Excellence Rhum Collection

I’m a regular purchaser from Alexandre Beudet and his Excellence Rhum website in France and it was interesting to see four new bottlings listed on the website tagged as Excellence Rhum Collection….especially as one was a Foursquare and the other was a Hampden. Anyway, a little background. Alexandre created his Excellence Rhum website in 2013 and it has grown in strength, now listing over 1800 different bottlings. It has been my go to mail order for Agricole and they deliver to the UK…Hurrah! For its ‘Collection’ releases, Alexandre has taken the sensible step of releasing the Rums without the addition of sugar or caramel colour. The Rums will also not undergo chill filtration. So for all intents and purposes, presented as the distilleries would want them to be and labelled and bottled in Paris. The plan is to release four new Collection bottlings per yer….good news for us! Anyhow, below is a brief list of the bottlings that will be available as part of the 2017 Collection. In a nod to the excellent, clear and informative labels of the Habitation Velier Collection the labels will also amongst other things have information indicating the distillation and bottling dates, type of still, barrel marks, percentage of Tropical vs Continental age and the Angels Share percentage….For instance, the Guadeloupe has 10% Tropical Age and 90% Continental Age and lost 30% of the barrel contents to evaporation…it was distilled in a Column Still and the barrel marks were SFGB (not a clue).

Guadeloupe Bellevue – SFGB – 1998 – 18yr – 59.9% abv

Guyana Diamond – MPM – 2005 – 11yr – 60.1% abv

Jamaica Hampden – LROK – 2000 – 16yr – 54.6% abv

Barbados Foursquare – MBFS – 2006 – 11yr – 62.8% abv

Now fortunately for me, I have been given the opportunity to try all four releases in the Excellence Rhum Collection due to Alexandre’s very kind offer of a press kit. This wont be definitive thoughts and my final opinion as the 60ml samples only go so far……but as a heads up I have already pre-ordered two expressions……I may want to revisit at a later date…..but my brief notes are……

Tasting Notes

Guadeloupe Bellevue – SFGB – 1998 – 18yr – 59.9% abv

Glass: Dark burnished gold. Immediate and powerful, redolent with banana chips and a light medicinal quality. Hints of Caroni! Tar and creosote. Lightly spiced nutmeg, but more apparently herbal with hints of rosemary, Norfolk lavender and an earthy quality. Oak is not dominant but is present.

Mouth: Intense and medicinal entry. Charred wood, lemon oils, pickle vinegar like acidity. Quite sour. Liquorice. Caroni like petrol. Dried banana and coconut pieces. Sticking plasters. Very very long finish which is oak led initially with a growing liquorice. More vinegar acidity and a sweet / bitter vermouth quality. Great stuff.

Guyana Diamond – MPM – 2005 – 11yr – 60.1% abv

Glass: Pale straw. Initial alcohol astringency. Raisin notes with liquorice and anise as I’d expect from a PM. Powering through this reveals lightly floral notes and the sweetness of grilled bananas along with freshly cut mango.

Mouth: Sweetness on entry and initially very floral led. This then clears and drops into the baseline notes of aniseed and liquorice that I’d expect….albeit with a touch of wildflower honey. It has a sweet / savoury interplay which is pinning in all together. A long finish that is all salty liquorice (there is a Dutch liquorice that escapes me that I know only as a ‘drop’) led with the remains of honeyed fruitcake. Solid but not outstanding.

Jamaica Hampden – LROK – 2000 – 16yr – 54.6% abv

Glass: Light straw gold. It could only be Hampden. Funkier than a mosquito’s tweeter. All pot still attack. Not quite in the HLCF territory. It’s not as down and dirty as that. Overripe bananas, mango, papaya. Intense fruit, florals, stinging astringency. Both sweet and spicy in equal measure. Hazelnuts, warm bbq’d banana smeared in fudge.

Mouth: Sweet, pot still bathed in baked banana. Drying oak and burnt wood. Dime (Daim) bar like caramel nuttiness and very well-balanced. A hint of savoury. The finish is long and full of liquorice, banana, black jack sweets, pineapple and biscoff spread. If you’ve ever seen the YouTube video about the ‘Crazy/Hot Matrix’….this Rum has strayed close to the unicorn zone.

