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Where to start with Caroni?


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kudzey (TASTING CLUB)

Posted 10 Feb '21 from Poland with 17 ratings

I believe it's high time I started thinking of trying Caroni rums. Where should I begin my journey? Any tips on what to drink first? Do you recommend going for Velier's or some independent bottler like kill devil, bristol Classic or CDI? And which of the Caroni is your favorite?

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Rene Rum

From Switzerland with 390 ratings Replied 10 Feb '21

Good Question, it depends on which one you can get and what's your budget is. First, I would go for a "cheap" Caroni, to test if you like this kind of rum, it's not everybody’s cup of tea (they are so different from what you rated so far). I think you already look at some different ratings. In my opinion, you can do nothing wrong with the Velier bottlings, they are pure dirty Caronis with lot of diesel, burned rubber, tar and old furniture. Also, the old Bristol bottlings are dirty. Rum Nation, Berry's, Ultimatum, are woodier and with less diesel and dirt, but still great! The bottlings between 40% - 46% Vol. like Mezan, Bristol or Berry's taste a bit watery (to taste ok and not so pricy), go for the high proof!
The best I ever had in the glass was the Bristol Classic 1974! A legend and not to find anymore :-(
Second love: Velier 12- year a real beast and hard to tame!
Lucky me, I start to collect Caroni years ago bevor the prices start to explode. I store it in different reinforced boxes in the shelter. One part to enjoy when I'm retired, one part for invest (don't blame me) or I open up a Caroni bar ;-)
Picture: Caroni to drink on my shelf (not all are opened yet)
Cheers!!!

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vomi1011

From Germany with 293 ratings Replied 10 Feb '21

There are several types of Caronis.
Pseudo Caronis are the worst, like Felicite, they don't have much to do with real Caronis. Almost no typical aromas.
Then there are the diluted, some are weak but you get an idea what Caroni could be like. Bristols are not that bad. But there are also some with faulty notes, like Overseas or Alambic Classic.
Those in cask strength with faulty flavors are better. They are sometimes sour or wierd like Isla del Ron. Or they are too dirty and sharp like SBS.
Then there are dirty Caroni without much fruit aromas and sweetness. Often they are from 1998. Sometimes 1997.
Best Caronis are from 1996, because of the sweetness and fruit flavors. Velier bought almost all of them.
Bristol 1997 are good, also the Kill Devil 1998 and CDI Caronis.
CDI are expensive, Kill Devil also.
Bristol 1997 >60% are around 200€, this is where I would start. They have some sweetness and dirty notes. I buy them between 160 and 200€.
If you can get a Rum Nation 1998 for under 160€ go for it. It's a simple but a dirty Caroni.
Velier 15 and 17 for around 200€ are also not bad.
Try to buy two bottles of Velier 1996 Caroni (red 21 or tasting gang). You can drink one and sell the other when it doubled the price.

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VikingXO

From Denmark with 147 ratings Replied 10 Feb '21

@Kudzey
I agree with vomi1011.

Personally Veliers 21y (the red one) from 1996 is my all time favorit Caroni. This is also sweet (natural sweetness of course) and so tastefull.

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Paul B (PREMIUM)

From United States with 369 ratings Replied 11 Feb '21

I had been visiting a liquor store in a wealthy neighborhood for years. Only a few days ago, I accidentally stumbled upon their premium spirits in a locked glass case hidden away to the side. To my surprise, I laid my eyes upon the first real bottle of Caroni that I had ever seen. It was in a gift box and it was 110 Proof and 17 years old. Since I do not have a Smart Phone, I drove home to read reviews on it here. This same rum is listed under two slightly different names, one with "Trinidad" and one without. Since I don't care for the smell and taste of burning tires and asphalt, I wisely chose not to go back and buy it, even though I can afford it. This would definitely be a colossal waste of money on my part. I did look up prices elsewhere and I could make quite a few bucks reselling it, but that is not my thing. I would be willing to guess that this bottle will still be in that case a month from now because the clientele over there are certainly no fools.

