Caroni 1997 Berry Brothers and Rudd 20 Year Old / Whisk-E
The Caroni distillery is said to have been established in 1918, however there are several historical references that suggest distilling was happening there earlier in the 20th century.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.
As it transpired, Angostura still acquired the majority of the circa 18,000 warehoused Caroni barrels. 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 the Main Rum Company and resulting in a proliferating number of sought after continentally aged releases from independent bottlers like this over the years.
This is a 20 year old from Berry Brothers & Rudd, specially selected for Whisk-E Ltd in Japan.
Berry Brothers and Rudd is a firm steeped in history. They were established in the late 17th century, and received a Royal Warrant from King Edward VII in 1903. The company has been bottling single malt whisky from almost as early as that, and produced their first ever blend, Cutty Sark, in 1923.