El Dorado 25 Year Old Rum – 1986 Vintage

I last wrote about El Dorado Rums a good few years ago. To summaries a little about the brand, I previously compiled this information:

“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.”

With that said, maybe we have a look at this expensive bottling.

El Dorado 25 Year Old Rum – 1986 Vintage – 43% abv

One thing to say from the off, is that the age statements on El Dorado bottlings are pretty much bullet proof. What you get with it is a minimum age….not aged up to. Looking to obtain blend component information I was struggling to unearth a complete list but a glance at the review of the 1988 release over at Lance’s site, The Lone Caner, gave a few of the components. The blend contains, amongst others, EHP from the Enmore Wooden Coffey Still, PM from the Port Mourant Double Wooden Pot Still and AN from the Albion French Savalle Still. There have been releases so far from 1980, 1986 and 1988 and so far as I know, these components have been present in all. Presentation is suitably flashy for something that will set you back around £435 in the UK as it is still available at Drinks Supermarket in its 1986 guise. Lets see if it warrants that price tag…..

Tasting Notes

Nose: Not as giving as I’d hoped. Initial aromas are of banana caramel and thick molasses. Walnuts. Iced coffee and walnut cake. With time a maceration of prunes, raisins and dates shows itself but you have to work hard. I’d expect maybe a hint of bitterness given its age and components, but not a hint of that PM anise is present. Maple syrup like aromas and a clear and obvious sweetening. It almost smells granulated if that’s possible. A hint of light floral notes with concentration but man this is dull.

Mouth: Very thick mouthfeel….sadly I feel that it’s not from craft. Quite oily….though it feels more ‘greasy’ as is its layering of your tongue. Vanilla. Melted Quality Street Caramel Pennies. Each sip clings to your mouth in a most alarming way. That coffee and walnut cake complete with coffee icing. Mild raisin like notes like a poor quality old PX sherry. A hint of citrus oil….maybe. None of the expected oak from its 25 years. None of that enjoyable tannic bitterness that I was craving. It’s just sweet….full of dead spots and is a huge disappointment. The finish which is short, is all vanilla, oily sweetness and sweet soft liquorice. A crying shame.

If this is Super Premium, you can keep it. I’ll take entry-level.

*Hydrometer Test Result – Label stated abv 43% – Measured abv 32.5% – 39.8 g/l additives*

0.5 / 5

Very often, myself included in the past, the Rum community have given an easier ride to El Dorado given the fact that they have such a collection of heritage stills at DDL. But one evening I contemplated this approach…..and I questioned myself. I’ve seen reasoning that this product is nowhere near as bad as a lot of products like Bumbu, Don Papa and the like and sure, it doesn’t taste as bad as those offerings. But ask yourself, is taking a poor distillate, filling it full of additions and then hawking it as ‘premium rum’ for £35 a bottle really worse than what’s happened here? Taking a blend of quality distillates from heritage stills and through whatever means, sweetening them to the point of removing so much character that you render it unrecognisable….and then selling it as a ‘super premium’ product for £435? I find both practices massively deceitful, and I find the latter very disrespectful. It’s such a shame as this could’ve, and should’ve been wonderful. Sadly, it’s a dull, uneventful mess.

Fortunately we have the El Dorado Rare Collection to fall back upon…….

© Steven James and Rum Diaries Blog 2019. 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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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 21yr Old Demerara Rum

El Dorado Logo

My love of El Dorado rums is no secret….I seem to talk about them to friends at every opportunity and sing their praises on a weekly basis. I’ve always thought that the older a rum, the better it is, but that opinion belonged to my younger, more naïve self. Having tried a few rums by the same producers, I’ve discovered that this is not necessarily the case. There are some amazing young rums. Fortunately for me, Love Drinks who are the UK distributor for El Dorado were kind enough to furnish me with a small sample bottle of El Dorado 21.

ED 21

For the in-depth background on the El Dorado rums and DDL, it is worth familiarising / reacquainting yourself with my El Dorado 15 write-up found here…….

Right, now that you’re all refreshed, I can tell you that El Dorado 21 is a blend of rum from 3 stills…..the only remaining wooden Coffey still, a column still and a unique wooden pot still. Hot on the heels of the award-winning El Dorado 15, the El Dorado 21 itself is no slouch when it comes to plaudits. It scored 98 out of 100 at the 2007 Beverage Tasting Institute of Chicago, the highest mark ever handed to a rum. It also won Best in Class in 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010 and 2011 at the IWSC and a Gold Medal at Canada’s International Rum Festival.

El Dorado SPecial Reserve

The above is all well and good, but what you really want to know is how it tastes…..so here we go…..

Tasting Notes

In the glass: The rum is dark bronze, oily and looks like it’ll be more of a snack than a drink. When I swirl the glass, slow walls of droplets slide down the sides….a little like a melting iceberg. I instantly smell brown sugar, molasses, vanilla, and toffee. As the glass sits I can pick up orange, spice and chocolate. It smells massively complex, revealing new aromas as the glass sits. This smells like it will be very sweet.

In the mouth: As soon as the rum hits my tongue my mouth is enveloped by sweetness. What does surprise me is how dry the rum is….I didn’t expect that. There is instant heat and warmth and I can pick up dates, spicy oak and toffee, immediately followed by an almost coffee like taste. This is definitely robust and full-bodied. It’s so oily you feel like you could bite into it. It is massively complex with layer upon layer of flavours. There is absolutely no burn, just spice, chocolate and date-like toffee lingering in my mouth long after the rum has gone. Later there is an aroma of leathery tobacco left on the glass…..its definitely a keeper!

This is certainly a special occasion rum with a price point of around £75. I don’t think that you’d ever be disappointed with the rum at any point but when you can pick up a bottle of the 15yr old and 12yr old for a total of around £76, with my income level, I’d probably look to buy the two younger offerings. I just feel that given the price, I wouldn’t enjoy it as often as I enjoy the 12 and 15. If money were no object…..I’d have a shelf brimming with the stuff.

It offers a completely different experience to the younger rums, they are most certainly a family and each offers its own stand out traits…..so if you do have the money and the desire to invest in something that would give you endless evenings of joy….go for it!

© 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.