Barbados Foursquare – MBFS – 2006 – 11yr – 62.8% abv

Glass: A shade darker than straw gold. Light oak, vanilla, florals and grapes. Banana, cocoa powder, dried fruit peels and royal icing. A light nuttiness. Intense…..but not Velier Foursquare 2006 levels.

Mouth: Sweet entry full of milk chocolate and dried fruit peels. This is slowly enveloped by a biting dryness bringing a strong bite of black pepper and fennel seeds. Further sips bring dessicated coconut, apricot and a sprinkling of fresh nutmeg. A long mildy oaken vanilla led finish develops into apricot, celery and a growing dryness. Again….right at the back-end there is a light apricot. High proof mixed climate aged Foursquare at close to its best.

As collections go, this is a really strong showing. The only one that I’m not really ‘feeling’ is the Guyana…..but thats not to say that it isn’t good….I just prefer entirely tropically aged Demeraras. I have pre-ordered two of these bottles…..the Hampden and the Foursquare. I hovered over the Guadeloupe but I have the Cadenheads Bellevue. If I could afford it, the Guadeloupe would  absolutely be on my list though as it is such a well-rounded, well-developed prospect. So much flavour from a column still, it really is a triumph. Thanks to Alexandre firstly for sourcing really good Rums, and secondly for allowing me to try them. I hope that you manage to pick one or two up for yourselves.

© Steven James and Rum Diaries Blog 2017. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material, both written and photographic without the express and written permission from this blog/sites author and owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Steven James and Rum Diaries Blog with appropriate and specific direction to the original content

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Velier UF30E 1985

This write-up will be relatively small….to match the amount of liquid I have available to talk about. Thanks need to go to Helena over at A Mountain of Crushed Ice (link on the side of this page) for sending me the sample from her own sample….There really is that little of this stuff around.

Image Copyright of Lance Surujbally

Image Copyright of Lance Surujbally

So this is a weird one. On the bottle (that I’ve only seen photographs of), the name of this Rum is UF30E 1985……So we gather that distillation was in 1985. It’s a Demerara Rum from Guyana so we can deduce by the U that it could perhaps be from the Uitvlugt Distillery that was on the West Coast of the Demerara River in Guyana. Now there is a whole host of information over at Barrel Aged Mind that I would be plagiarising if I were to regurgitate here so I suggest that you give this long and detailed article a go. The research that went into it is astounding. The basics however are that the Uitvlugt Plantation (Uitvlugt as a translation from Dutch means ‘Flowing Out’ or ‘Out Flow’) was founded sometime between 1759 and 1776 and the Distillery was said to have been established in 1798 at the earliest as there was a shift in quantities of Coffee and Sugarcane production leading to reduced Coffee production and increased Sugarcane production with the sole crop being Sugarcane from around 1838. The Uitvlught Distillery was active until December 1999. Stills wise, only the Four Column French Savalle Stills were original to Uitvlugt and taken from the distillery upon its closure although in its time the distillery saw the Double Wooden Pot Still from Port Mourant (moved to Diamond in 2000) and also the Single Wooden Pot Still from Versailles (via Enmore). There is mention in the article linked to that the 4 Column French Savalle Still was initially two 2 Column Stills that were joined together in their current guise at DDL…..and on the DDL website there is a note that this 4 Column Still can produce 9 marques ranging from light to heavy body so its pretty versatile kit.

Image Copyright of Lance Surujbally

Image Copyright of Lance Surujbally

The F30E part is however a bit of a unique one. This actually relates to the field in which the sugarcane that went into this Rum was grown! Essentially the full title is Uitvlugt Field #30 East. This Rum distilled in 1985 as stated and it was bottled in 2012. It saw a full 27 years of tropical age and lost over 90% of the barrel contents (barrel numbers #10548, #10552 and #10553) to the Angels Share. Not a great return for your patience as only 814 bottles were produced at an eye watering 60.7%.

Velier UF30E 1985 – 60.7% abv

uf30e-glass

Tasting Notes

Glass: The Rum is a dark mahogany and gold in the glass….reminiscent of golden syrup. Initial aromas are punchy alcohol that has a stinging astringency to it….it is also brimming with Muscovado sugar aromas. There is that familiar nose of burnt syrupy sugar and warming liquorice. Prunes, raisins and medjool dates coated in milk chocolate. There is also a salty character to the nose. Oak is clearly present but nowhere near as dominating as I had anticipated. Its well-tempered and sat a few layers down. It plays off the sweeter dark fruit and syrup notes by combining with the liquorice to give a light bitterness that perfectly offsets the former. I have such a small sample of this Rum, I’ve been sitting with it for half an hour or so and have carefully added one drop of water, given it a swirl and awoken sticky ginger cake, star anise, cinnamon and the lightest whiff of window putty.

