Review: Caroni 2000 High Proof Trinidad Rum by Jason Hambrey

17 Years; Matured in Trinidad
From molasses
Distiller Caroni (Trinidad)

Caroni is a legendary rum distillery which shut down in 2002 after the shut down of the sugar refinery which the distillery used as an ingredient source. It was noted for its heavy rum which supplied the British navy, but now it's known for a strong, unique and exceedingly complex rum. This rum was bottled from 7 casks which yielded 2700 bottles - over the 17 years there was an evaporation loss of 80%. But, what remains - remarkable rum.

Review (2018)

  • Batch: N/A

  • Bottling Code: B35L6

  • Bottling Date: 2017

What a fascinating nose. I’m not that exposed to premium and boutique rums, only having explored the largely mass produced and commercial rums. This is exactly what I have been looking for in exploring connoisseur rums – extremely unique. Warm rubber, tar, iodine, black pepper, clove, peat (not peat smoke, but rather peat bogs), dust, orange peel, dried orange, dried apricot, prune, bamboo, tamari – absolutely fascinating. Things become clearer with water, but it’s remarkable how much complexity is maintained at the higher ABV levels.

The palate continues with the medicinal and rubber notes, along with all the spice and citrus – but adding some cacao nibs and vanilla cream. I love the effect – it starts out big, dips down for a second or two, and then the flavor starts to grow and grow – sort of like a „U” in terms of the impact of flavor. The finish is full of almost every note in the nose – fabulous, rich, and enduring – but has maybe even more, with the vanilla cream, cacao, and some milk chocolate and oak coming in as well. Ubelieveable – in my top echelon of spirits.

Assessment: Exceptional. One of the best spirits I’ve ever tasted (inclusive of whisky!).

Value: Low (this goes for around $250 US) – but if you want to spend the money, I would!

Review: Smith and Cross Pure Pot Still Traditional Jamaican Rum by Jason Hambrey

From molasses
Distiller Hampden Estate (Wakefield, Jamaica)

I had this rum in a bar in the US and promptly bought a bottle. I've never had high proof rum, and, like bourbon, the sweetness of the spirit balances the powerful flavor of the high proof. It is a brilliant mixer, indeed, it is one of the most revered rums in bartending (subbing it out for gin in a negroni will blow your mind). It is made from Jamaican rums with a mix of two types of rum distillates - Plummer and Wedderburn (defined by the amount of esters in the final spirit) and it is fairly young (<3 years).

Review (2017)

  • Batch: N/A

  • Bottling Code: N/A

  • Bottling Date: ~2016

A spicy, medicinal, waxy nose that I love. Molasses, anise, dried blueberry, oak, pencil shavings, candle wax, cinnamon, brown bread...a gorgeous nose. The palate starts with medicinal notes, then merges to dried cranberry and very gently to pumperknickel bread, fancy molasses, candied orange, oak and baking spices. The finish carries the medicinal notes, the oak, and the brown bread and molasses notes to perfection. Oak, and oxidized notes (like vermouth or sherry) on the finish. Balanced, interesting, well delivered, so flavourful, and so rummy. An incredible rum!

The sweetness balances the proof so well – it is a new side of rum to me. This is a bomb in cocktails, I can’t even express that enough. If you mix it in for gin in a negroni, you get a wow cocktail – and there are few of those. Seriously, try it. I bought a bottle in the US just to use in negronis...

Assessment: Highly recommended.

Value: Very high. This often goes for around 30$ usd, and for a very nice nearly cask strength rum!