How Caroni was born, the adventure of Luca Gargano
Apr 2021

An incredible story: in October 2004, Luca Gargano, patron of Velier, visited Guyana and Trinidad to prepare a photographic session by photographer Marcarini on rums and the Caribbean islands. 

Arriving in Southern Main Road, the spectacle that presents itself to his eyes is a “day after”: the distillery is already industrial archeology. Inside it, Luca finds a lady who tells him that the sugar refinery with adjoining state-owned distillery was closed by a government decision in 2003.

Noting that a manual, very artisanal bottling was in progress, Luca asks if by chance they still had a few barrels in aging. At this point the lady introduces to Luca the liquidator Rudy Moore who, climbing over the disused tracks and overgrown grass, takes him in front of a department store. Upon opening the door, a vision appears that he could not have imagined even in the most optimistic dream: hundreds of barrels of rum, the oldest of which dated back to 1974.

The rums are of excellent quality, so it was decided to switch to full and / or high-grade bottling to maintain their balance unchanged.

Luca also decides to use the same photographs taken by Fredi Marcarini during the trip as a label.

On 1st April 2005 74 barrels leave for Europe from which we will bottle the first 8 Caroni: Heavy 1982 62 °, Heavy 1982 77.3 ° F.P., Light 1982 59.2 °, Heavy 1983 52 °, Heavy 1985 62 °, Heavy 1985 75.5 ° F.P., Blended 1985 49.5 °, Heavy 1989 62 °. In 2006 another 6 Caroni are bottled: Heavy 1982 58.3 °, Light 1982 55.2 °, Heavy 1984 54.6 °, Heavy 1985 58.8 °, Light 1989 64.2 °, Blended 15 Y.O. 43.4 °. In 2008 another 4 Caroni are bottled: Heavy 1974 66.1 °, Heavy 1983 55 °, Heavy 1984 58.3 °, Heavy 1988 43 ° Blended. In 2010 another 5 Caroni are bottled: Blended 1993 44.4 °, Heavy 1991 61.7 ° F.P., Blended 1991 55 °, Heavy 1992 55 °, Heavy 1992 61.2 ° F.P. In 2011, 2 other Caroni are bottled: Heavy 1994 52 ° F.P., Heavy 1994 62.3 ° F.P.

In 2012 we begin to bottle the last vintage, 2000, the last 100% rum from Trinidad, since after this vintage the molasses for subsequent productions will come from abroad. We decided to lower the alcohol content to 50 ° because the young age expressed itself better at a lower grade. We also decided to change the label, restyling an old one from Caroni from the 1940s as a tribute to the history of the brand.

After 35 different expressions in ten years, we decided to divide the releases among those with colored labels, a tribute to the old original labels of the 40s. all lowered by and the 'classic' ones with black and white photos, both at full grade and at 55 °. In addition to the already famous 17 Y.O. this year we are launching 1996, the oldest and most precious of our stock, a wonderful 20-year Heavy in a tropical climate at 70.1 °, which will become legendary, with a label that warns the fearless 'Trepassers' who will try it, its 55 ° version.

The Caronimania exploded in recent years has led to a spasmodic search by enthusiasts and collectors and the price of the 1974 Caroni has already exceeded 650 euros, while the 1982 F.P. 77.3 ° and 1985 F.P. 73.5 ° have exceeded 400 euros with an increase on the starting price of 500% in 4/6 years.