Mouth: This Rum has a bitter entry on the palate. It’s all liquorice and Pontefract cakes with light oak. There is a growing warmth that brings a black pepper spike to the mid palate and a moisture sapping astringent oak to the cheeks. Further careful sips reveal crystalized orange wheels, raisins, glace cherries, star anise and ginger. Sticky date and walnut cake also comes to mind along withe the fruit loaf that my Auntie Hazel used to make when I was a child…..She would ALWAYS burn the top….first time was probably a mistake, but I’m pretty sure that my reaction to my first taste of that bittersweet loaf meant that she deliberately burnt it on subsequent bakes. The finish, whilst not as long as I had anticipated runs the gamut of the flavours that preceded it with added lighter floral notes and drying charred oak. It is so unbelievably well integrated and balanced that even at its hefty 60+% its an absolute delight  to enjoy.

I only wish that I owned a bottle of this stuff. My sample will have been decanted, split, decanted and then kindly forwarded to me and I can only imagine the delights that would await you as you pop the cork on an unopened bottle of this. I’d expect a bigger more aggressive alcohol and oak astringency from a new bottle, but maybe I haven’t had to work as hard to find the good stuff as it has had plenty of time to stretch its legs and it performed with such class from the word go.

This UF30E represents a true piece of Rum making history in a glass and a testament to the art of Rum making and the value of extreme patience. I doubt that we’ll see the likes of this Rum again.

I turn 40 soon so if anyone is feeling generous…..this is what I’d like.

© Steven James and Rum Diaries Blog 2017. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material, both written and photographic without the express and written permission from this blog/sites author and owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Steven James and Rum Diaries Blog with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

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Velier Skeldon 1973 Full Proof

I think that it would only be right and proper to advise you up front that this is probably the best Rum that you’ll almost certainly never be able to buy….That is unless you have the contacts and the disposable income as the bottles that I have seen have sold for upwards of 1200 Euros……A strange way to start an article I know, ‘Here’s something I know that you’ll not get to experience’. But I have been very fortunate in the contacts and friends that I have made purely through sharing a mutual love of a bottled spirit, and I have been very lucky enough to have been granted the opportunity to try this mythical creature courtesy of a very generous friend and writer….take a bow Lance….You are a gentleman and a scholar.

Skeldon 1

Photograph Copyright of Lance Surujbally

There are precious few resources about this particular Rum online and even fewer resources on the background of the distillery. I will of course link to those resources throughout this article. One of the ways that I conduct the tastings that throw out these meandering brain dumps that I’m unsure if anyone cares for, is to always complete my own notes before looking for other articles. It is so easy to almost fool yourself into thinking that you can taste and smell certain things that others with perhaps more trained noses and palates can detect, but there is a certain satisfaction when you then look around and see that you experience similar things but perhaps with differing memory based triggers. The wonderful world of Rum.

The distributors of this Rum are Velier. Velier are an Italian company headed up by the skilled and very charismatic Ruruki Gargano. I’ll save further elaboration for some upcoming articles. Anyhow, back to the important business at hand. From the limited information online, Skeldon it seems is not based ‘on the banks of the Demerara River’….though it is based on a different river. It is a small town in the East Berbice-Corentyne region on the banks of the Corentyne River which forms the border that Guyana shares with Suriname. The Rum itself was not it seems distilled at the Skeldon facility as this Distillery produced Rum only up until 1960. It is likely then that this Rum was produced at the now closed Uitvlugt Distillery on a Coffey Still. As none of the stills were apparently relocated, the still used must have been pre-existing in its Uitvlugt location. This information has been gathered from the quite frankly magnificent research and writing carried out by Marco Freyr and it can be found here. 

