The insane hype of the Caroni distillery

Prices of rums from the closed Caroni distillery shoot up to astronomical heights. Do you think this development is justified because of the special taste profile and quality or is the hype without basis?

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I believe this development is driven by speculators and not necessarily based on “actual good taste”. The downside is that those just wanting to drink good stuff (it’s always pretty subjective what you believe is good) suffer from these speculations. We even see similar development with distilleries still open, e.g. the latest standard LROK from Hampden Estate is about twice as expensive as a similar bottling from 2 years ago.

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Definitely a proof of how the rum market went crazy in past years with plenty of speculators entering the game - but in the case of Caroni we also face an absolutely unique and often outstanding flavor profile that no other distillery could replicate to date.

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That is absolutely true! The first time I ever tried a Caroni (Caroni 21y from Velier) it was really stunning…meaning that it was something that I have never experienced…flavors so unique that really opened up a whole new world! Not that everyone should like those (I am not a fan), but is still something remarkable…

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ich glaube, daß das geheimnis beim Caroni darin liegt, das jede abfüllung absolut anders ist, mal etwas süßer, mal etwas alkoholischer und mal ganz harmonisch. aber immer mit dem dreckigen öligen teerigen geruch oder geschmack. kann sein, daß es daher kommt, weil auf dem geländer der ehemaligen destillerie öfters reifen verbrannt wurden, so erzählt man sich.
aber ein anderer punkt ist auch der, das ein Caroni mindestens 55% haben muß, denn sonst schmeckt er irgendwie nicht. er ist dann nur ein laues wässerchen und hat nichts mehr von seinem charakter.

und ja, der markt für caroni rum ist in den letzten jahren verrückt geworden. die ersten flaschen habe ich 2014 und 2015 für 80 und 110 euro gekauft. heute muß man für jede dieser flaschen mindestens um die 500 euro auf den tresen legen, wenn man sie bekommt. und die preise werden noch weiter steigen, soweit die abfüllungen von bestimmten abfüllern sind. Caroni´s von anderen abfüllern oder mit weniger als 55% wird man wohl noch etwas länger für einen günstigeren kurs bekommen.

@Stylo
you should try a different Caroni from a different year. there are big differences between the years and the bottles. you can try the 17 year old Caroni from 1996 (bottled in 2013) in CS with 63% (30th release) or the version with 55% (31st release) and you will have very different taste impressions.
although both were distilled and bottled in the same year and fully matured in the tropical climate.
.

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Dem kann ich nur zu 55% … äh 100% beipflichten :smiley:
So ungern ich negatives über irgendeinen Rum sage (Geschmäcker sind ja verschieden), aber die Bristol Caronis mit 40% sind im Vergleich zu den höher prozentigen Caronis tatsächlich geschmacklich sehr schwach.

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Seems like all the indies that have been or are bottling Caroni these days (i.e. last two years) think that 350-500€ is a fair price range, while most of them are bottling 1997 or 1998 vintages.

A recent example from Spheric, that so far have not stricken me as overly expensive in their pricing:

Funny enough, there are still some bottles from 3 to 5 years ago that can be had for 200-250€. I don’t really understand the logic behind that. Why are people buying that new stuff while the older, cheaper bottles are still available? Are they hoping for a Velier-Level of Caroni, just because it has a higher price? I doubt that the quality of the casks that indies can get their hands on will improve much from now on. There might be the occasional gem, but 99,5% will just be average to ok-ish.

Thoughts?

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To be honest I don’t even know if you can say it like that. It’s not like every Velier rum (including their Caronis) is something godlike and fantastic on the tongue. In general I don’t think the spirale will stop and we’re also not at the end yet. Due to the scarcity of these rums (and that won’t change over decades if ever) the prices can “rise like Bitcoins” it’s just that completely different people will then buy these rums, often not as drinkers or collectors like us but more often as an object of speculation or just because the 11th Ferrari in your garage would be boring :stuck_out_tongue:

The recent price policy of some bottling is really just an economic decision on the price tag and the desire to take a part of the cake … it’s a simple logic :smiley: I somewhat disagree that 1996 is the only good Caroni vintage as well, e.g. the last Bellamy’s (1998) was very much to my liking and price-wise pretty affordable (actually still available). It’s almost like … nah 300 only? … can’t be good, I wait for a 500-600 Caroni :smiley:

Very true. They, too, cook with water…as that German saying goes. But they got dibs on a large part of the “heavy” stuff, so their releases are more likely to be of the kind that satisfies the customers “desire” or expectation of that “dirty Caroni” profile. So I think it’s fair to say that they have a certain advantage or head start when it comes to indie bottlers, especially when Caroni or Hampden is involved. Therefore, consumer bias is kind of justified.

I think that is more likely the case. The whole “uh, it’s a Caroni, it has to be expensive” story. Sure the stocks can only go down from the point when the distillery closed for good. But that doesn’t necessarily justify the price development. If it’s shit, it doesn’t matter that there’s only two of it left. Only when decline in availability meets a certain (constant or rising) demand, does the price increase. Of course it helps if the good is hard to substitute because it possesses a certain unique quality (flavor, in this case).

Good for you. Most reviews are rather unenthusiastic about it. Haven’t tried it myself. But still, “only” 330€? Why not 150€? Or 200€? The fact that we consider 300€ “fair” or even “cheap” when it comes to Caroni is the whole point. Hype. Sometimes not even justified by exceptional flavor. Just a name.

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Amen. Even the new Kill Devil Caronis are hype-priced:

Bought a couple of the 18yo 1998 for less than 250€ a few months ago. Those were bottled 2017 and lasted several years, even at that price point. Yes it was expensive, but I figured that it’s not going to get any cheaper, so eff it. Now I see the 24yo for 550€ and I regret nothing.

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