Caroni 1999 Single Barrel Rum

Caroni 1999 bottle

Here´s another Caroni, also a single barrel rum, this one is 14 year old. It`s not as heavy as the last one but does have some punch with it´s 61% ABV. I find it fruity and pleasant.

Caroni Sugar Factory

There were originally more than 50 different rums brands produced in Trinidad – by 1950 that number had reduced to 8 and today there is only one left – Angostura. Caroni was established in 1918 on the site of the old Caroni Sugar factory and operated until 2002.

The Caroni sugar factory started to operate a cast iron still in 1918 and at that time there were some eight or ten other sugar factories operating, each producing different types of rums and these rums were bought up by merchants and sold to rum shops all over the island. There were all kinds of “blends” and concoctions being made by both the merchants and the rum shop owners and sold over the counter as “petit quarts”

Eventually Caroni increased the quality of the distilling process and went from the original cast iron still to use a wooden coffey still – until 1945 when they got a copper still which was followed by a single column in 1957 and then a four column Gerb Herman still in 1980.

For nearly 100 years Caroni has had large sugar estates on the island and was the major producer of molasses. Sadly now since it`s closed no more of their magnificient rums are produced and when it´s gone it´s gone.

And that is sad because the Caroni rums are unique. That said i must confess i haven`t yet tried many but the ones i`ve tried have all been outstanding and original in the same way as the demerara rums are.

And i must say the flavor of the so called “heavy” Caronis DOES remind me quite a bit of a demerara rum, it has the same full bodied character but without that demerara flavor that only demerara rums have but it has the same type of character despite of being a totally different rum.

Caroni 1999 Single Barrel

I wouldn`t call this one “heavy” though despite the strength because it has a very fruity character but neither would i call it “light”

Nose – The color is amber, like that of mashed mature banana and on the nose it´s fruity with hints of banana, apricot, papaya, orange peel and sugarcane.

Mouth – In the mouth undiluted i get wood, burnt molasses, tropical fruits (same as the nose) it´s smooth to sip despite it´s strength and it has a very warm feeling. It´s not heavy, it´s fruity and complex with an array of tropical fruit notes.

A lively and happy rum!

Adding a few drops of water to the glass brings out more fruitness and makes it taste sweeter while still having a punch. It´s easy to sip this rum!

I decided to make a daiquiri…and i was actually surprised…

This rum makes such a flavorful daiquiri that it´s ridiculous! i expected a good one but not THAT good, oh my…

I made it a little bit different and maybe it was the mix of lime juices also that helped this drink become something out of the ordinary daiquiri-wise…?

But it wouldn`t been that good without this premium rum that`s for sure! i could go and buy a bottle just to make daiquiris with it…

Sugarcane Daiquiri

Sugarcane daiquiri

1.5 oz Caroni – 99 Single Barrel Rum

0.5 oz Petit Canne sugarcane syrup

0.25 oz fresh lime juice

0.25 oz fresh lemon juice

0.25 oz key lime juice

Glass – Libbey SPKSY

Shake with ice and strain into a chilled cocktail glass, rimmed with demerara sugar.

I can recommend anyone who likes strong rum with good flavor to buy this Caroni – 99 single barrel rum.

Outside of Sweden it can be purchased online on the Master of Malt website.

Lost Spirits Navy Style Rum

LOST SPIRITS RUM NAVY BOTTLE3

Out of the ordinary…

I`m very happy to share my impressions of yet another rum…but this one is a bit different…

Lost Spirits Distillery owners Bryan Davis and Joanne Harut of Monterey County are known for their award-winning single malt whiskies, especially their ultra-peated American single malt craft whiskey Leviathan – and now they have come up with this rum and another one (called Polynesian Inspired, review will soon follow)

They have a lot of passion paired with a scientific approach in the making of spirits and they are – to quote Camper English over at the Alcademics – ” Lost Spirits Distillery are doing some crazy shiz” – And now they have managed to concentrate all the flavors in these rums….and for those who are interested in knowing how it`s made – I send you over to this page, called “Rum Super Geekdom”