Velier Skeldon 1973 – 60.5% abv

Skeldon 73 Close

The Rum in question was distilled in 1973 and bottled in 2005 giving it a massive 32 years of tropical age. In this day and age that it unbelievable. Barrel marks are <SWR> which according to Marco’s research could be either ‘Sir William Russell’ or more likely ‘Skeldon William Ross’, with William Ross being the founder of the Skeldon estate. The outturn of this release was a paltry 544 bottles….I don’t have information on the exact losses to the angels share but it surely must’ve been 80% plus. Here we go…

Tasting Notes

Skeldon 2

Photograph Copyright of Lance Surujbally

In the glass – You immediately get the impression that you are about to be a part of something really special. The Rum itself is so so dark and brooding. It is a mahogany that when held to the light displays a vibrant dark red reminiscent of ripe Victoria plums. There is a very apparent greenish hue to the ring of liquid where it meets the glass further indicating a good deal of time spent in oak. A swirl leaves a ring of liquid that slowly develops small beads. It takes a good 2 or 3 minutes for a few of those beads, not all of them, to slowly make their way back home to the rest of their rummy buddies in the glass. Getting your nose within a foot of the glass overpowers your senses with raisins and prunes. Very inviting. Moving closer to the glass, there is a slight nutty quality that draws you into something that is reminiscent of a really good pint of Porter or a nice Chocolate Stout and all of the chocolate and coffee notes that they carry within them. There is a slight hint of bitterness too that reminds me of a freshly opened tin of treacle….this then develops into a soft liquorice. Time is certainly key with this Rum. You don’t spend 32 years in a barrel, numerous years sitting in a bottle and then reveal all straight away. Coming back to the glass 10 minutes later, there is a sour black cherry note that is lifted upon the brooding heavy stone fruit. One thing that I’m not suffering from is a feeling that there has been too much time spent in the barrel. Wood influence I certainly there but it is not dominant. Maybe it is responsible for the sour black cherry and slight bitterness? The last thing that hits me, some 30 minutes after pouring is the slightest menthol note. To be honest, If I could smell only one Rum until the end of my days it would be a close call between the Velier Diamond 1999 or this Velier Skeldon 1973.

Skeldon 73 GlassIn the mouth – The initial entry is all-encompassing. There is a slight, but only slight, bite from the alcohol. But its good to be reminded that you’re drinking a high-proof spirit. This swiftly gives way to a really pleasant warming heat that envelops your whole mouth in a silky dark chocolate resplendent with intense notes of coffee. The best way to reference this, for me, is to go back to the pint of Porter or Chocolate Stout. Huge bitter notes are in abundance and it is liquorice leading the way now. This dies down and leads into prunes and a homemade blackcurrant jam that are themselves starting to morph into a really oaky, well aged PX Sherry minus the cloying nature. It is a big Rum, but not a chewy Rum. It is such a well-balanced prospect that it manages to release all of the waves of flavour almost in some sort of other worldly cosmic order to take you on a journey through all 32 years of its life. Each facet gets ample time in the spotlight, all being held upright and slowly ushered along by the strong spine of coffee and liquorice. The oak brings with it a cutting Steven Wright or Jack Dee like dryness. Now we are almost at the really saddening part….assessing the finish using the remains of the sample. It should come as no surprise that it is long….very long. Coffee and chocolate lead the way before the prunes elbow their way in. Bitter liquorice follows before, several minutes later, a real sense of black olives surprises you with an almost salty brine. Sensational stuff.

This Rum is everything a Rum should be. It smells amazing. Tastes amazing. Is unbelievably well-balanced. Is relaxed whilst remaining focussed, and it delivers an experience that must be savoured. Sure the 60.5% is there, and it is a bit punchy, but still also massively drinkable up there. It has none of the tongue numbing factors usually associated with high-proof spirits. Never once did my senses feel compromised. Things like this are quickly becoming impossible to find. With Veliers almost exclusive choice of the 100% tropically aged Demerara stocks at DDL now all but ended with the release of El Dorados Rare Collection, this truly is a moment in time.

If I were a man who used expletives within articles, and those that know me know that I rarely swear *cough*, I would find quite a few strong words to extol the virtues of this mythical creature.

So the big question is, if you see it, should you pay upwards of 1200 Euros for it? That decision can only be yours. It is certainly an experience….and a bloody good one at that. There is history attached to this Rum. Stories of closed distilleries and upheaval. A dwindling industry and a concentrating of resources. If that is your bag, you already know your answer to the question. For me, I don’t have the resources to part with such cash. If I did, I would already own a bottle. It’s simply that good. The fact that I have been able to experience it is something that I’m hugely thankful for. I’d offer something of equal value to Lance, but sadly that’d mean handing over a kidney….or an arm…and I kinda like having a full complement.

