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DESCRIBING RUMS IN A WAY THAT PAINTS A PICTURE AS WELL AS GIVES THE EVERYDAY READER REFERENCES THAT ARE BOTH FAMILIAR AND RELATABLE

I started in the world of wine tasting around 2006. These tastings were always blinded, so you had to work on finding and building a repertoire of a broad range of descriptors in order to piece together what you had in your glass...So when it comes to smell and flavour description, I’ve been doing it for quite a few years. In 2015, my interest in rum was sparked and since then I have thrown myself deep in to the world of this amazing spirit and wonderful people.


/Kris von Stedingk

 
 
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  • Kris von Stedingk

El Dorado Special Reserve - 15 yo - 43% abv.

Updated: Dec 27, 2018

Rum-Review-A-Day: Day 22 - El Dorado Special Reserve - 15 yo - 43% abv.

Today I will be spending a bit of time with a old classic that I am sure many people reading this have tried. There of course will be a little bit of controversy around this rum, as it does contain added sugar. According to measurements from the Swedish Systembolaget and Johnny Drier, added sugar content ranges between 31-38 g/L. Let’s just say that this is a level of sugar that you will notice when you drink it. That being said, I chose to review this rum today because this is the bottle that got me loving rum. Sure, it’s far from what I reach for today, but I stand by this being a good quality, entry level rum that is easy to drink and appeals to the masses…I will now put the sugar discussion aside, as it is discussed enough elsewhere.

This rum is produced by the Demerara Distillers Limited (DDL) in Guyana, the only Demerara rum distillery still in production today. The El Dorado 15 is a blend of 4 stills; Enmore and Diamond Coffey stills as well as Port Mourant and Versailles wooden pot stills. The rums are aged in ex-bourbon barrels and the final juice consists of rums ranging from 15-25 years old (15 on the label reflecting the youngest rum in the blend).

On the nose - Burnt sugar, molasses, liquorice, sweet maple syrup. The first notes suggest that this will be slightly sweet, although the artificial vanilla aspects that one finds in many dosed rums is completely absent here. Instead we find a nice amount a wet oak with well integrated whiffs of vanilla, chocolate and tobacco. Not overly spicy. Some cinnamon, all spice and star anise, but none of these are on the main stage. The fruity aspects are quite elegant; dried plums and raisins together with a quite strong orange/clementine peel thing going on. When you combine the slight spice with the sweetness from the maple syrup and the orange aspects coming through, this rum almost reminds me of a pre-made (and well made) rum old fashioned.

On the palate - OK…It is sweet. But the sweetness is integrated. The bitter wood aspect with rich dark oak, bitter almonds together with the burnt sugar and molasses actually complement the sweetness in a quite enjoyable manner. Light vanilla helps smooth out the sharp all spice and star anise notes. The fruit is there, although less so than I was expecting from the nose. Here I find stewed apples and heavy raisin notes. Overly sweet candied raisins like you find in Raisin Bran- two scoops! Somewhat of a port wine base flavour going on…There are interesting flavours going on here that I really like, but I do find it hard to get past the overlaying maple syrup-like character that is quite dominant. It’s actually an interesting exercise writing a review on a dosed rum; although I do find it delicious, the sweetness takes over, making it much more difficult to find the subtle complex notes that are the true foundation of the rum. Shame, I imagine that this rum without the dosing would be quite the sipper, even for the more seasoned tasters.

The mouthfeel is thick, oily and a bit sticky. If you want flavour that coats your mouth, you’ve got that here. The rum is nicely warm, although I could have gone with a bit more heat to counteract the sweetness. The finish is medium and leaves you with sweet and sticky prune juice.

Overall, I think it’s a decent rum, and I can see why it sparked my interest is this wonderful category of spirit. The sugar, while making the rum overly approachable, numbs out some of the beautiful flavours that could have been.

As far as sweet rums go, this is a great one to keep on hand.


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