Lost Spirits Navy Style Rum is a 68% cask strength high ester rum, distilled in Bryan`s copper pot still and made from fermented grade A baking molasses and evaporate sugar cane juice, and what they call wild bacteria banana dunder, aged in oloroso sherry seasoned virgin american oak – here is their description:

“NAVY STYLE 68%”

RUM

GRADE A MOLASSES

WILD BACTERIA BANANA DUNDER

OLOROSO SHERRY SEASONED VIRGIN AMERICAN OAK

PHOTOCATALYTICALLY “CHARRED” NEW AMERICAN OAK SLABS

Note that it says “Navy style” and not “Navy strength” as navy strength is no more than 57% abv, the reason for this, was that gunpowder would still explode if alcohol at this strength was accidentally spilt on it. Over that strength is overproof.

The bottle is nothing but a work of art and it looks old yet new…sort of and I don`t think I ever seen the statements “Does not contain coloring additives” and “Does not contain flavoring additives” written out like that on a rum bottle before.

I was a bit mystified about this rum from when I first heard of it.

Lost Spirits Navy Rum Labels

This is a high ester rum (esters = the aromas of fruits, flowers, and spices) are made from chemically bonding alcohols to acidsand part of creating all the esters are what is usually called “dunder”or “muck”

A quote from the page explaining what dunder is:

Dunder is a mysterious substance added to the fermentation in high ester rum production.  Dunder is sometimes made from overripe fruits, rotten fruits, and sometimes a special soup of decomposing bats, and waste from the last distillation. 

Dunder is made in pits or caldrons and is sometimes ripened for up to a year before use.  Though it may sound like voodoo there is actually a good reason for this substance.  When the fruit, molasses waste, or bats undergo bacterial fermentation the bacteria produce carboxylic acids as a byproduct.  These acids are responsible for the “rotting smell” but remember we are going to chemically bond them to acids later to make esters.  The final esters will smell and taste completely different from the acids they are made from. 

A carefully made “dunder” can yield more carboxylic acid than many years in a barrel.  In my case this means overripe bananas which are a component of the yeast starter.   

The rum doesn`t have any caramel coloring, yet it´s very dark, like coke, the rum doesn`t contain any flavor additives yet it´s very flavorful. To start with, the nose, to me what you get is a funky punch of wood and citrus peels of grapefruit and lemons, something dark…and a hint of vanilla that softens and binds it all together.

First sip is strong…and no wonder, this is an overproof beast of 136 proof or 68% abv. (alcohol by volume) and the mouthfeel is a just a little bit viscous.

There´s some heavy funky wood notes and some caramel, followed by tropical fruit. For tiki drinks it´s thumbs up all the way to tiki nirvana…this is definitely a rum that can stand up and complement all those mixers and juices tiki drinks usually contains. Also it will surely make great bold rum cocktails of any kind.There`s a lot of punch, funk and flavor, it`s a robust rum, on the dry side. 

It`s sometimes bordering to a bit harsh so I would recommend it for cocktails rather than sipping. Is it just me, or do I see a steady trend towards more flavorful pot-still type of rums well suited for tiki drinks and stronger rum drinks ? 

And if you want to take a virtual tour of the distillery you can do it here.

Now on to the drinks, let´s make a few…

The other day I discovered a thread at the Tiki Central containing a recipe from a long lost book called “Introducing original Polynesian tropical bar recipes … Mai Tai, Navy Grog … and many more” from Dick Moano – containing a recipe for a drink called Wally`s Kanaka Punch.

