Rumaniacs Review #063 | 0467
Having tried several of the ur-proofed rums of the rumiverse (Sunset Very Strong 84.5% and Marienburg 90% come to mind) I must confess that while stronger stuff exists, trying high-test like this makes me think I’ve run out of steroidal fortitude. It’s a shattering experience, not just because of its strength but because somehow it pushes all the boundaries of a very precise Caroni profile – it’s like getting hit with the spirituous equivalent of a fully boosted luxury freight train (assuming Louis Vuitton made one). And it is to its credit that it not only makes a bold statement for cask strength, but also adheres to all the markers that make Caroni a must-have rum to try if one can get it. Which may be problematic because here’s one that only got issued at a measly 123 bottles…so if you have dibs on one, treasure the thing.
Colour – Amber
Strength – 77.3%
Nose – Initially somewhat indistinct before the clouds clear and the forked lightning of specific aromas lights up the firmament. Phenols, acetone, furniture polish get things rolling. Salty, olives, some caramel, tar, licorice and caramel, even a touch of vegetable soup. It’s fierce and sharp and should be savoured. The smells are quite distinct and at this strength are easy to pick apart.
Palate – Whew! Taste carefully, young padawan, for this juice be hot. Oily and mouth coating in the best way – toffee, salty caramel ice-cream, flambeed bananas. and that’s just the beginning. Once it builds up a head of steam, there’s tar and pretrol, creme brulee, molasses, ripe peaches, prunes, cherries, dark grapes, and some brine and sweet red olives. Really good stuff, once you get past the sharp edge it displays – some water is highly recommended here, but just a little.
Finish – Long, dry, hot, fruity, tarry, with last notes of anise and toffee. Like a guy who makes the best jokes at your evening soiree, you just don’t want him to leave so you can enjoy the fun some more.
Thoughts – Not the best Caroni ever, but it’s good, very good. The strength to some extent works against it since lower proofed Caronis are every bit as tasty and easier to come to grips with (and much more available) and so perhaps more approachable than this brontosaurus. This rum is a brutal, ascetic skewer that doesn’t try to please everyone but does one thing really remarkably well – it showcases one single slice and aspect of Caroni in a way that perhaps a softer one might not have been able to do. And I suspect that was what Luca intended all along.
- Olivier Scars and Jean-Paul Bouwyn posted a major two-day Caroni session on DuRhum in August 2017 (in French), well worth a look through. They tried this one on Day 10
- Serge of course dealt with this rum in his 11-Caroni lineup back in mid-November 2017
- Rumaniacs link to be posted once other have put up their reviews.
- Luca remarked in the addenda to DuRhum’s tasting that this was among the first of the Caronis he issued, back in 2005, and he took a deep breath and a real chance to issue it full proof, which was not considered a good selling proposition back then. The Caronis sold out instantly, thereby solidifying his idea and proving it was a viable sales concept. Thank goodness 🙂