1960s Caronis (Moon Import)

Judged by the date of distillation, todays duo of Rums by the Italian bottler Moon Import are the two oldest vintage Caronis I know. Sure, we’ve had blends, that possibly date back to the time before that, but we do not know for sure. The purpose is to compare these profiles to the ones from the 1980s and 1990s (Oh boy, I do hope these are HTRs!), just for science.

Moon Import Trinidad 1969 20YO (46%!?): The label is beautiful, isn’t it!? This has been bottled for Moon Import’s 10th anniversary in 1990. Nose: What the heck? This smells like a whole lot of nothing. Really. This has been distilled to death – light Rum par excellence. I have no idea who needs this but indeed, this is the “other side” of Caroni as we know it from their original blends. It really is rather close to neutral alcohol I think. Then vanilla and a few other spices from the cask, but even the latter didn’t add a lot. Oh dear. Palate: Not much better, unfortunately. The palate is relatively creamy given the low abv / dilution but that is really the only positive thing we have to say here. Flavourwise, I’d describe this as 20YO neutral alcohol, but judged by even the lack of additive maturation in the form of cask aromas, it is closer to a 5YO, say. Finish: Short and forgettable. If this would have been the whole story of Caroni, i.e. if there never had been any HTRs, no one would have cared about the loss of the distillery ever (aside from the human aspects of the workers who have lost their jobs, of course). Ever. Now I do have a question though: In 1990, few people to nobody cared about Caroni a lot (the Rum), so why would you bottle this to celebrate the 10th anniversary of your company? (56/100)

Moon Import Caroni 1967 20YO (46%): I really cannot say if I like or hate the label. For me, it is exactly at the tipping point between cool and tacky. But let’s just hope that the content is better than that of the 1969. Nose: Oh, I am afraid it is not. Clearly another LTR, without any real aromas. Relatively speaking, I think the 1969 was actually even better and more aromatic. Put differently, even more neutral, even lass cask influence, even less of what we love so much about Caroni. What a pity. Palate: Again, better than the nose but in this case that is absolutely not an indicator of quality. The biggest compliment I can make is that it doesn’t taste awful, it is just not a good Rum, or spirit even. I believe you can also age Korn or Vodka and come to a very similar result. With plenty of imagination we also find a few mineral notes perhaps, but under normal circumstances we wouldn’t even mention that. Finish: Nada. It is too bad but it just remains a piece of Caroni history. In this particular case, just as with the 1969, not for the reasons we would have liked to see. However, it does show you once again why no one cared about Caroni back then – for all the right reasons. What else? Yes, we usually try to avoid talking about prices but as a small anecdote: I’ve never paid as much for Rum that is this bad. And I don’t think I ever will again. (52/100)