It´s not a complicated drink and seemed well suited to try this rum with so I gave it a shot, but changed it a bit adding a little vanilla syrup and a vanilla bean and mini pineapple garnish:

Wally`s Kanaka Punch – Lost Spirits Navy Style

Wallys Kanaka Punch inst

3 oz pineapple juice

1 oz fresh lemon juice

0.5 oz triple sec

0.25 oz vanilla syrup

2 oz Lost Spirits Navy Style Rum

2 dash (home made) Grenadine

Glass: Libbey Carats

Shake with cracked ice and strain into a double old fashioned glass with fresh cracked ice.

Garnish with a quartered mini-pineapple and vanilla bean.

The drink is fruity and blends well with this rum which have both woody and fruity flavors, is strong and spicing it up, giving the drink a kick.

The next drink I tried was the daiquiri, I suspected it´d be a spicy one and it was, very strong, woody and spicy. Not 100% balanced because the strong flavors took over a bit but for those who like it strong, like I do, go for it.

Navy Daiquiri

Navy Daiquiri

2 oz Lost Spirits Navy Style Rum

0.75 oz fresh lime juice

0.5 oz sugarcane syrup

Glass: Libbey Fiesta Grande

Shake with ice and strain into a chilled cocktail coupe.

You find Lost Spirits website here. For those who are going to the Miami Rumfest on april 25-27 – there will be a seminar on this rum, ” Bryan Davis on making Lost Spirits Navy Style Rum” – where you get a chance to taste it and learn directly from Bryan how it is made.

LOST SPIRITS RUM NAVY BOTTLE

Denizen Merchant`s Reserve Rum

Denizen Merchants Reserve Rum

The first time encountered Denizen rum i was very pleased with it`s flavor, it was their white rum i tried and reviewed. Denizen rums are blends of rum from the Caribbean selected by master blenders in Amsterdam who have been handcrafting small-batch Caribbean style rums dating back to the early 1700s, when the Netherlands colonized much of the Caribbean.

Now Citizen Spirits have followed up with an aged rum that is a blend of aged plummer style pot still rum from Jamaica and also are component of Rhum Grande Arome from the Le Galion S.A.E.M distillery in Martinique.

60% of this rum has been aged 8 years in small used American oak bourbon barrels.  The Jamaican rums used in this blend come from Worthy Park, Hampden, New Yarmouth, and Clarendon. Most of the aged rum comes from Worthy Park Distillery.

The rums used in the blend were fermented using slow working yeasts in order to extend the fermentation time and allow the high ester flavor compounds to fully develop – a very important step in the rum making process.

One of the reasons they chosed to include the molasses based rhum grande arome in the blend and not the more traditional rhum agricole from Martinique is because when they checked in with rum cocktail historians during the development process – they were told that Trader Vic likely blended this type of rum from Martinique with the 17 year Wray and Nephew in his original Mai Tai formula because it was cheapest rum available from Martinique at the time.

Having learned this, they tried to come up with a historically accurate classic amber rum that is unapologetically funky and would have made Trader Vic proud. The fact that it has been aged 8 years also makes it a fine sipping rum despite it being slightly higher proof at 43% ABV.

Denizen Merchant’s Reserve should be available in the US early April. Citizen Spirits will launch it in New York City and San Francisco initially and then expand to additional markets.

So i go straight to the Mai Tai eh?

This is a rum which obviously is partly designed for making great Mai Tais but of course not only – but also to be sipped neat and make other cocktails with – and flavorless cocktails you won`t get with it.

What a shame i haven`t had any chance to try the old JWray 17 year….which is a long time dream of mine, so therefore i cannot compare with it, but i can compare with other Mai Tais i`ve had with great rums and see how this rum stand up in comparison and i have a feeling it will do very well.

Also the Denizen Merchant’s Reserve earned a score of 94 at the 2014 Ultimate Spirits Challenge and was recognized as a finalist. Scoring 94 points is equivalent to “Excellent and highly recommended”

Let´s taste it.

Nose – It`s a fruity nose with a bit of citrus and apricot, a hint of wood, very fresh.

Mouth – The same fruitness is there and it has a warm spicy finish. A hint of sugarcane, warm caramel, ripe tropical fruit, dried banana, apricot, wood.

