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The Duchess

The Duchess logo

The Duchess is a Dutch independent bottler that started predominantly in the whiskey market in 2014. The brand owner, Nils Van Rijn, decided to switch to the rum market in 2017 when it became increasingly difficult to source good-quality caskets. After a successful campaign with their first bottle of rum, the Guadeloupe Bellevue 19, and their second bottle, the Belize 10 years old, they sold out within a couple of weeks of being released. The owner got excited about the different possibilities and flavors he could bring to the rum market; he previously stated that the Duchess does not release a lot of rums, but when they do, they are funky, complex, and for a fair amount of money. They are a big fan of single cask rums, something unique that the brand brings to the table is the way the rums are bottled. Nills Van Rijn fills every bottle of rum by hand, corks it, and then adds the label to the bottle himself; although it is definitely not the most efficient way to do things, it does show his passion for his field of work.

Official website: drinktheduchess.com

The Duchess never use additives or colorings in their rums as they believe their rum is perfect without them; in fact, they are strong believers in the drink industry getting rid of additives and colorings from whiskey and rums completely as it changes the taste of the rum. The Duchess never use caskets that have had additives in them and believe in complete transparency from the company to the customer.


One of the company's first releases in 2017, the 1998 Guadeloupe only had 303 bottles made from the cask. The bottle has a beautiful red label with a flower that reflects the color of the rum to be found inside. The nose is presented with vanilla when you open the bottle; fudge and chocolate then come through. There are some hints of tobacco and tar at the end, but before that, you are presented with some tropical fruits like mango, banana, candied orange, and coconut.

Now the taste, the palate is met with a combination of different fruits; it is different from many other rums and whiskeys; spicy peppers come through initially, and then you are presented with mango, banana, red apples, fudge, honey, marzipan and then at the end honey comes through to bring a longer lasting taste to finish it off.

Reviews are amazing for this rum, with some customers saying it is one of the best rums in the world. So if you come across the 1998 Guadeloupe, we recommend snapping it up.


The 1998 Trinidad & Tobago comes in at a whopping 64.1% alcohol, so this rum is not for the faint-hearted. Coming from the Caroni distillery, you know you're getting a quality rum when you purchase this one. The rum is matured for 21 years in an oak cask between 1998 and 2019, which shines through in the flavor profile. There were only 245 bottles of this unique rum bottled. The aroma of the rum is a classic Caroni profile with tones of tobacco, oil, and petrol coming through. Hints of fruit and flowers come through at the end in a classic Duchess nature. The palate of this rum is strong and hard-hitting, with heavy notes of petro, smoke, flowers, honey, oil, tarry, and the wood from the oak barrel coming through. The rum is a classic and will be a great addition to the collection if you are a fan of Caroni.


Another of The Duchess's rums from Trinidad is from the Caroni distillery, maturing in an oak cask from 1998 until 2018. This is a heavier rum you feel in the stomach long after you drink it. The nose is struck with lots of wood and some tobacco; some burnt sugar presents itself amidst the combination of smells, all fighting for attention. The aroma is brought together with the scent of wax coming through at the end, which lingers for a good while afterward. The flavor of the rum is similar to the previous rum, it is classic Caroni. The maturation in the oak barrel comes through and paves the way for some black tea leaf and tobacco. Some potent Demerara sugar comes through and pairs perfectly with some licorice to bring a sweet end to the rum. The rum is perfect for a winter's night and is recommended to be had on the rocks as you don't want to spoil the flavor profile for this one. Only 288 bottles of this rum were bottled worldwide.


The 2006 Jamaica 12-year-old brings some new flavors to the Duchess collection. The rum comes from the Worth Park distillery, which produces 100% copper pot distilled rum. You get the tropical notes here with this one; the aroma of the rum brings together a combination of tropical fruits like banana, guava, papaya, pineapple syrup, and peach. The palate is treated similarly, although with some stronger flavors coming through, such as gasoline and varnish. Vanilla syrup comes through strongly to the palate as well as your typical Jamaican funk. The experience ends with some grapefruit fruitiness that lasts long after your last sip. This rum is perfect to be had by itself as the complex mixture of flavors brings a unique tasting experience to be cherished by the drinker. Only 268 bottles of this rum were produced.

Rum bottles from The Duchess

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