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Rum at Trinidad Carnival (some I remember more than others)

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Rum Warrior

Joined: 11 May 2017
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PostPosted: Mon Oct 09, 2017 10:56 pm    Post subject: Rum at Trinidad Carnival (some I remember more than others) Reply with quote

I went to carnival in Trinidad, and here is my rundown of my experience with the local offerings. These are my impressions and memories of different rums, as opposed to a detailed review. Long story short, I liked them all, but some I liked more than others.

Vat 19
In Trinidad, they have what they call "cooler fetes," where you can bring your favorite beverages to the party if you like. Here is a song about cooler fetes ... What counts as a "cooler" can vary from huge containers the size of an ice cream freezer to a bucket or even just a plastic bottle. I would bring a bottle of Vat 19 and a couple big bottles of coconut water, and sip on them throughout the course of the day. No problem drinking a whole bottle in a day. It's a decent, honest, affordable bottle, and I think it's a great example of an everyday Trini rum with no gimmicks.

This is a white overproof. This is an economical way to get booze. You can buy little bottles around the Queen's Park Savannah for about $20TT which is less than $5. I would buy one and sip on it while I watched events at the Savannah. Drinking overproof straight is a useful skill to have. If you can drink puncheon, you can drink nearly any rum, and regular rum will be easier to handle straight. Be careful though.

Single Barrel
I drank so much of this during the carnival parade... they have drink trucks for the dancers, so you just show them your wristband and order whatever they have. I would ask for this with coconut water in order to stay hydrated. Pretty smooth, a little sweet, but it did the trick nicely. Towards the end of the parade, I went to the drink truck and asked for a shot, and the bartender filled up the whole damn cup. Although it was a daunting task, that was the perfect way to end the day.

This is what I brought home from the duty free. I liked this. Sweet and smooth, but not overdoing it. Pretty expensive, but it had a lot of nice flavors, and I don't see it sold at all in Cali.

I ordered this all night for one of the big parties. No complaints at all. I probably wouldn't buy it normally due to the price.

I'm pretty sure I had this and liked it.

White Oak
Just a cool white rum. This was my best option in Tobago. I just got some ginger beer to mix with this.

Royal Oak
I think i had this. Maybe not.

Black Label
Eh. I preferred Vat 19. I think I had this a couple times.

Angostura 7 year
I had queens park swizzles made with this (even though I think you're really supposed to use puncheon)... it was nice. I bought a bottle when I got home, to compare to the Vat 19 and 1787 I brought back. It's an affordable splurge.

"Rum and Coca Cola"
As much as I turn my nose up at rum and coke, I did order the two separately after I had been up for about 36 hours (up til 4am watching the steel pan finals). I got a little bit of sleep and dragged myself out of bed to see a matinee cabaret with Mighty Sparrow, a living legend of Calypso. I ordered a single barrel or royal oak, and had the coke for the caffeine to get me through the show. Cola and Trini rum complement each other very well. Something about Trini rum reminds me of coke.

Lemon Lime and Bitters is a soda made by Angostura, and it's a pretty damn good mixer. I guess you could approximate it by adding bitters to sprite.

Eat trini food when drinking, and get garlic sauce and pepper sauce.

In summary:
If you want a regular rum you can feel good about, buy Vat 19.
If you want a fancy bottle, buy 1787 or 1824.
If you want a middle ground, go for the 7 year
If you want something a little sweeter, go for Single Barrel
If you don't have a lot of options, but want something tasty, go for white oak
If you want to burn your digestive tract and feel macho, drink puncheon.

If you want to buy an impressive Trini rum, Scarlet Ibis is a good choice discussed at length in other threads. However, you probably won't find it in the actual islands. Cane Run is a cheap cheap rum that I enjoyed with tobacco flavors, but also one that you will probably not find on the islands.

Final thoughts:

I would not recommend Trinidad carnival for everyone, but if you do A LOT of homework, you can have a safe, fun, and educational trip. Don't drink until you get acclimated to the weather and the pace of getting around.

On a side note, a lot of Trinis love scotch; Johnnie Walker is popular there.

Further reading: here is a vintage thread I found by JaRiMi and Capn Jimbo, which is way more detailed and well-researched:
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Capn Jimbo
Rum Evangelisti and Compleat Idiot

Joined: 11 Dec 2006
Posts: 3467
Location: Paradise: Fort Lauderdale of course...

PostPosted: Wed Oct 11, 2017 2:02 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

What a treat reading of your festival experience - which you lived to tell about, lol. And the link to one of JaRiMi and my frequent exchanges is well worth the read.

We used to really get into it - but always with mutual respect. JaRiMi is one of rum's treasures that we all should value.

Thanks for the memories...

Go to Save Caribbean Rum Petition!
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