Caroni rum
Photo: Caroni 1975 Ltd courtesy distilando.com

Where is Caroni rum today? A story of how an undervalued rum became liquid gold

Caroni 1975 Ltd, a beacon of Caribbean rum production, stands as a testament to Trinidad and Tobago’s rich heritage and unparalleled legacy. The Caroni rum was originally established as a sugar factory in 1918, Caroni embarked on a transformative journey, becoming a celebrated distillery in 1923.

The distillery’s crown jewel, its exceptional stock of rum, has garnered global acclaim, with the Caroni 1975 vintage emerging as a prized possession among rum connoisseurs.

85549 8 m.jpg2e22a 25 1

CARONI 100% TRINIDAD RUM OUVRAGE DE STEFFEN MAYER

The result of five years of full-time research, this extraordinary book chronicles the demise of the sugar cane industry and the story of the Caroni distillery in Trinidad from a variety of perspectives: that of the local population, of key employees, of Angostura – the last remaining distillery in Trinidad

€299.00/US$325.69

Distilled within the now-defunct Caroni Distillery, this exceptional rum encapsulates the spirit of a bygone era, preserving the essence of Trinidad’s sugar and rum industry.

Renowned for its distinctive flavour profile, the Caroni 1975 stock boasts robust notes of molasses, oak, and tropical fruits, solidifying its status as a connoisseur’s delight and a testament to the enduring craftsmanship of Caribbean rum production.

The Caroni distillery in Trinidad and Tobago was closed in 2003, leaving behind a vast inventory of aged rum. The fate of this rum was uncertain for several years, as the distillery’s assets were sold and disputes arose over the value of the spirit.

Caroni 2000 17 Year Old Cask

Caroni 2000 17 Year Old Cask

Single Traditional Column Still Rum,

Caroni’s cult reputation has bloomed since its closure in the early 2000s, having now achieved near-legendary status. With that in mind, we’re thrilled to present this full proof, heavy Trinidadian rum – exclusive to The Whisky Exchange. A truly incredible example of Caroni spirit, distilled in 2000 shortly before the distillery closed its doors for good and bottled at a colossal 70.4% ABV, we believe this is up there with the best the distillery ever produced.

£5000/US$6349.49

Initial sale of Caroni rum to Angostura

In 2001, the Trinidad and Tobago government, which owned the Caroni distillery, sold a 49% stake in the distillery to Angostura, a local rum producer. This deal included the transfer of the distillery’s rum stocks, which were estimated at around 18,000 ageing barrels.

Caroni’s Distillery sold to Angostura, Independent Newspaper, March 09, 2001, by Raffique Shah

End of an era, Trinidad and Tobago Guardian, July 31, 2003

Disputes over valuation

However, the sale was met with disputes over the valuation of the rum stocks. Angostura claimed that the rum was of lower quality and therefore worth less than the government had estimated. As a result, the deal fell through, and the Caroni distillery was closed for good in 2003.

rum car1998v10

Caroni 1998 Rum

Single Traditional Column Still Rum, 70cl / 58.2%

£600/US$761.94

Fuchs told Caroni that its 18,000-plus casks of rum of varying vintages, if converted into premium aged rums on a phased basis, could gross between TT $1 billion and $6 billion, depending on “intent of product”. CRYING OVER CARONI’S EVAPORATED AGED RUMS, Trinidad and Tobago News, by Raffique Shah, August 02, 2018

Acquisition by Velier

Despite the closure, the rum stocks remained in storage. In 2004, Luca Gargano, the CEO of the Italian rum distributor Velier, visited Trinidad and stumbled upon the warehouse containing the Caroni rum. Recognising the potential value of these aging stocks, Velier acquired a significant portion of the barrels.

Caroni BY VELIER

L53864NV 72517

CARONI 1998, 24 YEAR RESERVE RUM

70cl | 51.3% ABV | Trinidad and Tobago

A legendary rum from the famed ghost distillery! Caroni 1998 is bottled in true ‘Bristol form’ – unadulterated and pure showcasing a rum that’s a true expression of its origin and its vintage.