© Steven James and Rum Diaries Blog 2016. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material, both written and photographic without the express and written permission from this blog/sites author and owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Steven James and Rum Diaries Blog with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

Compagnie Des Indes Caraibes Blend

CDI LogoThis brand is a new discovery to me and it is in fact not yet on general sale in the UK. It is coming though. At the recent Boutique Bar Show in Manchester I managed to speak to a chap called Will from Imported Brands and they are apparently bringing the Guadeloupe 16 and Caraibes Blend to the UK. My knowledge of the brand came from social media having seen snippets of information but resigning myself to never being able to try the Rums due to location. However, on a recent trip to Paris we visited the quite spectacular Christian de Montaguère store and were blown away by the volume of amazing Rums on display. Browsing the shelves I happened upon an amazing sight…..the current range of Compagnie Des Indes Rums!

Compagnie Des Indes CDM

I knew that I needed to leave with at least one expression….the Caraibes Blend seemed like a good choice…..but then I spotted a Barbados 16 from Foursquare Distillery bottled at 45%. I left with both. In hindsight, I should’ve picked up one of each as there were so many expressions that interested me…but both money and luggage space conspired against me…

Compagnie Des Indes

Compagnie Des Indes is a French company, and one that is the brainchild of Florent Beuchet. Florent has both a Rum and a Spirits background. His father owns a winery and also the Emile Pernot Absinthe Distillery, and Florent was the Banks Rum Brand Ambassador in New York for a 2 year period. The idea behind Compagnie Des Indes as a company is an attempt to pay homage to eighteenth century companies such as the English, Dutch and French East India Companies that would travel to distant lands to import rare commodities into their respective home countries. Rums are selected by Compagnie Des Indes and imported into France for bottling and release. More often than not these are single cask releases that are chosen as they are believed to best display the character of their country of origin. These releases are for the most part bottled without the addition of caramel colour or sugars and they are for the most part bottled above the standard 40% abv (there are exceptions). Compagnie Des Indes want to take you on a journey through these far-flung places by presenting authentic representations that are the embodiment of  their origin. As a breakaway from the single casks (and the principles of the single casks), they have two blends. The Latino Blend which has a 5yr age statement and the Caraibes Blend which has no age statement. The focus of this article will be the Caraibes Blend….if you’ve tuned into any of the social media channels that we here at Rum Diaries Blog frequent, you’ll be more than aware of our love for the easy-going nature of this Rum….but lets look at the ins and outs….

Compagnie Des Indes Caraibes Blend – 40% abv

Caraibes BottleThere are three countries contributing to the Rums within this blend. Barbados, Trinidad and Guyana. The blend is 50% Trinidad, 25% Barbados and 25% Guyana. Age wise, the components range between 3 and 5 years old, and they are all column distilled Rums. Florent has been very open with me which is great, and I can tell you that there has been 15g/L of organic sugarcane syrup added along with E150A Caramel Colouring. Given the ‘single cask’ nature of the planned releases, the Caraibes, alongside the Latino, Jamaica 5 and Jamaica 5 Navy Strength will be constants in the range. It bodes well as I would be keen to replace the bottle…

Tasting Notes

In the glass: The Rum displays itself as a dull gold in the glass and a little swirl releases plentiful but slow droplets. The aromas appear to be very light and intertwined and include chocolate, raisins, vanilla and a nutty quality. There is also something like light banana but apart from the chocolate, none of the aromas are robust. It appears to be a crowd pleaser rather than an intense aroma bomb with nothing too challenging. Maybe the broad brush approach has been adopted…nothing dazzling but absolutely nothing not to like…all nice and easy-going stuff.

In the mouth: Straight  away the Rum is very warming and carrying with it a kick of peppery spice which is quickly tamed by a growing, but not intense sweetness. The mouthfeel is an all-encompassing one which is surprising given the weightless qualities of the aromas. Its relative youthfulness is obvious and there is little to no oak showing in the mouth. Chocolate, raisins and vanilla are all present and accounted for alongside that light banana and something reminiscent of hazelnut yoghurt!?! That’s about it really. The finish is quite a short one and is perhaps the Rums weakness. Peaches are present as are chocolate and raisins but it is too short-lived to really savour. I suppose that means that you need to sip again….but it would’ve been nice to get more length on the finish.

