Rumaniacs Review #064 | 0469
When sampling yet another Caroni from the glory years of the 1980s, it’s something like opening a long-shut box redolent of the past, and maybe one can be forgiven for – in these times – rhapsodizing about the way hard honest rums were supposedly made by sweaty proles who had no patience for fancy finishes, plate manipulation or barrel strategy. So in a way it’s ironic that Caroni was not considered a particularly good rum back then – it was not that well known, it certainly wasn’t the estate’s prime focus, its signature taste was disapprovingly considered a mark of poor production methodology, and few outside of Trinidad cared much about it. But look what the passing of less than two decades since its closure has done: transmuted what we once lovingly referred to as humdrum gunk, into a definitively-profiled country-specific must-have, a treasure to be dissected and talked over like few others, whose minutest nuances of taste are endlessly debated in the cafes, lounges, clubs and elegant online drawing rooms of the rumworld. Here’s another one to add to the trove of our knowledge, then.
Colour – Gold
Strength – 55%
Nose – Compared to some of the others in the last weeks, this one is rather light – all the expected hits are playing, but in a lesser, almost minor key. Tar, rubber, acetone — these notes never get old and I never get tired of finding ’em — segueing into softer (but still delicate) dates, fruits, molasses, more tar, brown sugar, some caramel. Delicious. I could eat this thing.
Palate – The light profile continues, with some muskier, spicier tastes adding to the party: ginger, maybe cumin; honey, salt caramel, lemon meringue pie, an olive or two, tar and cigarette filters. The tar and furniture polish gradually bleed away, giving pride of place to nougat, white chocolate. Not overly complex…it’s almost simple in a way, though what flavours are there are crisp, clear and elegantly expressed and come together harmoniously.
Finish – Medium long, not very dry, nice and warm. Last notes of honey, citrus, salt caramel, and fresh green herbs from Jamie Oliver’s kitchen garden.
Thoughts – More than most of Velier’s Caronis, this one made me think, because the conclusions to walk away with are that (a) Caroni cannot be pigeonholed so easily into some kind of heavy rum reeking of tar and fruits – it’s got far more than that up its sleeves across the range, and (b) ‘light and simple’ as a descriptor (Serge called it “shy” which is just as good) conceal depths heretofore unsuspected. This is a pretty good Caroni, issued somewhat at right angles to most others from Velier and are from Luca’s first batch, which came on the market in the mid-to-late-2000s.
- 1500 bottle outturn
- Yes, Serge looked into the rum as part of his big Caroni take-apart some weeks back.
- Olivier Scars and Jean-Paul Bouwyn tried this one as part of their massive 55-Caroni tasting session on Day 1.
- When the Rumaniacs all chuck in their reviews, I’ll add the link to the proper page.