£695.95/US$883.79

Limited releases and rising demand

Since 2005, Velier has been releasing small batches of Caroni rum under its own label, gradually bringing this legendary rum back to the attention of connoisseurs worldwide. The limited availability and high quality of these releases have driven up demand and prices for the rum.

Other acquisitions and distribution

While Velier holds a significant portion of the Caroni rum stocks, other companies have also acquired smaller amounts. These include Maison du Whisky in France and Silver Seal in the United States. As a result, Caroni rum is now available in various markets around the world, albeit in limited quantities. Caroni rum under its own label, which quickly gained a cult following among rum enthusiasts.

Today, Caroni rum is considered to be one of the most sought-after and collectable rums in the world. Bottles of Caroni rum can sell for thousands of dollars, and the distillery’s legacy is still revered by rum lovers around the world.

CARONI 23 ANS 1994 GUYANA FULL PROOF ORANGE LABEL. ONE OF 600 BOTTLES

CARONI 23 ANS 1994 GUYANA FULL PROOF ORANGE LABEL. ONE OF 600 BOTTLES

59%, Rhum, Trinidad & Tobago / 70cL

QUANTITY LIMITED TO 1 BOTTLE PER CUSTOMER

With exceptional telluric power, this venerable 23-year- old is guaranteed to leave you lost for words! Caroni to the tip of its toes, it is a stunning example of just how well this unique rum ages. The hydrocarbon notes that continually gain in power are, to say the least, an incredible testament to this.

€5200.00/US$5664.10

Here is a more detailed timeline of what happened to the Caroni rum after the distillery closed:

  • 2002: The Caroni distillery is closed.
  • 2003: Angostura acquires the majority of the Caroni rum stock.
  • 2004: Velier acquires a significant portion of the Caroni rum stock.
  • 2005: Velier begins releasing small batches of Caroni rum under its own label.
  • Present day: Caroni rum is considered to be one of the most sought-after and collectible rums in the world.
CARONI 23 ANS 1994 GUYANA FULL PROOF ORANGE LABEL. ONE OF 600 BOTTLES

CARONI 1992 HEAVY TRINIDAD RUM “B&W OAX” ONE OF 16236 BOTTLES

55%, Rhum, Trinidad & Tobago

QUANTITY LIMITED TO 1 BOTTLE PER CUSTOMER

Luca Gargano story about his first visit to the distillery could have make anyone feel emotional. Back then the distillery was closed since 3 years, and the old master distiller was the one showing him around. This 1992 vintage is a testimony to this very special day. Fresh and floral with notes of banana, peach and cinnamon.

€3900.00/US$4248.07

What makes the rum highly sought after?

Caroni rum is highly sought after today for several reasons:

Unique flavour profile

Caroni rums are known for their bold, intense, and complex flavour profiles, characterised by notes of dark chocolate, coffee, dried fruit, and spice. This distinctive flavour is attributed to several factors, including the use of high-quality molasses, long ageing in oak barrels, and the influence of the tropical climate of Trinidad.

CARONI TRINIDAD 25 ANS 1996 DEODAT MANMOHAN EMPLOYEES 5TH REL. ONE OF 738 BOTTLES, 2021 EDITION

CARONI TRINIDAD 25 ANS 1996 DEODAT MANMOHAN EMPLOYEES 5TH REL. ONE OF 738 BOTTLES, 2021 EDITION

66,7%, Rhum, Trinidad & Tobago / 70cL

QUANTITY LIMITED TO 1 BOTTLE PER CUSTOMER

The Caroni Employees collection pays tribute to the former staff of Caroni, the legendary Caribbean distillery founded in 1918 and closed in 2002. The fifth version introduces three new Caroni protagonists. This version is named after Deodat ‘Breeze’ Manmohan, who worked at the Caroni distillery for 9 years.

€2950.00/US$3213.29

Limited availability

The Caroni distillery closed in 2002, and the remaining stocks of rum are finite. This limited availability has driven up demand and prices for Caroni rum, making it a coveted collectable among rum enthusiasts.

