Duncan Taylor Caroni 1997 16yr (Cask No. 87)


As I was chatting with a friend of mine about the sample of Caroni-aged Sajous he sent me, he asked, “Have you tried any actual Caroni?”

“No,” I replied, “but I have a sample.” 

As I continued to miss the painfully obvious conclusion, he made a recommendation: “… maybe you should try it.”

And try it I did! This rum, from the defunct Caroni distillery in Trinidad, was pot distilled from molasses in 1997, aged in ex-bourbon barrels for sixteen years, and bottled at a cask strength of 55.1% in 2014.


Immediately, the nose makes me think of new car smell. Within this new car are cooked blackberries and blueberries, fresh muscadine grapes, espresso, bittersweet chocolate, allspice, vanilla, hot (but not burning) rubber, and some mulch.

On the palate, the new car smell turns into new car taste. There’s also melting plastic, hot rubber, cough syrup, wood smoke, black pepper, Concord grape jelly, burnt cola syrup, bittersweet chocolate, Earl Grey tea, allspice, and star anise. The oak is beautifully integrated, it is very manageable at proof, and it has a very long finish. 


It’s probably for the best that this was my first Caroni; had I discovered this several years ago when prices weren’t quite as high, I may have formed a ruinous attachment to it. Now that Caroni is almost always prohibitively expensive, I don’t plan to seek out a full bottle of this or any Caroni. 

Nonetheless, I’m very glad to have tried this sample. It’s funky and intense, yet brilliantly balanced. If you’re the sort of person who’s wealthy enough to collect old Caronis, do yourself a favor and open one up. Turns out the stuff inside tastes really good. (8/10)