Caroni 01/1998

The January 1998 batch is not really one of our favorites, but great casks can be found almost everywhere. Well, it is tough, but hope dies last…

caroni_kintra (2)Kintra Caroni 1998 19YO (55,1%): The nose is relatively sweet and rather fruity for a Caroni. Freshly made caramel is paired with ripe papayas, citrus fruits and sour passion fruit perhaps. In the background I can find tobacco and slightly sulphatic notes. It’s the very ‘Spanish’ side of Caroni and I probably would never mistake this for a pot still distillate, unlike some of the heavier expressions. The mouthfeel is quite thick though, despite the dilution. Flavour-wise, we get more of the caramel/ papaya mix but now also some dirtier, more typical Caroni flavours such as gas station/ gasoline or rubber. Nevertheless, the sweeter side always dominates the general profile. Besides slightly sulphatic or brinery notes, I now even get some herbal elements (basil? mint?), which makes for a weird mix that slightly reminds me of some Savannas (a very different distillate, mind you). All in all it feels a bit misplaced, however. The finish is not very long and a logical next step from the palate. Again I am a bit puzzled and somehow all of this doesn’t really fit together very well. A real weirdo that is not really bad but a large step below what it could be. thumb-60x60 (81/100)

racaroniRum Artesanal Caroni 1998 20YO (64,3%): What can an additional year add here? Clearly not as much as almost 17% higher abv! Nose: Quite sweet and sulphatic with rotting vegetables/ fruits. The alcohol seems to be integrated quite well but the general profile is rather weird once again. It’s not bad but absolutely not special either. Then dark caramel, foul papaya and old, used rubber. The alcohol is very present at the palate but not really more so than we should expect at this abv. The foul papaya turned into a ripe one, the old rubber into fresh caoutchouc or tubes and the sulphatic notes as well as the rotten vegetables are now gone altogether. It’s much better than the nose. We can also add vanilla, and other spices from the cask as well as a few mineral elements. Then again more fruits, mostly papaya still. Finish: Brown sugar, wooden plank and spices from the cask. Not too bad. It’s quite a complex Caroni actually but that doesn’t necessarily make it great. It is one of the better 01/98s but it still cannot compete with the weaker rums of most of the better batches. By the way, you can also find blind-tasting notes of the rum right here. thumb-60x60 (83/100)

caronich (2)Cadenhead’s Caroni “TMCG” 1998 20YO (62,5%): The first three letters of the “mark” (the quotation marks since this is most certainly a mark put on later by the broker) should stand for Trinidad Main Caroni. Nose: Here I am getting a slightly smoky, minimally medical note. It’s not that this is an obvious impression here but rather a nuance which you’ll likely only find in a cross-tasting. More typically, we have burnt sugar, caramel, scrap metal and rust as well as salty, perhaps even slightly maritime notes. Different, to say the least. Palate: Much closer to the typical rum from this batch. Relatively sweet, a bit “dirty” with lots of caramel, vanilla pudding and foul papayas. The texture is solid but all in all the rum is a bit spicier than the others. But then again, I don’t really mind it. I must admit that this is good stuff, it’s just that it is not my favorite Caroni profile. Finish: It sounds stupid but it is slightly creamy with walnuts, burnt sugar and some pleasant notes from the cask. Unfortunately, the rum is a bit too much on the expansive side. thumb-60x60 (83/100)