My impression – This is a warm, funky and flavorful rum, not much alcohol burn, it´s smooth enough to sip and flavorful enough to mix tiki drinks with, at the same time it`s great for classic rum drinks as well. Fruity and spicy!

I bet it`s good to drizzle over ice cream too…or use in baked papaya with butter, vanilla and demerara sugar.

The first drink i wanted to make with this rum is the PYT swizzle from Rumba Seattle, (a bar and Caribbean restaurant in Seattle) and a place where they make some extraordinary cocktails, actually everything they make at that place looks tasty, i hope i can visit some day.

The PYT swizzle first catched my attention on instagram where i saw pictures of it after it won the Island Imbibe competition in august 2013. I thought it looked so tasty….so here`s a version of it with Denizen Merchant`s Reserve and again, i regret not having any mint!

PYT SWIZZLE

Denizen PYT swizzle

2.5 oz Denizen Merchant`s reserve rum

0.75 oz fresh lime juice

0.5 oz passionfruit syrup

0.25 oz falernum

Glass: Libbey Everest hi ball

Top with a heavy doze of angostura and peychaud`s bitters

Swizzle!

But mint or not, with this rum the swizzle turned out nice and spicy!

The next drink is the quintessential test cocktail when you wanna evaluate a rum in cocktails, due to it`s simplicity and way of letting the rum shine through in such a way that you cannot make a good one with a bad rum – the classic daiquiri.

MERCHANT`S DAIQUIRI

Denizen Merchant´s daiquiti IG

2 oz Denizen Merchant`s Reserve

0.75 oz fresh lime juice

0.5 oz demerara sugar syrup

Glass: Libbey SPKSY

And yes, it pass the test! this rum makes a very nice and somewhat spicy daiquiri!

And finally…the Queen of Tiki Drinks…(and the Zombie is the King:-)

MAI TAI

Denizen Mai Tai

2 oz Denizen Merchant`s Reserve rum

1 oz fresh lime juice (add the spent lime shell to shaker and later, in the glass)

0.5 oz orgeat

0.25 oz Combier triple sec

Shake all ingredients and garnish with mint – or if you don`t have mint, add the spent lime shell and a sherry into the glass.

Serve in rocks glass with crushed ice.

Yep, it definitely makes a great Mai Tai, the kind that gives that extra yummy after taste, provided you use good quality mixing products throughout. Of course i did the Trader Vic´s Mai tai. The only thing i regret is that i was out of mint but instead i just used the spent lime shell and a sherry.

To wrap it up – Denizen Merchant`s Reserve is very good, flavorful and i warmly recommend anyone to try this rum!

You find Denizen´s website here.

Real McCoy 5 year old Rum – A Premium Rum with Interesting History

Real McCoy bottle

Here´s a very interesting rum produced by the legendary Foursquare distillery that have an interesting and colorful history.

It´s an authentic, handcrafted excellent sipping rum from Barbados bringing that genuine Bajan flavor to your glass.

The Real McCoy rum is based on the story of  William “Bill” McCoy, the pioneer rum runner of the prohibition era, who fueled the Roaring Twenties by delivering over 2 million bottles of rum to the speakeasies of New York back in 1920.

McCoy took pride in the fact that he never paid a cent to organized crime, politicians, or law enforcement for protection and unlike many others that illegally produced and smuggled alcohol for consumption during prohibition, McCoy sold his merchandise unadulterated, uncut and clean,

He never came ashore but instead anchored 3 miles off-shore, which back then was international waters, acting as a floating liquor store within sight of the metropolis of New York.

People went out to McCoy, bought the rum and returned hoping to escape the Coast Guard on the way back in.

An interesting fact about him is that he himself never touched alcohol…(!)