You’re going to maybe think my summation of this Rum is a little strange….There is nothing about this Rum that would stop me recommending it to you…in fact, I 100% urge you to go out and buy a bottle if you can find an outlet. I have enjoyed numerous visits to my bottle as it is very easy to drink and is a really tasty prospect. There is a heck of a lot to like, just not a great deal to experience. Its characteristics remind me of something like Diplomatico Reserva Exclusiva….thats a crowd pleaser with mass appeal too, but the Caraibes is nowhere near as sweet and cloying as the Diplomatico, which plays out in its favour. The Caraibes blend doesn’t truly dazzle on either the entry or the finish but it is competent enough and interesting enough to be just a huge pleasure to drink…no matter what mood you are in. It is priced to sell ( I paid 29 Euros ) and there is a certain honesty to the Rum and the brand. Providing it does actually make it to the UK, I will absolutely be picking up another bottle. This may be my new ‘Introduce a non-Rum drinker to Rum’ bottle such is its nature. Considering this is classed as one of the entry-level bottlings in the range, I am so excited to see what other delights Florent has chosen within the Compagnie Des Indes range.

As a side note, it makes a beautiful Rum Old Fashioned!

3-0-star

© Steven James and Rum Diaries Blog 2015. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material, both written and photographic without the express and written permission from this blog/sites author and owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Steven James and Rum Diaries Blog with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

Rumburra Orach

RB-logoYou can be forgiven for having never heard of this particular Rum brand as I most certainly had no idea of their existence until a chance Twitter based encounter made me very intrigued by the Rum. One thing led to another and I find myself in possession of a bottle of Rumburra Orach. Rumburra is a play on the Rums Edinburgh origins and Orach is the Gaelic way of saying Golden. I always like to find out the source of the Rums in a blend and I am keen to understand the origins and background of a brand.

Just over twelve months ago, Gregor Hutt, along with other family members, decided to start a project blending their own Rum. They sourced a contract distiller to blend the Rum and set about obtaining a selection of Caribbean Rum. The Rum itself is a blend of four overproof Rums that are aged in their country of origin prior to being blended, reduced to bottling strength and bottled in Scotland. Numerous attempts were made to adjust the quantities of each of the Rums in the blend to arrive at the current bottled product.

Rumburra Orach – 40% ABV

Rumburra Bottle 1

Rumburra Bottle 2The blend, composed entirely from Column Distilled Rums, comprises a 6-year-old Rum from Guyana’s Demerara Distillers Limited, a 3-year-old Rum from Jamaica’s Hampden Distillery, a 1-year-old Rum from Barbados’s Foursquare Distillery and a 1-year-old Rum from Trinidad’s Angostura Distillery. All rums are blended and left to marry for a short period prior to the 70% ABV Rum blend being reduced to its bottling strength of 40% ABV. Flavourless caramel colouring is added to the blend to stabilise the colour of the batches after the water has been added and it is bottled not too far from Edinburgh city centre. Gregor is quite keen to hammer home the point that aside from the Scottish Water and Caramel Colouring, nothing else is added to the blend. Good information to know.

The label is quite understated with only black and silver present. It should catch your eye on a shelf when placed next to a myriad of colourful labels so shouldn’t get lost. The rum is a nice dark golden colour in the bottle and it looks pretty inviting……so let me tell you how it tastes.

Tasting Notes

In the glass: The rum displays itself as a light, vibrant gold and swirling the glass releases long thin legs. The first aroma to spring from the glass is that of a fruity honey. There is absolutely no astringency at all with the rum. Slight Demerara notes come through alongside overripe banana and malted milk biscuits. Light caramel carries the banana further forward alongside subtle sugarcane notes and fresh mango. There is a light aroma of pink shrimp foam sweets and marshmallow. This is a very pleasant Rum to sit with and the blend really does bring character to it and it hints at a complexity within. I can’t wait to taste it.

In the mouth: The rum is very balanced on entry. It washes over your mouth with a light bite of pepper. This immediately subsides and leaves your mouth awash with fruit but this rapidly dries out. Peaches, and light but certainly present Demerara drag along caramel. Further sips reveal honey, a touch of leather and cherries. It has a medium body and on the way down it leaves your mouth with a peppery bite and a hint of the savoury. The finish is of a medium length and full of oak and peach loop sweets. Tobacco rounds out the aromas as you sniff the glass.

