya, and the not uncommon note of diesel. Gentle oak with a menthol note make it a bit fresher, more crisp.
The finish is mouth coating and surprisingly gentle. Golden syrup, brown sugar and soft notes of oak. After a little while the peppery heat from the alcohol reappears a little bit.
As far as Caroni goes, this is more or less what you expect from this kind of rum. It’s well aged, and it’s got that little note of diesel and engine oil which makes for a very interesting and very good tasting experience. Very good stuff indeed!
Caroni Limbo, 1999-2021, Cask #186, 63.7% – Jack Tar
It already starts very different to the La Lune. Much less fruity, and strangely it’s both light and heavy at the same time. Heavy on the more industrial note of diesel and petrol, but light with more green notes of sugarcane and reed and grass.
The palate is quite peppery, very dry and pretty hot on the arrival. Even though that’s the first sensation, it doesn’t mean there’s not a lot of flavor to back up the massive ABV. Pepper, oak, sugarcane, brittle caramel. Also diesel, engine grease and a note of condensed milk. Sweet grassy notes and oak too.
The finish keeps some heat around for a long time, in a very good way. Dry with a grass flavor, sugarcane, brittle caramel, oak and pepper.
While I love fruity notes in rum, those more industrial notes are what truly make it interesting to me (and many others). The sweetness is toned down in this one, which gives room to other aromas and flavors to start shining, and they do! A cracking rum!
Caroni Le Soleil, 1997-2021, Cask #60, 63.8% – Jack Tar
Even though the previous one sat at almost the exact same ABV, the alcohol and the heat it brings is something of a blast still. Aroma-wise it sits right between the Limbo and the La Lune. Some molasses and brown sugar, but not without the green vegetal note of sugarcane. Menthol, basil and a light hint of diesel. Green banana peels and kiwi fruit.
I would have expected that my palate would have warmed up by now, but the arrival is still insanely intense, and quite hot and dry too. Chili pepper and red cinnamon. After a minute notes of caramel, baking spices and oak come through. Cinnamon, clove and burnt toast.
The finish is very similar to the palate, with heat lingering nicely, lots of flavor led by the notes of pepper.
I never expected to smell kiwi fruit in a rum, but somehow I did here. The green notes are very interesting with the heat and sweeter notes of molasses. A very curious combination of flavors and scents. I said this sits right between the other two in ways of tasting notes, and I do end up there in regard to its mark as well.
This is a bunch of awesomeness alright! I never really doubted the level of quality from this bottler, knowing their provenance. The bottler, Jack Tar, although new as a brand, is not new in the world of luxury goods. Lukasz Baranowski is the man behind the team at Jack Tar and has earned his way in this before with Guinness Book of Records noted releases of whisky, rum, watches and and other ultra premium items.
These rums are still available in France, from Excellence Rhum, who’s images I used for the review.
You can click the images, or the links below to check them out: