Another Independent bottling and another rum from Bristol Classic Rum. Bristol’s Caribbean Collection is actually a blend of Trini only rums. As you can see from the bottle shot to the right.
This is Bristol’s “entry level” rum and it doesn’t come in the usual Bristol stubby style bottle instead it comes in a taller, thinner bar/wine style bottle. You do however still get the full real cork stopper.
A bottle of this rum will set you back around £30. It is bottled at an ABV of 40%. It is now in quite short supply and the information below will help explain why you won’t be seeing much more of this rum.
Having spoken with John Barrett from Bristol Classic, I have learned that the contents of the Caribbean Collection bottling are actually young Caroni rums. Interestingly made from some of the last Trini molasses – another nice touch.
“Young Caroni rums?” I hear you say “Didn’t the distillery close in early 2000’s?” Well yes it did but they didn’t cask all their rum reserves. Some of the reserves were merely vatted so rather than age they were effectively left as is. Until Mr Barrett bought some of the stock and transferred it to the UK. The rums have had some ageing in the UK but they remain a relatively “young” blend. A similar thing was done with The Scarlet Ibis rum. Without giving to much away I would say this is a lighter blend than the Ibis.
From what I can gather the rum is all column distilled, as Caroni didn’t produce any rum from their pot still for years prior to eventually closing.
On the bottle John advises to enjoy this with your favourite mixer, over ice or mixed in a classic cocktail. Not wanting to disappoint John, I think that’s what we will do right now. Though maybe in a slightly different order.
In the glass the Caribbean Collection is a nice honest gold/straw colour. On the nose the first thing you notice is the sweetness. Quite unlike most Caroni’s it has a lovely sweet nose. It is reminiscent of a Bajan rum. There is quite a lot of vanilla and some sweet alcohol notes. There is a nice fruity balance to it and its quite flowery. All in all very inviting, if slightly to easy going.
I didn’t hold out for much sipping wise (mainly due to the way it was bottled/described). I’m pleasantly surprised though. It’s very light and well balanced. It is really easy to drink. I’m not getting a great deal of alcohol burn just a nice pleasant oaky finish.
In terms of complexity and writing a raft of tasting notes its a little more difficult to describe this. It tastes like rum. I am tasting a true uncomplicated unfussy spirit. It has a youthful sweetness, yet the lack of burn and the overall balance contradict that. I suppose predominantly it tastes of sweet vanilla, a little chocolate and quite a lot of zesty spicy American oak giving it a bourbon-esque feel. It is reminiscent of an unadultered Angostura rum in some respects.
It also reminds me very much of the lighter styles such as Bajan and the Don Q rums from Puerto Rico. My experience of young Trini rums is very much based on the likes of Plantation Dark and UK Supermarket rubbish. Only The Scarlet Ibis has made much of an impact. This is much less punchy and more like Angostura 5 Year old – though I feel quite a bit better.
As suggested it works very well as a mixer and despite its lack of punch it adds a nice oaky profile to mixed drinks. It definitely gives a good classic rum hit.
As long as you don’t expect a big heavy Caroni and you enjoy lighter more “classic” styles of Caribbean rum I don’t think you will feel at all cheated if you pick up a bottle of this.
This is a rum which I have seen little wrote about. As a result even though the stocks are low you should still be able to find a bottle or two lurking on the internet.