The rum is really well-balanced and the flavours aren’t clamouring for your attention. It is not as complex to taste as it is to smell but that is in no way a bad thing. It is quite an understated product that creates no fuss in its presentation yet provides way more depth and character than numerous other Rums that have high marketing budgets and have ad campaigns and labels full of words such as Premium.

I have also been informed of a few cocktail recipes that have been worked on by the folks at Rumburra. They have no names but one is a definite winter warmer whilst the other sounds like a very refreshing summery concoction. They can be found at the bottom of this article.

This Rum retails for around £25 a bottle and at that price, for me, you get a very tasty Rum. It isn’t available in many outlets at all which is a real shame as this deserves to be way more well-known than it is.

Cocktails

Ingredients:

37.5ml Rumburra Orach

50ml Cloudy Apple Juice

20ml Cabernet Sauvignon

20ml Ginger & Lemongrass Cordial

2 dashes of Chocolate Bitters

Method:

Mix all ingredients into a heat proof jug and steam using a coffee machine steaming wand. Serve in a Martini glass with a large orange tweel.

Ingredients:

50ml Rumburra Orach

25ml Lime Juice

50ml Clear Apple Juice

Half a Granny Smith Apple

Small bunch of Coriander

A pinch of Black Pepper

Method:

Muddle all ingredients in a Boston glass. Shake well with ice and strain into a Collins glass. Top with Ginger Ale.

Both sound great!

© Steven James and Rum Diaries Blog 2014. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material, both written and photographic without the express and written permission from this blog/sites author and owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Steven James and Rum Diaries Blog with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

El Dorado 12yr Old Demerara Rum

This write-up will see me rounding out my current El Dorado rum collection which in one way is quite sad, but it also means that I have an excuse to seek out the 3yr old, 5yr old and 8yr old offerings…..there is a 25yr old offering that is very limited and very expensive but I chose architecture as a career so that’s pretty much put an end to me ever owning that one! This is the first El Dorado rum that I picked up and is therefore responsible for my interest in the brand, both for the taste and the fantastic history of the producers. It was also my first Demerara sipping rum as opposed to mixers and it really opened my eyes.

ED 12

As before, it’s going to be useful if you brush up on the history of El Dorado and DDL and you can do that by reading my El Dorado 15 write-up here.

I have also mentioned the stills that DDL use in their rum production and their own website has a terrific heritage section and that can be found here and is well worth a read.

El Dorado 12 is a blend of 3 stills. 2 column stills including the worlds only wooden Coffey still and a unique double wooden pot still. Like its brothers and sisters it has also been the recipient of numerous awards including Gold medals at the Beverage Tasting Institute of Chicago and ‘Best in Class’ at the IWSC in 2008, 2009, 2010 and 2011. It featured in the New York Times ‘Top 10 list and won ‘Best Rum aged over 12 Years Old’ at the 2010 Golden Rum Barrel Awards as part of the UK Rumfest. Again, as with the 15 and 21 year old rums, the age referenced is the youngest rum in the blend……again, pretty impressive stuff.

ED 12 Rear

You’ll be wanting to know how this rum stands up against its older siblings…….

Tasting Notes

In the glass: The rum is a dark foreboding red and amber in the glass and swirling the glass releases nice medium-sized droplets. The first aroma that I get is that of sweet sweet sweet thick cut orange marmalade and spicy Christmas pudding. As stodgy as that sounds, the rum never smells like it will be heavy. I can also pick up on cinnamon, vanilla, brown sugar and toffee. I cant wait to taste it.

In the mouth: Instant unfaltering sweetness hits you immediately with a little burn and a spice kick on the middle of your tongue. There is so much fruitiness to this rum as it coats your tongue. Orange, banana, apricot, peach and raisins all jump out at you. My word its good stuff. The finish is dry and well-balanced with no real dominant flavour or burn……just a massively moreish smooth brown sugar.

It’s a difficult thing to try to place one of the rums over the other purely on taste grounds as I’d say that all three of them offer something unique that makes them worthy of a place in any collection. If I were to bring the other factor into it, cost, then it all depends on your own situation. All things considered though, I absolutely love all three but (sample of the 21 aside), the bottle that has most missing from it is the El Dorado 12….not by much, but it will definitely be the one that gets replace immediately as it is the one that I don’t think that I could be without.

