Caroni, different vintages

More or less at random today. I am thinking different vintages and not resorting to Velier this time. I am not sure if that is going to work out, after all it is mostly best of the rest these days but every now and then we find a real gem among these.

M.Wigman Caroni Precious Moments 1999 19YO (61,2%): I do not know anything about this bottler and it is indeed a weird bottling. It comes in at just 69 bottles, so I am thinking split cask. However, the label also says matured in Trinidad. While I do not believe that this is correct, it would explain the high angle’s share that’s necessary to produce such a low output. Anyway, I am sticking to the split cask theory I guess. Nose: Very dirty, as you’d expect it from this vintage. I get oil and grease from the car shop, leather, oak and towards the end quite a bit of alcohol. It is a very simple and straightforward Rum but with this combination you will never go wrong. Palate: Quite to my surprise, this is extremely sweet. Not sweetened, but naturally sweet. There’s chocolate, caramel, Nutella, some old tyres and engine oil. A rather strange mix indeed and one that isn’t on par with the nose I am afraid. After a while we get some more earthy notes. Now this palate isn’t to my liking. Perhaps we just aren’t a “Choci-boy”. Finish: A bit better again with after eight, oak and more herbs but it doesn’t turn the tides for me. It is definitely not my favorite Caroni. While nose and finish were fine, the palate simply doesn’t suit our taste. But perhaps that is going to be different for you! (82/100)

Berry Bros & Rudd Caroni (Haromex) 1998 19YO (59,1%): Nose: This is neither your outstanding 1998 vintage nor your standard 1998 batch. It is much rather a very interchangable, yet good column still Rum. Another real weirdo. We get lots of caramel, toffee, some notes from the scrapyard, mango and papaya, pepper and vanilla as well as oak and sugar. A very non-standard Caroni profile, but still pleasant. Palate: There it is: Engine oil, tar and burnt rubber. This is much, much better than the nose. Then caramel, mango, papaya, wood and more herbal notes. It definitely works for me, even though this is not a picture-perfect Caroni and the alcohol isn’t integrated quite as well as it could be. Finish: Medium long, bitter and dry with cocoa, wood, spices and that engine oil again. Sure, why not!? We’ve seen much, much worse from the 1998 vintage. (83/100)

S-Spirits Shop Selection/LMDW Caroni 1997 20YO (61,5%): This is a joint bottling by S-Spirits Shop Selection and LMDW. Nose: This is typical Caroni with the scrapyard, lots of caramel, some mint, oak, a hint of cocoa and old grease. This one is very balanced and not edgy at all. Usually that’s not a plus but this time we don’t complain, even though we usually enjoy different (read more aggressive and less polished expressions) more. After a while also engine and olive oil as well as more rusty notes. Great! Palate: Just like with the nose, we are dealing with a very balanced Rum where nothing is sticking out in particular. Scrap metal and the junkyard, chocolate, leather, oak, caramel and olives are the first associations, to name just a few. It is just a nice combination all in all and digging deeper might ruin this one for us, after all it is benefiting from its harmonious balance, as we’ve said. Finish: Medium long with honey, caramel, greek yoghurt, oak and vanilla. This one s highly enjoyable and dangerously sippable. Definitely one that is growing on you with every sip but you won’t find many new notes as the content of the bottle comes to an end. (89/100)

Bristol Caroni 1996 15YO (43%): There have been a few 1996 Caronis by Bristol. This one has been bottled in 2011. By the way, Caroni at 43% feels like a slap in the face, don’t you think!? Nose: Relatively thin, as was to be expected. I get tar, engine oil, ripe olives, oak, a hint of smoky licorice, gasoline and papaya perhaps. What we get is actually really, really nice, it is just that it isn’t all that much. Palate: Flavoured water. I.e. incredibly flavourful and tasty flavoured water, but still flavoured water. It is the kind of incredibly dirty water that makes you wonder if it is still safe to drink. We get lamp oil, caramel, old tyres, earthy mushrooms, old dirt and once again licorice. The latter is something that we basically never find with Caroni but it is clearly there. Here and there also a few nutty notes. The Rum is actually quite complex, despite the low abv, but you just know that it could have been so much more. Finish: Relatively short and merely an extension of the palate. The dirty notes and earthy mushrooms stick around for quite a bit. Mr. Barrett, what have you done!? I believe that this could have been a real stunner at a higher abv. (82/100)

Isla del Ron Caroni 1989 30YO (52,8%): This is at least 30 years old, if not 31. And the word on the street is that it has been finished in a Sherry butt. When recalling the Isla del Ron Caroni 1989 27YO, it better was! Nose: Oh yeah, clearly. This is more Sherry than everything else and given how bad the aforementioned sister barrel was, that’s a good sign. I get cherries, plums, a mix of red berries, leather… this really is your typical Sherry finish profile and when we take that for what it is, there’s nothing to complain about here. There’s no “Caroni” in there besides a few minderal notes however, mind you! Palate: We get those mineral notes again, but also hay, wood, the Sherry flavours, more herbal notes, plums and wood. Super decent, yet absolutely unspectacular and totally not Caroni. With plenty of imagination we can think of tar, but in reality those are probably only the mineral notes we got before. Finish: Short to medium long and at least for me, I only get the Sherry notes, hay and herbs as well as the mineral notes again. I think this was a Sherry butt to save a bad Rum. But when looking for this particular profile, we can get along with much cheaper spirits than this. (73/100)

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