Caroni 20 Year Old That Boutique-y Rum Company Batch #1
The Caroni distillery is said to have been established in 1918, however there are several historical references that suggest distilling was happening there earlier in the 20th century.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, the island’s remaining rum producers became increasingly dependent upon imported molasses, making distilling less economical. Tate & Lyle sold a 51% controlling stake to the Trinidadian government in 1970, before it became fully nationalised in 1975. Despite being self-sufficient in molasses, the newly established Caroni 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.
Distilled in 1998 on the Caroni column still, this was bottled as a 20 year old by That Boutique-y Rum Company, sister brand to the Whisky and Gin bottlers of the same nomenclature, famed for their irreverent graphic novel style labels.