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Rene Rum

From Switzerland with 390 ratings Replied 11 Feb '21

@Paul

Not to buy rum you don't like is wise, but if you like Caroni you’re not really a fool. ;-)
Yes, the prices are hilarious, I love this kind of rum but I don't won't to spend 350 $ or more for a bottle. That’s nearly the price I paid for my last bottle, just to finish the collection. I will open it up before I die. :-)

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kudzey (TASTING CLUB)

From Poland with 17 ratings Replied 11 Feb '21

Many thanks for your suggestions!
As far as I understood, Caronis form a kind of homogeneous group but the quality can vary. Is there any reason (except collectible/limited edition) why it is worth to buy the most expensive ones? Are these any better in taste? Do you know how I could get some samples before going for the full bottle?

By the way, are all the barrels from Caroni warehouse now gone? This is what I understood from the fact that Velier ends it's releases. Do you know about any bottling that is yet to come?

I know Angostura rums are from the same region, how do these compare?

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vomi1011

From Germany with 293 ratings Replied 12 Feb '21

As I already told the 1996 Velier releases are the best, because they are very flavorful with a nice sweetness and some fruit aromas. The quality of other bottlers is behind Velier, because Luca bought the best casks. 300-400€ is not much for a 1996 Velier Caroni in cask strength (400€ was the release price of "tasting gang"), in five years you will get 1000€ for such a bottle.
This year we will see two last releases with two bottles each of the Velier Employee series. After that some people from the (Velier Small Great Bottles) VSGB club will get some samples from the last single casks.
Some other bottlers still have a few barrels, but there is not much left and not of Velier quality.

(Angostura) TDL have some similarities with Caroni, but they are not that dirty and it's hard to find an old one. You can read my Artesanal TDL 19y review, this one was hyped last year because some people thought this was a forgotten Caroni cask.
But it wasn't and if someone knows Caroni and TDL bottlings they are easy to distinguish.
I can provide some samples of Caroni, shipping is 14€ tracked and insured within EU:
https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/1l9uAgs_AD_T5Em8ryWNzPOUbY-0qNmDefit3n_UObU4/edit?usp=sharing

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Paul B (PREMIUM)

From United States with 369 ratings Replied 12 Feb '21

On that one bottle of Caroni 17 Year 110 Proof, I had no way of seeing if it was from Velier since it was in a dark colored gift box. However, it was CHEAP, compared to other prices that I have seen (only $190 US!!!). I still won't go back to buy it.

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Kamamura

From Czech Republic with 31 ratings Replied 18 Feb '21

I started with this bottle:
https://assets.catawiki.nl/assets/2020/6/24/b/5/1/b51fb1cc-48e8-4bd2-80b6-d3ab6560ae97.jpg
I remember buying it in 2012 for just 62$ , still have the bottle as a decoration. Honest 18 years, 62.5 ABV, notes of tar, old ropes, coffins and musty, abandoned warehouse (probably that's where Luca found those barrels, LOL).
Phenomenal rum, but it's gone, and today's prices are exorbitant. My advice would be to buy samples to know how it tasted, but save the money, because you can buy good contemporary rum for far more reasonable prices. Caroni is sort of craze now, like Yamazaki or Macallan used to be in whiskey world, I don't jump on the fashion bandwagons because you have to pay dearly for a seat.

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vomi1011

From Germany with 293 ratings Replied 18 Feb '21

You've bought and drunk one of the best Caronis 😄 I like the advice with the samples.
Caronis are expensive now, but let's talk in five years again.

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Kamamura

From Czech Republic with 31 ratings Replied 19 Feb '21

I shared the bottle with many, many people who came around, friends, my wife visitors (even with my now dead father in law, RIP). I told everyone it's a piece of history, and thus to savour it. I had perhaps 2 or 3 dl of that bottle.

The funniest taster was my sister, who is quite a wine drinker. I poured that Caroni into a tasting glass, and put a glass of water in front of her, warning her that it's an old, overproof rum that is to be treated with respect, so add a few drops first, carefully taste, then perhaps add more.

Of course she did not listen, she was talking and talking, and then she suddenly kicked it back like vodka, undiluted. I remember her face turning red, she rolled her eyes, opened and closed her mouth like a fish thrown out of the river, then spat everything into the glass of water, and before I could stop her, she took the glass with the rest of the Caroni, and poured it whole into the water as well (nobody knows why), spoiling it all. Damn, I thought, I must stop offering this liquid gold to those who do not come prepared.