It’s a great story and the rum absolutely lives up to the name. It’s only been in the US for a few months, but it has already received the following accolades:

Silver Medal – San Fransisco World Spirits Competition
“Best in Category”, Aged Rum – The American Distilling Institute
Score 91 – The Tasting Panel Magazine, Anthony Dias Blue
Score 92 – The Ultimate Spirits Challenge, F. Paul Pacult

While researching the life and legend of William McCoy, a Connecticut man became interested in developing a rum in remembrance of McCoy.

So he contracted Richard Seale of Four Square distillery in Barbados, to craft an authentic rum blend and the final result the Real McCoy Rum is nothing but excellent!

Now i sit here with a bottle of the Real McCoy rum – aged for 5 years in American oak bourbon barrels. It´s a  blend of column and pot still rum and what i have here is plain good old-fashioned rum!

I like that…

This is a sipping rum but i`m gonna make a few cocktails with it too – real good quality rums makes real good quality cocktails too – provided that you carefully chose what to mix the rum with. Don´t waste the drinks with ready-made commercial or chemical mixers! use fresh!

 Nose

In the nose i find dried tropical fruits, baked spices, vanilla, caramel and honey – it´s very pleasant…a promising hint of what to come…

The taste

To me it has a distinct aroma of a well aged rum with hints of oak, vanilla, dried tropical fruit, sugarcane and maybe of dried orange peel. It`s a bit on the dry side but has some sweetness. It`s a warm welcoming rum.

The rum also have a long pleasant finish.

I see an image of someone sitting in a comfy sofa in front of a fire in the fall with a sipping glass in hand – or someone on the porch watching a tropical island sunset…

My final conclusion is that i like this rum- it´s of excellent quality but i didn`t expect anything less, seeing to where it´s coming from.

Cocktails

I made two daiquiris with it, one classic with just rum, sugarcane syrup and fresh lime and another with chocolate bitters and pineapple gomme syrup, both were very good.

Then i made a tropical tiki style drink with pineapple juice and coffee that turned out spicy and tasty.

The Real McCoy Rum is excellent for sipping and can be used in classic cocktails as well as well crafted tiki drinks but should not be wasted in drinks like rum and coke.

 Real McCoy Daiquiri

Real McCoy daiquiri

2 oz  Real McCoy Rum

0.75 oz fresh lime juice

0.5 oz brown sugarcane syrup

Stir together in a shaker and strain into a chilled cocktail coupe.

 Back to the Tropics

Real McCoy Back to the Tropics

2 oz Real McCoy Rum

2 oz fresh pineapple juice

0.5 oz fresh lime juice

0.5 oz coffee liqueur ( Fair Cafè or Tia Maria)

Shake with ice and strain into a tiki mug or glass filled with crushed ice. Garnish with a pineapple leaf and pineapple chunk or tropical flower.

McCoy Cocoa Daiquiri

Real McCoy Cocoa daiqiri

2 oz  Real McCoy Rum

0.75 oz fresh lime juice

0.5 oz pineapple gomme syrup (or use simple syrup)

2-3 dashes Mozart chocolate bitters

Stir together in a shaker and strain into a chilled cocktail coupe. Garnish with a cinnamon stick.

The Real McCoy Rum website is here.

Shamrock Daiquiri

Happy St Patrick´s Day!

Not all St Patty`s cocktails are Irish whiskey and you don`t need to be Irish to celebrate st Patrick´s Day! be Irish for a day and enjoy some good “green” cocktails or some Irish beer!

I have made a daiquiri with a good flavorful white rum, lime and sugar and a little green chartreuse for a herbal kick and a dash green curacao for color. The drink is actually not that dark green, it´just looks very dark in the picture. The drink has a grassy green color or shamrock green, hence the name.

Shamrock DaIquiri

2 oz white rum – i used Denizen rum

0.75 oz fresh lime juice

0.5 0z sugarcane syrup

0.25 oz green curacao

0.25 oz green chartreuse

Shake with ice and train into a chilled coupe with a green sugar rim and garnish with something appropriate for St Patrick´s Day.

This drink tastes like a classic daiquiri with a herbal and citrusy touch.

