Friday, 14 November 2014

Review 5 - El Dorado 8 year old

Photo copyright © H.Kristoffersen
The top of the El Dorado single digits. Budget demerara at its finest.

So before I go into the analysis of the rum itself, I have to spend a couple of  word on the mythos surrounding the company behind this product.

El Dorado is a brand from Demerara Distillers Limited (DDL) operating out of  Guyana. DDL is a state controlled company and the only active rum producer in Guyana today.

The rum tradition in Guyana goes back several hundred years and once there was a plethora of plantations – many of those having their own unique style of distillation.

When all those plantations started to shut down some of the plantations were bought by others and sometimes they decided to take over the closed plantations unique stills and thus preserving some of the rum heritage. When DDL was founded and only a few active plantations remained and as the started to close DDL bought them and transferred their now inactive stills to their own plant.

Today many of the old stills are still in use leaving DDL the possibility to create some very unique blends that no other rum producer can hope to achieve.

Guyanese rum is also called Demerara rum referring to the Demerara river. The style is quite unique when compared to rums from other parts of the Caribbean and Central and South America due to the many types of stills and therefore possible blends.

One interesting thing about Demerara rum is the age statements. Due to local regulations on the matter, the age statement of a Demerara rum will always state the youngest rum in the blend. So this rum in particular is a minimum of 8 years old. This is quite unique in a world where most molasses based rum has rather untrustworthy age statements.

The massive history of Demerara rum has intrigued me for a long time and also adds to my fascination of this particular style of rum. For more information on Demerara rum please check out my link page where you can find a link to a massive essay on the subject.

You can also visit the El Dorado and DDL webpage from the links in the end of this review.

(According to Cocktails Old Fashioned the primary component in this rum is rum from the Enmore wooden Coffey still - which is the only remaining wooden Coffey still in the world - and the Diamond metal Coffey still).

This is a midrange product from El Dorado topping the category with their 3 year old and 5 year old, but not in the same league as the 12, 15 or 21 year old – and nowhere near the 25 I suspect having never tried it. The standard bottle is no surprise.

The roundedness and the wide shoulders makes it stand out a little bit when comparing to bottles of typical low end rums. The base has a thickness to it and add a little weight.

On the mostly black label a little gold and red can be found, which makes it appear very clean and simple. We have the brand name, the age, ABV 40% and an almost watermark El Dorado logo.
The back has got another label with a little more information on the rum inside. No sales pitch though. Refreshing.
In the glass the rum comes off as a light amber colour with an almost orange hue. The leg-lets and droplets hint a quite light rum. Let us see if they are right.

When putting the old snout down the opening of the glass the first thing that literally hits me in the face is marinated herring. Yes. You read that right. A smell though a little more subtle and faint but just like the smell coming out when opening a jar of marinated herring. Pretty strange!

However when the herring drifts off some much more pleasant fragrances takes over. You have the standard oak spice, the sugar in the form of fudge, there is some lemon peel and finally a splash of pepper.

Reaching the mouth the herring is thankfully long gone and nowhere to be found. The rum has a lightish profile although the Demerara thickness is clearly present. Behind some nice oak is a lot of maple syrup. Out comes sweet and ripe jaffa oranges, raisins and just a drop of cough syrup.
A surprisingly interesting profile for a rum this young.

The syrup stays around for a while and then it becomes to sticky with notes of prunes and raisins. 
Almost no sting or other unpleasantries. Not much fuzz.

Rating and final thoughts
A very nicely put together rum which takes a solid form hold of the midrange of rums. It could easily 
rival rums of supposedly greater age and at its price point you would be lucky to find a better product.

However … This rum set me back €24. With a bit of luck and discount hunting I can find the El Dorado 12 year old for €27-30. With a margin that small I would choose the El Dorado 12 every single time.

This rum does indeed have its place in the world. But it does suffer a little bit by having a substantially better, bigger brother in the ED12 for just a few euros more and a just as good little brother for mixing in the El Dorado 5 year old for just a few euros less.

Still a very nice sipper if you want to try out some ol’ fashioned Demerara rum and do not want to rob the piggy bank more than absolutely necessary. My favourite budget Demerara so far.

Rating: 70/100


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