Caroni 1998 SMWS 22 Year Old R13.3
'Havana, Madagascar and Tahiti'
The Scotch Malt Whisky Society (SMWS) was founded in 1983 by a group of friends lead by tax accountant Phillip ‘Pip’ Hills as a private members club. The concept behind the society was to source casks from all over Scotland which would then be bottled and made available exclusively to its members. Perhaps the most famous feature of these bottles are the unique codes. Each distillery is represented by a different number and the following digits indicate that particular release. That same year, the SMWS set up its first location in Leith’s Vault buildings in Edinburgh where it still stands today.
Despite their name, The Scotch Malt Whisky Society do more than just Scotch malt whisky.
The Caroni distillery is said to have been established in 1918, however there are several historical references that suggest distilling was happening there earlier in the 20th century. It became part of the Tate & Lyle firm in 1936, who used it as a base for expanding their eventually considerable sugar operations in Trinidad. Caroni was a key ingredient of the British Navy rations, where its famous high-ester 'Heavy' rums helped to make up the signature flavour. Sadly, with the decline of the Trinidadian sugar industry, Tate & Lyle sold a 51% controlling stake to the government in 1970, before it became fully nationalised in 1975. Despite being self-sufficient in molasses, the newly established Caroni (1975) Ltd continued to lose money for the next 25 years until the government tried to minimise its ownership, selling off 49% of its share, just enough to retain control. Angostura were the preferred bidders, but a dispute over the value of Caroni’s warehoused stock scuppered the deal, and Caroni was closed for good in 2003.
In the end, Angostura still acquired the majority of the circa 18,000 warehoused Caroni barrels for blending. These remained in Trinidad, as did a large batch of casks later acquired by Velier's Luca Gargano in 2004. A great number of casks also found their way over to Europe as well though, imported by Bristol Spirits and the Main Rum Company, resulting in a proliferating number of sought after continentally aged releases from independent bottlers like this over the years.
This was drawn from a first fill ex-bourbon barrel in 2020.
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Please note: Due to the various ages of bottles and their seals, condition of liquid is at the buyer's discretion and no claim can be lodged against failure/leakage in transit.