Caroni 1997 encore II

Alas, we go on…

caronidt (2).jpgDuncan Taylor Caroni 1997 16YO (56,4%): Duncan Taylor also has a whole series of 1997s. I am aware of four different bottlings and at least half of them was great if I remember correctly.  Just don’t ask me which exactly… Nose: The dirty Caroni, with a slightly musty overall profile. It’s a bit like engine oil and tar spread in a dusty antiquity store. But someone’s preparing a sweet desert, cheesecake perhaps. Cedar wood, olives and sugar round off a very pleasant nose. All I can complain about here really is that it could be a bit more forward if you know what I mean. Palate: Unfortunately, the dilution is really noticeable but I can tolerate this because this is actually a really good rum. Sweet mango and mango juice, sugar and cane juice, mango lassi and orange jaipur flavoured black tea are the most obvious associations here. This works quite well actually and it is incredible how different the palate is from the nose – I just wish there were some more of the dirty notes at the palate. It’s weird but I really like this, even though I usually wouldn’t. Interesting twists on otherwise familiar rums are always more than welcome, I guess. Finish: Medium long and dry with the mango aromas again. The rum might be better than its score, but I have to deduct a point or two for the lack of complexity and the slightly too thin texture. (86/100)

caronisbs (2)S.B.S Caroni 1997 18YO (63%): Four seems to be the magical number with Caroni 1997 as S.B.S also released exactly that number (edit: apparently it was five: four in the 0,2l set and another one that has been released as a 0,7l bottle). For the record, this is cask 190. Nose: For the funnsies, I checked the company’s tasting notes for this one and they list “medicinal, rubber, light caramel, yeast, browned potatos, and brown sugar.” I agree with rubber, caramel and brown sugar, but cannot really find the other ones. Sorry Joshua! Instead something akin to dark stone fruits (plum), some tar and roadworks as well as plenty industrial metal. It’s like a die casting machine in a bottle. Palate: Let’s repeat the exercise: 1423 list “very dry, burned wood, salted, plum stone, cherry stone (right on -SCR), cinnamon, melon peel and passion fruit”. Let’s see: It’s dry indeed but also incredibly fruity. I agree with passion fruit and can go d’accord with the melon peel. Yellow plum, sure, but I also get ripe oranges and kumquats. Oh this one is nice! It’s very dirty at all, at least not at the palate as old rubber and bicycle tube is all I get in that depertment. Add caramel, sugar and pineapple candy and you get a different, but very likeable Caroni. Finish: Dry and longer than average with yellow plum, kumquat, oak and roasted bread. If you love fruity Caronis, this is it. Good stuff. (87/100)

caroniidr (2).jpgIsla del Ron Caroni 1997 20YO (52,5%): At least with me, Isla del Ron will always be the bottler that released the worst Caroni I know. And I didn’t hear good things about this one but let’s see for ourselves, shall we!? Nose: Extremely sharp and not very aromatic, and that at this abv. Somewhat surprisingly, my first impression is vanilla and besides some nutty notes and something that I’d call barrel aged orange jam there isn’t a lot to be found here. Oh dear. Palate: Again mostly sharp and with few of the lovely, typical Caroni notes. Instead sour cherries, vanilla, oak, spices such a cinnamon or cumin and toffee. With the third sip I finally get some rubber but that’s it. What a pity! The finish is relatively short and dry with sour cherries, cherry marmelade, caramel and wood. Now I see why you want to release a Caroni, but if this is what the broker offers, I’ll advise to just move on to something else. Now of course this isn’t a bad rum, but it is not on the “Caroni-level” either. (76/100)

caronich21 (2).jpegCadenhead’s Caroni 1997 21YO (59,4%): What do you think about Cadenhead’s new labels? I still have to get used to them… Nose: A bit reluctant and heavy on oak and vanilla I believe. Unfortunately, time doesn’t help here. After more than one hour the rum still didn’t open up. Additional scents I get are hot chocolate, cashew, cocoa and caramel. The typical Caroni notes are clearly there but only really play a minor role. Palate: A mix of caramel, sour cherries, cashew and oak are my first impressions. Then old tyres and old rubber as well as Crème brûlée, vla and very clearly also icing sugar. It’s solid but leaves quite a bit to be desired I must say. Finish: Rather short and forgettable. Somehow I get the impression that the quality of the alcohol gets worse and worse throughout the finish. Solid, but all in all more on the flat end of the batch. (80/100)

caroniadr (2).jpgA.D. Rattray Caroni 1997 20YO (63,2%): Another June bottling! Let’s hope it can keep up with A.D. Rattray’s legend. This one was bottled for Shinanoya by the way. Nose: Very musty and settled but in a sense it reminds me of some of the legendary (yes, I did use this term again) 1996 Caronis. The profile is full of dark chocolate, nougat, hazelnut, chcoclate coated coffee beans, tar, gasoline, gas station, spruce and more and more dark chcoclate. Wow! Palate: Very different. The spruce is still there, as are other coniferous woods. Then plenty of rosary, oil and gasoline, lamp oil, chocolate, burnt sugar, hints of molasses, coffee and in the background supportive layers of oak. This one doesn’t trump with its dirty aromas nor with its (non-existing) fruitiness, but this rich, dark and heavy overall profile is quite remarkable. Finish: Long and rich with conifers, dark chocolate and cocoa. Great stuff. We don’t reach the end of scale but we are getting close! (90/100)

caronidansk (2).jpegCaroni Rom Dansk Fanklub Caroni 1997 22YO (61,6%): A Danish Fanclub bottling… this should come from Joshuas stock. Anyway, it is the oldest Caroni from 1997 I know and since this has been bottled at the beginning of 2019 this cannot be from neither the June nor the December batch (quick mats!). Is there really a third 1997 batch or has a mistake slipped in? The initial nose is very balanced and positions itself right in the middle of the dirty-fruity-burnt caramel triangle. Some chocolate, orange bitters, papaya, muscovado, vanilla, lamp oil, burnt tyres and black tea are my main associations. Palate: At first rather sharp and straightforward, but it quickly moves to the middle of the “golden triangle” again. I get many of the aromas from the nose plus coffee, caoutchouc & rubber, plastics (elastomers), apple and orange jam as well as quite some wood. There’s nothing really in here that I want to pick out as it is so well balanced. Most connoisseurs are probably looking exactly for that, for me it might be a bit more rough and edgy actually (even though I have to admit that this is a good barrel, mind you!). Finish: Long and just as balanced with an additional note that reminds me of mint and pineapple. A ‘benchmark’ Caroni if you want. Cool, eh!? (86/100)