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Rum Reviews & Ramblings

Rum Reviews & Ramblings: Welcome


I started in the world of wine tasting around 2006. These tastings were always blinded, so you had to work on finding and building a repertoire of a broad range of descriptors in order to piece together what you had in your glass...So when it comes to smell and flavour description, I’ve been doing it for quite a few years. In 2015, my interest in rum was sparked and since then I have thrown myself deep in to the world of this amazing spirit and wonderful people.

/Kris von Stedingk

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  • Writer's pictureKris von Stedingk

The Duchess - Caroni - Cask 20 - 21 yo - 64.1% abv.

The Duchess - Caroni - 21 yo - 64.1% abv.

Another new release from the Duchess (actually released today, so it seems appropriate to give it some attention) and yet another new release from my beloved Caroni. THIS is something that excites me. Bottled at cask strength and having spent a glorious 21 years in the barrel (Distilled 1998 and bottled 2019 - split between tropical and continental - heavy on the continental). 245 bottles made it out of this cask.

As I (and many others) have written many times about both the Duchess and Caroni, I won’t spend much time introducing this one. The Duchess is a Netherlands-based independent bottler who bottles single cask releases of some beautiful rums and releases them as they come out of the cask…

Caroni…this shouldn’t need much introduction. This Trinidad distillery went out of production in 2002 and people around the world have, in recent years, discovered what happens to this amazing juice after spending years in oak. The supply keeps going down. The prices keep going up…but my god are they tasty. Known for their heavy fusel oil component, these rums (often) offer a diesel/petroleum funk that is matched by no other.

Now on to what’s in my glass!

The nose - YES!!! WE HAVE CARONI!!! Spilled oil. Kerosine. Petrol. Rubber gum boots. It’s all there. Sitting together in a dusty cellar in a grandpa’s old dry basement. There is a fair amount of fruit going on as well. Apples. Pears. Plums. All slightly aged and browning. I also get candied notes thrown in there, as if it's a mix between bruised fruit cider and buttery caramel. Surprisingly, I also keep getting whiffs of a slightly green thing going on that reminds me a little bit of fresh mint. Smokey and sweet burnt fire wood. Ash. Pepper and a handful of almonds. The nose burns ever so slightly, although is not overly aggressive for the 64.1%. Promising…

On the palate - Caroni again!!! The rubber jumps out at me the most. Followed closely by the petrol and liquid cement. The wood character is strong. Slightly bitter. It starts off as if it's going to go sweet but it doesn’t. Not a lot of the vanilla/chocolate notes but instead old dank oak (I mean this in as pleasant a way as I can). Butterscotch. Chestnuts. Almonds. A nuttiness that is both creamy and and bitter. Orange peel. Dried roses (at first I thought I was wrong, but it keeps coming back to me). As with the nose, I get slight hints of smoke/burnt wood. Perhaps a pinch of salt…and to finish it off, a lingering taste of mint that for some reason puts the thought of root beer in my mind…(I am one who does like the taste of root beer).

The finish is very long. VERY VERY LONG. I will still be tasting this tomorrow. Exactly how a good Caroni should be. The body is medium-full. Extremely dry but oily mouthfeel. It’s hot but not too hot. It leaves my mouth warm and tingling.

I like this. I like this a lot. The nose was good, but the palate was even better.

Priced at around the €200 mark, it is where it should be. Perhaps even below where it could be considering where other 21% Caronis are these days.

A beautiful bottling yet again by the Duchess. Keep ‘em coming!

…next is to taste this next to their previous 20-year Caroni release….perhaps will make its way into another post. For now I want to put my feet up and enjoy this tot.

#Rumsymposium #Rumsymposiumamsterdam #RSA

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