Review: Angostura 1824 (pre-2010)

Angostura 1824 rum comes from the House of Angostura, a company that is mostly known, if not for the rums, for their Angostura Bitters everyone around the world uses in their cocktails. The 1824 on the bottle is actually the year when a German doctor Johann Siegert, who was a Surgeon General in the Venezuelan army, perfected his “Amargo Aromatico” (Aromatic Bitters) – a blend of herbs, plants and spices that was originally designed as a cure for stomach disorders. His company that was distributing the bitters started in the town known at the time as Angostura (Bolivar City now), but then moved around 1875 to Port of Spain, Trinidad by his sons.

In 1949 Trinidad Distillers Limited was established, a multi-column distillery used to produce the rum needed for the Aromatic Bitters at the time. But the distillery was so effective it was producing more rum than they needed for the bitters and that’s what started their own rum range. After they acquired Fernandes Distillers Limited Rum (1973) and the Caroni Distillery closed (2003), the company became the only rum producers in Trinidad.
As you can see in the picture I have one of the older bottle designs (supposedly the juice remained the same although I doubt) which was changed in 2010 in an attempt to make rum look more premium. Even if you’re not a fan of Angostura rums, it did work, House of Angostura contributed to the premium image of rum.
Angostura 1824 is made out of different rums aged for 12 years in ex-Bourbon barrels, then blended and then re-casked until they reach optimum maturity. The rum is bottled (number of my bottle is 140868) at 40% ABV and from what the internet and my palate could tell me, it is adulterated – most likely less than the current blends (but that never stopped me!).

Ok, let’s sniff it! Vanilla, I could feel it while I was pouring it in the glass. If I go closer it’s like burnt brown sugar, marzipan, caramel and chocolate but if I go deeper… there are some vegetal notes in there like freshly cut grass… no, like freshly cut sugarcane – it has a subtle earthy agricole aroma.

On the palate I get the vanilla and brown sugar, but also… and I find this odd – the grassy flavors return along with some pineapple. It’s almost like an aged agricole that has vanilla essence added and I have no idea why, since it’s molasses based and column distillate, I am confused. Some citrus present there as well along with some plums. All of it covered in caramel, not too overpowering though. On the finish is a slight weird sweetness like sugarcane syrup and brown sugar combined.

This bottling could be from anywhere from 2000 to 2010 when the bottle design was changed and I am sure the blend changed over time too. I went to work after tasting this and I tried one of the new bottles we have behind the bar. I did get the floral flavors, but a lot more subtle, being drowned in caramel, vanilla and brown sugar. Now it may be the type of yeast they use (used) or maybe the bottle being so old, something could’ve happened to the liquid over time. Or the old Angostura 1824 blend simply was more interesting, I would have to get ahold of another old bottle to try again and it ain’t easy. The remaining of the bottle was given to me by my ex-work colleague after we drank from it to celebrate his last shift (it was sealed prior to that). He got it from a shop in London for £30, I guess the shop just wanted to get rid of it.

Anyways, if I had to pick, I would definitely take the old blend to the new one. Although the balance could’ve been better, it’s a good juice and I find it at least a bit more complex than the recent blend. If you see this bottle in a shop for less than £50, take it, it’s a steal. I know I would do the same!

Angostura 1824 (pre-2010) score:
Flavour/taste: 40/70
Value for money:12/15
Transparency/purity: 7/15
Overall: 59/100


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