A Caroni distilled in 1996 and bottled by Velier in 2019 after 23 years of maturation in a tropical climate, first in Trinidad, then in the warehouses of Demerara Distillers Limited in Guyana from 2008. Blended from 24 casks of heavy rums, this is Velier’s last (and 38th) bottling of Caroni in its f…More info
A Caroni distilled in 1996 and bottled by Velier in 2019 after 23 years of maturation in a tropical climate, first in Trinidad, then in the warehouses of Demerara Distillers Limited in Guyana from 2008. Blended from 24 casks of heavy rums, this is Velier’s last (and 38th) bottling of Caroni in its famous series, despite the Employees bottlings that followed. Velier was founded in Genoa by Casimir Chaix in 1947. It was originally a small, family-run business specializing in the import and distribution of wine and spirits. Luca Gargano, a former representative for Saint James and serious rum collector and enthusiast, bought the business in 1986 and began bottling whisky first in 1992 and then rum in 1996. It was in 1996 that Gargano bottled his first Demerara rums. In 2004, Gargano was invited to Guyana to select casks by his friend Yesu Persaud, then the CEO of Demerara Distillers Limited (DDL). This partnership ended in 2015 when Persaud retired, but the rums bottled in the meantime became legendary. The same can be said for the Caroni casks he bought in 2005, two years after the distillery closed, following a visit to Trinidad with Fredi Marcarini the previous year to take photos. These two lines of bottlings built the renown of Velier, today also known for its work in other parts of the Caribbean, such as Barbados, Jamaica, Haiti and Marie-Galante. Rums selected by Velier are only ever aged in a tropical climate, which explains both their concentration and the high angels’ share. They are generally bottled at cask strength or just below. Finally, Gargano has, for several years, fought for stricter classification of rum, even proposing his own model, which has since been adopted by several of Velier’s partners.
The Caribbean, Trinidad. Distillery closed, site dismantled.
In 1975, under pressure from across the country, the government of Trinidad nationalized a number of companies, including Tate & Lyle, the English giant of sugar production and owner of Caroni Ltd since 1937. The very competitive economic context, however, led to the closure of the island's sugar refineries and the collapse of the molasses production required for the production of rum. In 2001, the government sold its shares in Rum Distillers Ltd (Caroni) to Angostura and closed the distillery in 2002. Caroni Ltd would be definitively liquidated on 31 July 2003. In October 2004, Luca Gargano, the CEO of the Italian spirit distributor Velier and a passionate rum enthusiast and photographer, visited Trinidad to carry out research for a future report. There he found the site abandoned and, within its cellars, a huge stock of barrels, some distilled in 1974. The story of Caroni began in 2005 and the distillery immediately became the subject of lore.
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