Bristol Spirits Caroni 10 VSOC

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It’s been a while since I’ve reviewed a rum. I’ve been slowly building up a modest selections of good ones and this is one I’ve been enjoying a lot. It’s from the Caroni distillery in Trinidad. Caroni in of itself is quite interesting, and this bottling more so. It was never widely appreciated while operating and shut down in the early 2000’s, all of the stock being bought up by a small number of individuals.

Now that more and more people are coming over to rum from whisky they’re bringing a well developed palate and there is more demand for rums that are complex, interesting and well matured, everything Caroni is, over the mass produced sweetened rums. So Caroni is now very sought after.

This particular bottling is interesting because it’s made up of some much older casks, sort of. The story goes that some casks were shipped over from the distillery to Bristol Spirits in 2008, and had already been aged 10 years in Trinidad and diluted down to 40% for bottling. This bottling never happened and Bristol were apparently using this stock for blending. They decided to use the last of it in this bottling, mixing in some 1993 Caroni stock to bring the ABV up to 40% as over time some of these casks had dropped to below 40%. They opted with a 10 year age statement as stating the age of the original casks after dilution is kind of iffy, and attached the VSOC (Very Special Old Cask?) label to it.

Aged 10 years. 40% ABV. No colourant added and non-chill filtered.

Nose: Pencil erasers. Diesel. Sultanas. Wintergreen. Stewed apples. Molasses. Simple syrup. Seville oranges. Wet oak chips.

Palate: A little watery but not bad. Very rich, oily flavour. Motor oil. Raw rubber. Wood oils. Dry fruit peels. Wood tannins. Dark maple syrup.

Finish: Medium. Dry wood. Molasses. Dark maple. Acacia sap. Slightly herbal. A little liquorice.

Would I buy this: Yes

Would I order this in a bar: Yes

Would I drink this if someone gave me a glass: Yes

VFM: 4/5

This really has all the Caroni hallmarks, albeit a little sweeter on the palate than usual. I picked up a few things I would usually associate with an older spirit, but not really mature overall. This really is a fantastic rum and the price given the increased interest in Caroni is fantastic as well.

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