The spirit of the month
By Philippe Hupp
Rhum Mezan Trinidad 1996, 40°, 70 cl
When Caroni, a State-owned distillery in Trinity-and-Tobago, closed down in 2002, there were still thousands of old American oak casks, full of rum, lying around in its warehouses. It turned out to be a real treasure trove – a bottle of Caroni 1985 Old Legend, for example, can go for anything up to €1,400! Mezan has made a name for itself by unearthing stunning products in the British West Indies, including a 1996 vintage that it intends to further age in younger wood before bottling. Despite significant reduction, this barely filtered rum is intense, complex and extremely fresh. Contrary to many of its better-known competitors, it has not been “caramelized” and we were even surprised to find a few smoky notes in it. Rum lovers and collectors take note!