Nostalgia is a powerful thing. As are the emotions associated with the feeling that something is about to be lost forever. Caroni rum is probably affected by both. Since 2002, Caroni is no longer produced, so the bottles being consumed now brings us ever closer to the day when the last drop of Caroni rum will be gone. Granted, given independent bottlers, creative blending and the interaction of price, demand and limited supply, that day is probably still a good few years away…
Caroni was the state distillery of Trinidad and used local sugarcane from the state-owned refinery. It started operations in 1918 and produced rum sometimes marketed under the Caroni label, but more often sold to other rum brands. The government sold a majority share of Caroni to Angostura (Trinidad’s main rum producer today) in 2001, and in 2002 the Caroni distillery shut down. The sugar production on Trinidad has all but ended. That means that Angostura these days must import molasses from, among other places, the Dominican Republic.
After the closure of Caroni, its stock was bought up and has since been bottled and sold by several independent bottlers. It’s getting more expensive by the year, but it’s still available from the likes of Velier and Bristol.
The taste of Caroni is no gentle beast. It’s aggressive, it’s big and in my humble view it’s quite good!