© Steven James and Rum Diaries Blog 2013. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material, both written and photographic without the  express and written permission from this blog/sites author and owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Steven James and Rum Diaries Blog with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

El Dorado 15yr Old Demerara Rum

I picked up a bottle of the 12yr old El Dorado quite early on in my collection and it wasn’t until a few months back that I picked up the 15yr old from Gerry’s in Soho as it was their ‘Rum of the Month’. It was inevitable really as I enjoy the 12yr old rum so much. But the 15yr old is a completely different animal. What has taken me by surprise is the warm and open friendliness of the ‘rum community’ that exists both online via Social Media, Blogs, Importers, Distributors and Brand Ambassadors. The ability to approach these people for further info and opinions is invaluable. Love Drinks are the UK-based distributor for El Dorado and Stef Holt is the International Brand Ambassador. Both have been very helpful in both talking to me about the products and pointing me in the right direction for info……and it’s the info that I will start with.

El Dorado Logo

El Dorado rums are produced by Demerara Distillers Limited (DDL) at the Plantation Diamond Distillery. This lies on the east bank of the Demerara River, Demerara County, Guyana (which is on the north-eastern shoulder of South America). Sugar and Rum production has existed in Demerara County since the 17th Century. The big breakthrough came in the 1650’s when the British planters introduced the pivotal process of distilling. This proved to be so popular that by 1670, every sugar estate had a small still attached to it which meant that by the 1700’s there were well over 300 independent estates involved in producing their own unique rums in over 300 stills. Through time these estates and distilleries have been amalgamated to the point that the Plantation Diamond Distillery operated by DDL is the last remaining distillery in Guyana. Here they have retained the old marques, traditional skills and original stills which make Demerara Rum distinctive. With 9 different stills, there is no other rum distillery that can offer the range and variety that DDL can spread over 20 different styles of rum.

As the only surviving distillery in the region, DDL operate the last remaining wooden Coffey still in the world as well as the only wooden pot stills, both of which add to the flavour profiles of the El Dorado rums. All El Dorado rums are produced using only local Demerara sugar cane. The rums are then aged in small American oak casks before blending to by the master distiller. The rums are left to marry for at least 3 months ensuring the development of flavour and complexity.

El Dorado 15yr old Demerara Rum is a blend of 2 column stills (one of which is the wooden Coffey still) and 2 unique, wooden pot stills.

El Dorado 15

El Dorado 15

The picture above is taken from the back of my bottle and shows the age statement. The unique thing about the El Dorado rums is that the age reflected in the title of the rum is the minimum age. There will be older rums in the blend. El Dorado 15yr old rum has received numerous awards and titles including ‘Best Rum in the World’ 7 times at the International Wine & Spirit Competition, the Platinum Award at the Caribbean Rum Taste Test and it received 96/100 at the Chicago Beverage Tasting.

El Dorado 15yr Old Rum

El Dorado 15yr Old Rum

Tasting Notes

In the glass: The rum is a deep gold colour with orange flashes. Instantly it looks quite oily and when I swirl the glass it leaves short stumpy reluctant legs which makes me think that this will coat my mouth. I can instantly smell brown sugar, dark fruit (prunes and dates), vanilla, a little spice (maybe from the 15 years in oak) and what can only be described as liquorice! The longer you leave it in your glass before sipping, the more this reveals itself.

In the mouth: The rum instantly coats my mouth and tongue. It is warming but not harsh and there appears to be very little alcohol burn, even at 43%. Instantly the liquorice shows itself along with a dark treacle taste which provides a little bitterness. Dark fruit is present and I can taste the dates and prunes which add a chewy toffee flavour and feel. I can taste a slight orange flavour and then the liquorice returns to round out quite a dry finish. The finish is not too long but does leave your mouth with an almost leathery and tobacco warmth. This instantly leaves you wanting more and when you do, the liquorice returns, this time tasting slightly sweeter.

I drank mine straight with no ice, and that works fine for me. This is an amazing rum and deserves to be in your collection. I wouldn’t say that it is necessarily a better rum than the 12yr old, but it is definitely different to the 12yr old which appears to offer up more fruit flavours, and therefore if you have the means, both will offer plenty of enjoyment in return………I wonder what the 21yr old tastes like…..and the holy grail….the 25yr old…..

Pick up a bottle and let me know what you think.

© Steven James and Rum Diaries Blog 2013. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material, both written and photographic without the  express and written permission from this blog/sites author and owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Steven James and Rum Diaries Blog with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.