And what would St Patty`s Day be without a couple of Irish blessings?

May good luck be with you Wherever you go , And your blessing outnumber the shamrocks that grow.

May there always be work for your hands to do.
May your purse always hold a coin or two.
May the sun always shine on your windowpane.
May a rainbow be certain to follow each rain.
May the hand of a friend always be near you.
May God fill your heart with gladness to cheer you.

May neighbours respect you,
Trouble neglect you,
The angels protect you,
And heaven accept you.

Grilled Pineapple Curacao Daiquiri

Grilled pineapple syrup and dark rum….mix that together with a squeeze of fresh lime – and you get a Pineapple Curacao Daiquiri.

Here´s a tropical libation from St Croix in the Caribbean – made by my friend Jesse Card at St Croix Libation Society where he promote all things rum in the first place and all things booze related. He once also featured one of my drinks and now is the time for me to feature a good libation of his – and this one is a right up my alley because it contains grilled pineapple which is something i like a lot. Jesse also did feature this drink on one of my fav websites – Uncommon Caribbean.

Jesse is originally from Portland, Oregon and moved to St Croix about six years ago.

Trying to be honest & authentic behind the bar, he says it’s all about listening to the guest on the other side that matters – “Just because I love bitters doesn’t mean that they shouldn’t get that Cosmo they’re craving”

Jesse is the Beverage Director at the new Low Life Bar & Refuge, opening this summer on the Christiansted Boardwalk of beautiful St. Croix. And one more thing – he puts up a wicked karaoke show….trust me, i´ve seen it in New Orleans – last summer he made the Saint bar ROCK!

This grilled pineapple recipe comes in the form of a grilled pineapple syrup and since it´s grilled with slightly caramelized demerara sugar it really gives the drink that depth which takes a tropical drink to the next level and with a dash or two of angostura bitters – gives it complexity and some real exotic-ness – a real tasty drink!

I tried the grilled pineapple daiquiri with a good rum – St Nicholas Abbey 12 yo from Barbados (1 oz) and paired it with 1 oz of the strong Jamaican funky rum Smith and Cross – plus fresh lime and the grilled pineapple syrup  – hmmm………..it was good….

So here is how – and if you don´t have these rums you can use any GOOD aged dark rum, like Appleton Extra for example – but i really think the Smith and Cross adds some funk and punch to this drink!

A demerara rum would be very good too – try it with El Dorado 12 yo. Jesse used Cruzan rum – of course – he lives on st Croix after all – but i don´t have that rum so i used the others and the result was very good and as with any daiquiri for that matter – it´s REALLY important to use a good quality rum – skip cheap rums with this!

GRILLED PINEAPPLE CURACAO DAIQUIRI

1 pineapple
2 cups demerera sugar
1 cup water
a few limes
cruzan rum
clement creole shrubb (or cointreau)
angostura bitters

So start with the pineapple…peel and cut out 3 rings, two for the syrup and one for garnish.

Make a simple syrup by adding 2:1 ratio of sugar and water, use a dark demerara sugar and combine in a sauce pan over high heat. Stir it around for a few minutes until the sugar is pretty well dissolved. With the ratio 2:1 you`ll get a rich syrup.

Now to get some flavor, add 2 of the pineapple rings and coat them with the syrup so when we grill it we get a nice caramelization. Now, set the syrup aside for a while and start grilling the syrup coated pineapple rings on a hot grill and let them get that nice slightly charred look.

After grilling is done add them back to your syrup. Heat your syrup back up to a simmer and let it reduce for 15 minutes or so by about a quarter. Remove the pineapple and set the syrup aside to cool.

Combine over ice in a tall glass:

* 1 oz of your fresh grilled pineapple syrup
* 2 oz good dark rum
* 1 oz creole shrubb or cointreau
* 1/2 oz fresh lime juice
* 1 dash angostura bitters

Shake hard and strain into a rocks glass filled with crushed ice.