Cane Island Trinidad Single Estate 8 Year Old Blend

Cane Island Trinidad Single Estate 8 Year Old Blend

A Story Of Trinidad

Craft Rum Box | Cane Island Trinidad

This month there is a fantastic 8 year old blended rum in your Craft Rum Box. Cane Island Trinidad Single Estate 8 Year Blend is a blend of rums from Trinidad which offers a true representation of the style and tradition of distilleries from this origin. Think of it as tasting rums typical of Trinidad.

Cane Island Rum offer a range of rums from some of the most iconic rum producing countries around the globe. The range currently includes Barbados, Jamaica, Thailand, Trinidad, Australia, and Nicaragua. These countries all have a long history in rum production whilst evolving their own styles and traditions. The range consists of Single Island Blend, which is a blend of rums from distilleries around the area, and Single Estate Blend, which is a blend of rums from one particular distillery.

All the rums in the Cane Island portfolio have been tropically aged for several years in wooden casks. Tropical ageing is three times more intense than ageing in cooler climates. Warm temperatures mean that the interaction between the wood and the rum is intensified, bringing out all of these amazing flavours in bright and bold fashion. The result? Beautifully aged rums with exquisite flavour.

And what does this particular rum blend taste like? The rum is a golden amber colour. The palate is warm and floral in character with pleasant notes of toffee and caramel. The typically Trinidadian spicy wood flavours are well balanced with a delicate sweetness, followed by a very gentle finish. This rum is a blend of rums produced in the Angostura Distillery. The rums are made with molasses and are distilled in a column still which rectifies the spirit, and this means it should have a relatively clean profile. They vary in age between 3-5 years and are tropically aged in former bourbon barrels.

Now you may know Angostura for their small, brown bottle of bitters with the oversized paper label. Their bitters were the only ones you’d find on a bar here in the UK, however nowadays we’re starting to see lots of different types of bitters on the market. Bitters are an alcoholic preparation with a highly concentrated collection of flavours. Originally produced as a health tonic, over the years they have been utilised as an ingredient for cocktails and food. Nowadays you can get them in a range of different flavours, acting as a colour palate of flavour for your creations.

The house of Angostura has been making bitters since 1824. This was their main business, and they didn’t enter the rum market until they moved to the island of Trinidad in 1875. Initially they dealt in bulk rums, but in 1945 they set up their own distillery on the island. It took a while to get things up and running, in fact it wasn’t until the 1960s the profits from rum outsold those of bitters. In 1973 they brought the Fernandes Distillery, which was located next door and incorporated those brands into their production. The production capacity of the distillery has been growing at a real pace. From a 22 million litre capacity in 1991, they are now producing more than twice as much!

Angostura is the only distillery located in Trinidad today. But this wasn’t always the case. There were once more than fifty distilleries on the island. However, by 1950 that had shrunk to only eight and now Angostura is the only one left. This rise and fall of distilleries on the island is intrinsically linked to the rise and fall of sugarcane production.

Sugarcane arrived in Trinidad in the 1540s, brought by Spanish residents. The industry grew much quicker in Tobago until 1760, when French planters were given permission to grow on the land. So, they, and their African slaves, quickly went to work growing sugarcane and cotton. The industry grew, bolstered by several events, and hit its peak around 1808 when there were over 270 sugar mills on the island. However, change was coming. Just a year earlier, in 1807, slavery was abolished and many of the former slaves left looking for paid work. Then, there was the emancipation of the slaves in 1838, which again had its impact. Within time, labour was replenished by bringing in workers from India, Portugal, and China. There were several other ups and downs. Cane farming began when idle
land was parcelled off to people to cultivate the all-important crop. Then, the Second World War drew labour away from the fields again. Post War Nationalism led to Independence in 1962. In 1975 the government purchased the Tate and Lyle’s Caroni Limited. Headquarter at Brechin Castle, under the name Caroni.

Caroni is another well-known name that is associated with the island and the distillery was known for producing rum with a heavy profile that was sold to the British Navy. The distillery was set up in 1923 on the site of the Caroni Sugar factory. However, in 2001 Trinidad sold a 49% of the holding to Angostura. The Caroni distillery lasted until another year but was then closed in 2002. The closing of Caroni was a final act for sugarcane production in Trinidad, displacing some 20,000 workers. As the lands and buildings fell into disrepair, much of it was sold off to build housing estates.

Rums from Trinidad tend to have a softness about them and are likened to rums from Cuba more often than other types. They don’t possess the funky character of rums from Jamaica. They are more similar to Bajan rums but are lacking in the fruity element that give Bajan rums their character. There’s something a little soft, gentle and smoky. Another common characteristic is that of spicy wood. Recently during a spirit competition, a colleague told me they can have a hint of salinity to them too...though I still have to taste it in enough samples to confirm this for myself, which I’ll have great fun trying!

What do you think of rums from Trinidad?

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Bernadette Pamplin

Bernadette loves rum. She set up a gin focused blog Under The Ginfluence eight years ago. Since then, her passion has naturally spread from gin, to rum and other spirits too. You can find work from her on Gin Magazine, Distiller Magazine, and Spirits Beacon, as well as content for  The Gin Guide.

She’s also the editor of Rum’s the Word, writing articles on rums featured in the box, as well as other rum related topics. Bernadette has built up six years experience in judging for events like Gin of the Year, World Gin Awards, Spirits Business Awards, Gin Guide Awards, IWSC and the American Distilling Institute Judging of Craft Spirits and works behind the scenes, assisting with organising and participating in panels for the Craft Distilling Expo.