Kill Devil Trinidad Caroni Distillery Aged 20 Years 64.8% ABV The Whisky Barrel Exclusive

Kill Devil Trinidad Caroni Distillery Aged 20 Years 64.8% ABV The Whisky Barrel ExclusiveKill Devil Trinidad Caroni Distillery Aged 20 Years 64.8% ABV The Whisky Barrel Exclusive. Apologies for the not so snappy title. I always try and provide sufficient information, particularly when dealing with Independent bottlings. This is in the hope a web search will turn up the result you are looking for. I’ve included the ABV in the title because The Whisky Barrel has two Caroni 20 Year Olds from Kill Devil that have just been released. They hail from two different casks but were distilled and bottled at approximately the same time.

There are a number of Caroni bottlings on the market at present. Concerns that stocks would have run low by now, seem a bit ahead of themselves. There seems no shortage of Independently bottled Caroni, appearing on the market.

This particular Caroni bottling, was distilled way back in December 1998, so it will have been produced using Trinidad molasses. Some of the later Caroni bottlings used imported molasses, as sugar production on the island decreased as plantations closed. It is from a single cask which yielded 214 bottles. Hunter Laing (who are behind Kill Devil) have bottled it at Cask Strength of 64.8% ABV. It was produced on a Column still.

As noted in the title this release is restricted to The Whisky Barrel. The listing can be found here. As you can see it retails at £149.95 for a 70cl bottle. In today’s market this is a fair price for a 20-year-old Caroni. Clearly its price means it will be bought by 214 rum enthusiasts (and probably a few flippers).

Presentation wise, it comes in the usual opaque Kill Devil bottling, with a solid cardboard Kill Devil Trinidad Caroni Distillery Aged 20 Years 64.8% ABV The Whisky Barrel Exclusivetube to store the rum in. The Cask Strength Kill Devil releases, all have purple and gold presentation. The cork seals are particularly “blingy” being a striking gold colour. The presentation also notes the rum is Single Cask and Cask Strength.

Hunter Laing have done remarkably well with their Kill Devil range of bottlings, over the past few years. They have released a great number of different rums. These rums, from Jamaica in particular have been impressive. I have previously reviewed a Kill Devil Trinidad bottling, a 13 Year Old. However, I concluded that it was from Angostura rather than Caroni. And it wasn’t all that great. Could Angostura be the most boring rum distillery? They are definitely in the running.

Anyway enough chatter let’s get down to a tasting and see if this is a rum Caroni hunters need to seek out.

In the glass, Kill Devil Trinidad Caroni Distillery Aged 20 Years is an inviting dark brown with an orange tinge to the edges. On the nose, there are familiar tarry and smoky notes, common with Caroni’s heavy style of rum. Nice notes of spicy aged oak give the tar and smoke a delicate spiciness, which is very pleasant. Despite the fact the rum will have been predominantly aged in Europe, it is quite rich. Reminiscent of a tropically aged Caroni

Wafts of fruity raisins and Christmas cake make an appearance, which also help balance out the more “extreme” sounding notes. This is a warming style of rum. Very navy like. Whilst I think I would pick it out as a Caroni rum, by the petrol and oily notes – I wouldn’t have been surprised to be told this was a blend, containing rums from other islands. It really does have a nice balance on the nose. Overall balance sometimes goes a bit skee-wiff with Caroni.

Sipping this Caroni at full strength, is a very rich warming experience. Deep fruity notes of plum, dates and sweetened raisins mingle alongside smokier notes of charcoal and some more oily, petrol like notes. A bit of creosote creeps in but is not dominant and rubs along nicely with the fruitier notes.

The mid palate is also very pleasant with a lot of spicy oak and some slightly bitter tannins. Ginger and bitter toffee treacle but in an appearance.

This rum is drinkable at the full ABV but some may favour a drop or two of water. Not too much though, as the beauty of a good Caroni rum is the slightly edge the less pleasant-sounding notes give. “Menace” as I have called it in the past. This is rum to put hairs on your chest.Kill Devil Trinidad Caroni Distillery Aged 20 Years 64.8% ABV The Whisky Barrel Exclusive

Finish wise you get a lot of the petrol and oily notes. It’s quite spicy and has a fair amount of heat (especially at full proof). As it fades out the fruitier notes again reappear – raisins, plums and a slight hint of pineapple.

I’ll be looking forward to trying the sister cask of this rum, as this is a really good example of a fruitier, more balanced Caroni rum. It’s still got all the menace it’s just got a bit extra fruity complexity to help balance it out a little

Really top stuff.



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3 comments on “Kill Devil Trinidad Caroni Distillery Aged 20 Years 64.8% ABV The Whisky Barrel Exclusive

  1. I love my Caroni but I’ve been hanging back on these two bottles. It’s a fair price but still pretty expensive. I did buy the Boutiquey Rum Caroni 20 for the same money but smaller bottle. I was able to get a sample of that first though. Serge reviewed the two Kill Devils today and gave them very good but not outstanding marks. 86 for this one and 84 for the other. The price/quality issue of Caroni is becoming problematic. Any release of Caroni is going to be old and, therefore, expensive. The prices will continue to go up but is the rum in the bottle getting any better? I’m not sure that it is. The excellent cask strength Habitation Vellier releases cost about £100 a bottle, mostly quite young but more than likely superb in my experience.The Kill Devil Hampden is a lot cheaper than the Caroni and I’ll wager it’s just as good. My point is there is a lot of excellent rum out there much cheaper than Caroni. However, Caroni has a unique style in the rum world and the wider spirits world. It is a real tragedy that they closed. I just opened a bottle of the Ancient Mariner Caroni 16 from a couple of years back and it is very, very, good. I’ll probably get the Kill Devil because it’s not going to be long before Caroni will become prohibitively expensive.

    • So all that waffle to say you’ll buy a bottle……….

      • Sorry mate. You persuaded me. Thanks

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