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kudzey (TASTING CLUB)

From Poland with 17 ratings Replied 19 Feb '21

Vomi,
Thanks for a great offer, I'm more than interested in trying some of your samples (the prices you gave are also very fair). My email is algator319@gmail.com, if you are ok with this channel of communication. Please send me a message.

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kudzey (TASTING CLUB)

From Poland with 17 ratings Replied 19 Feb '21

By the way, do you know something more about 5th release of employees? Any idea what shops will sell the bottles and when?

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vomi1011

From Germany with 293 ratings Replied 19 Feb '21

@Kamamura You sister is crazy 🙈I understand some wine aficionados and I would never do such a thing with expensive wines like Petrus or Chateau Lafite. But I can't explain why your sister did such a thing.

@Kudzey
whisky.fr will offer the 5th Caroni release. I will buy some bottles on the second market (ebay). They will be sould out in a minute on whisky.fr. I don't have a bot for sniping this bottles.
I'm going to write you a message.

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Kamamura

From Czech Republic with 31 ratings Replied 22 Feb '21

@vomi1011 - Well, women, you know, she probably panicked. Her mouth hurt, she had the feeling she has to do something, so she "neutralized" the "dangerous" rest of the rum by pouring it into water ;-)
I think if the guys who made that batch saw what clueless Europeans do with their drink, they would have a good bout of laughter at our expense ;-)

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Mr. Rumantic

From Germany with 83 ratings Replied 28 Feb '21

@vomi1011: Is it still possible to purchase samples from you? How should the contact take place... Email? Lg 😉

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vomi1011

From Germany with 293 ratings Replied 28 Feb '21

vomi1011@gmail.com
Of course, I added some new rums yesterday like Detente or TRC Guyana with Hampden finish.

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kudzey (TASTING CLUB)

From Poland with 17 ratings Replied 28 Feb '21

I can add that I strongly recommend Vomi as sample provider. But I didn't find time to drink them yet.

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Paul B (PREMIUM)

From United States with 369 ratings Replied 28 Feb '21

I went back to that liquor store two days ago and that bottle of Caroni 17 Year 110 Proof was still there two weeks later as first predicted. No one in this area wants it. I did get a closer look at the dark brown gift box that it comes in and nowhere on the front does it say "Velier". Something tells me that this is one of the more undesirable Caronis, which is why it is going for so cheap. I also found out that Caroni does not rhyme with baloney. It sounds more like Karen E, whereby E stands for Entitled.

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vomi1011

From Germany with 293 ratings Replied 1 Mar '21

Well the most people know not that much about rum, I would not care about them.
This one or another one?
https://www.limited-rum.de/Velier-Caroni-100-Trinidad-Rum-17-Jahre
Would be a good buy for 190$.
The label is in vintage design, I would buy it as a piece of rum history. I think I have three bottles of them.

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Paul B (PREMIUM)

From United States with 369 ratings Replied 1 Mar '21

vomi1011:

Thanks for saving me $190 US plus tax!!!! I normally frown upon enclosed links, but yours showed a bright orange box from Velier. The boxed rum that I have been keeping an eye on for weeks is dark brown as I stated before. Nowhere on the front does it say Velier. So this bottle for an extremely low price must be part of the stuff that Velier did not want.

So why do I frown upon enclosed links? There was a guy in our office that no one liked. He would eavesdrop on all conversations. Then he would quickly look up the topic in Wikipedia. Then he would stick his head over the cubicle and declare that he knew all about that topic and more. We would simply tell Ed to sit down and shut up. He is now the only retiree that none of us misses. And to me, enclosed links are the same as what Ed was doing. However, this one link that you provided was quite valuable, so I thank you.

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vomi1011

From Germany with 293 ratings Replied 1 Mar '21

No idea what Caroni that is, I need a bottler to determine the quality. But 110 proof sounds not bad.
Links are on the one hand references and on the other hand they support the claims or opinions.
Further they provide more information about a topic. My link is there to show the bottle.
Everyone is free to use enclosed links. Nobody is forced to click on it.
For me it's better if someone provides more information.

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