Velier Caroni No Smoking Aged 16 Years (55% ABV)

Velier Caroni No Smoking 16 Years rum review by the fat rum pirateVelier Caroni No Smoking? After their Demerara rums (RIP) Velier Spa are best known in the rum world for their range of rum from the Caroni Distillery in Trinidad.  The Caroni Distillery closed for the final time circa 2002/3.

As in the whisky world with Port Ellen rums it seems that the pull of a “Lost Distillery” is difficult to resist.  Velier Caroni rum has become some of the most sought after and prized distillate in the Rum World.  Which is strange because if you speak with Richard Seale of Foursquare he will tell you their distinctive flavour is based on “bad distillation”.

When the Caroni Distillery closed they had a lot of rum ageing in warehouses.  The rum was auctioned off.  It is my understanding that Luca Gargano of Velier bought the largest number of casks.  Thus giving himself the largest inventory of Caroni rum in the world.  Whether this is 100% correct I am not sure because it seems highly likely one of the big brokers such as E A Scheer must have stocks of Caroni as Independent bottlers all over Europe are still releasing Caroni rum.  Many of these bottlers simply weren’t around at the time of these auctions.

Velier bottlings such as this are also collectable due to their artwork.  Vintage photographs of the distillery have been used (like this No Smoking sign).  Pictures of workers cutting sugar cane etc have become iconic giving the bottlings and even bigger kudos for the collector.  This bottling is rather minimilist in that respect.

This rum was distilled in 1998 so it is likely also to have been made using Trinidad molasses (last used in 2000).  It is denoted a “Heavy” rum.  Caroni rum towards the end of its life cycle was produced on column stills.  These stills were able to produce both heavy and light rums.  In the case of Caroni take “light” with a pinch of salt.

As mentioned already Velier have released a lot of Caroni rums.  Often releasing very similar looking rums at differing ABV’s.  The one I am reviewiVelier Caroni No Smoking 16 Years rum review by the fat rum pirateng today has been bottled at 55% ABV.

Of this rum 3850 bottles were produced.  Suggesting it is a blend of rums rather than a single cask.  A lot of the Velier bottlings are blends.  The rum has been tropically aged in Trinidad for 16 years before being bottled in 2014.

When released back in 2014 the rum retailed at over £100 per bottle.  Pretty standard pricing for a Velier bottling.  People do often complain that they are expensive.  These people tend not to have tried many or indeed any Velier rums.  They do very often knock continental aged bottlings out of the ball park.

I’ve been lucky enough to have tried a number of the 2014 Velier releases – I even own a couple of still unopened bottles.  (I have tried the liquid inside before though).  Having said that I do feel I was relatively late to the party.

Luckily I am very much aware of the Habitation Velier releases and have been able to enjoy those over the past year or so.

Anyway enough waffling lets see how this Caroni compares to the others I have reviewed.

First up in the glass this is a dark rum with a reddish almost orangey, brown hue.  It certainly looks the part.

On the nose I am immediately aware of the familiar tar and tobacco almost petrol like notes of a Caroni.  Nail Varnish and Shoe Polish and other not to pleasant sounding smells (Sounding smells??). Fortunately for this particular bottle it is rescued by some fruity notes of raisin, red grape and a touch of clove which adds a sweeter profile.  Its not badly balanced at all.  Though it is as the label suggests still pretty “Heavy” stuff.  Further nosing reveals an almost floral sweetness.

This Velier Caroni No Smoking is very sippable at the more approachable 55% ABV – you still may need to add a drop or two of water depending on your palate.  It is rich and full blooded with plenty of what I like to call “menace”.  A proper pirate drink if you like.

It is reasonably dry and pretty smoky with a lot of spiciness on the palate.  Their is an initial sweetness which kind of moves into a cough mixture type of area.  Fruity yet medicinal at the same time. There is quite a lot of bitterness which may not appeal to everyone.  I suspect however a Caroni lover will enjoy every second of this.

Once the initial sweetness dissipates you are left with a pretty fiery, very smoky and spicy tot.

The finish is long and very warming.  Its intense all the way through this one.  It has an almost chilli kick to the finish.  In fact I lie it does have a fiery chilli like kick.

All in all its another one to chalk off to the Caroni lovers.  Of which there are many fans.  If you don’t like this style of rum then you may find it all a bit too intense, a bit smoky and the tar/tobacco/petrol notes may just be too much.

For me I felt it had just enough fruitiness to keep it interesting and enjoyable throughout.  If you can find a bottle at a reasonable price then go for it.  This is more than a decent example of Caroni rum without doubt.

This might be Velier Caroni No Smoking but I definitely wouldn’t recommoend Velier Caroni No Drinking!

 

 

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