Rich history and reputation

Caroni rum has a rich history dating back to the early 1900s. The distillery quickly gained a reputation for producing high-quality rums, and its products were exported to markets around the world. In the 1970s, Caroni rum reached its peak popularity, becoming a sought-after spirit among rum aficionados.

CARONI TRINIDAD 25 ANS 1996 ROOPNARINE TOOLSIE EMPLOYEES 5TH REL. ONE OF 741 BOTTLES, 2021 EDITION

CARONI TRINIDAD 25 ANS 1996 ROOPNARINE TOOLSIE EMPLOYEES 5TH REL. ONE OF 741 BOTTLES, 2021 EDITION

66,1%, Rhum, Trinidad & Tobago / 70cL

QUANTITY LIMITED TO 1 BOTTLE PER CUSTOMER

The Caroni Employees collection pays tribute to the former staff of Caroni, the legendary Caribbean distillery founded in 1918 and closed in 2002. The fifth version introduces three new Caroni protagonists. This version is named after Roonarine Roop Toolsie, who worked at the Caroni distillery for six years. 

€2950.00/US$3213.29

Role of Velier

The Italian rum distributor Velier has played a crucial role in reviving the Caroni brand. Velier has acquired a significant portion of the remaining Caroni rum stocks and has been releasing limited batches of rum that have been met with critical acclaim. These releases have further fuelled the demand for Caroni rum.

Investment potential

Caroni rum is considered an investment item due to its limited availability and increasing demand. Collectors are willing to pay high prices for rare and well-aged Caroni rums, anticipating that their value will appreciate over time.

60294 12 m.jpgad733 26 1

ADRIATICO CARONI RUM CASK AGED

28%, Autres Liqueurs, Italy / 70cL

Adriatico’s Amaretto liqueur is made from 100% natural Italian ingredients, in particular almonds from Puglia. For this limited edition, Adriatico took the bold step of aging its liqueur for 12 months in Caroni rum barrels, with the help of Luca Gargano, a great rum collector, who offered three Caroni barrels. The combination of Adriatico with the aromatic profile of this extreme rum offers an intense experience.
Special edition limited to 1,500 individually numbered bottles worldwide.

€62.00/US$67.53

Symbol of luxury and craftsmanship

Caroni rum is associated with luxury, craftsmanship, and a legacy of excellence. Owning and enjoying a bottle of Caroni rum is seen as a mark of connoisseurship and appreciation for fine spirits.

The growing popularity of rum

The popularity of rum has been on the rise in recent years, and Caroni rum is at the forefront of this trend. Rum drinkers are increasingly seeking out high-quality, artisanal spirits, and Caroni rum fits perfectly into this category.

CARONI 2000 MILLENNIUM LIMITED TO 1420 MAGNUM. BOT 2015

CARONI 2000 MILLENNIUM LIMITED TO 1420 MAGNUM. BOT 2015

60%, Rhum, Trinidad & Tobago / 1.5L

QUANTITY LIMITED TO 1 BOTTLE PER CUSTOMER

A blend of 12 casks, this bottling is a reminder that the distillery ceased production in 2000. Whether woody, tarry, generously fruity, heavily spiced, extremely floral or a combination of all of these characteristics, every cask has helped design and enrich the aromatic and gustatory palette of this Caroni, which is of course named “Millennium”. The perfect time to paraphrase the three musketeers: “One for all and all for one.”

€2500.00/US$2723.13

Conclusion

With the doors of the Caroni Distillery closed, the remaining rum stock becomes a rare and cherished treasure, inviting aficionados to relish a taste of the past and celebrate the enduring spirit of Caribbean rum mastery. The Caroni 1975, a beacon of Trinidad’s rum-making heritage, stands as a testament to the enduring power of tradition and craftsmanship.

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plantation trinidad 2009 rum

Plantation Trinidad 2009

 (70cl, 51.8%)

Plantation Trinidad 2009 Bottling Note

A 2009 vintage rum from Trinidad, released as part of the Plantation range. This expression spent 11 years maturing in Trinidad, before making its way over to France for a final year of maturation in Maison Ferrand barrels. Intensely flavoursome, perfect for sipping neat and slowly enjoying.

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