Nose: Mouth-wateringly good. Base notes of treacle and molasses are accentuated by plenty of fruit; BBQ’d banana, raisins, cherries and other stone fruits. Hints of PX sherry, clove, cacao, whispers of smoke and top notes of orange oil. The sort of aroma that words can’t begin to describe.
Neat: Outstanding, world-class. The complexity of flavour here is so great that a written description can’t begin to do it justice. Despite the clear molasses base and wood influence, this is a rum of unexpected lightness of touch. None of the flavours are out of kilter, and nor is it too sweet. Dark chocolate, cherry juice, coffee, vanilla, clove, vanilla, sherry, dates, raisins, orange marmalade and tobacco are all discernible and sit together harmoniously. The incredible length is characterised by dark fruits and a gentle spiced dark chocolate.
Mixing: Despite this being a sipping rum of frankly epic proportions it would be a great shame never to mix with it, for doing so can reveal a whole raft of flavour previously unseen. The Old Fashioned is a particularly good example, where the selection of bitters offers an opportunity to highlight a range of flavours, from fruity, to spicy, to aromatic, this rum has it all. The result will be remarkably smooth, and it is inevitable after such careful distilling and ageing that the rough edges that bring some cocktails alive will not be present. Although tasty, this is probably not the most appropriate rum for creamy drinks such as the creamy Steel Drum Milk Punch or Roosevelt Cocktail with its use of orange juice and dry vermouth; it just feels a bit crass. Sticking with a presidential theme, the signature Kennedy Manhattan (recipe below), with its smart use of maple syrup highlights both the sweet and aromatic notes of this rum to delightful success. For a contrast, the bite of a Sazerac made with a generous amount of absinthe makes barely a dent in the bold unctuousness of this rum, a wonderful combination.
Signature Cocktail – Kennedy Manhattan
50ml El Dorado 15yr
20ml Dry Vermouth
4 Dash Boker’s Bitters
5ml Maple Syrup
Stir ingredients with ice and strain into a chilled glass. Garnish with a maraschino cherry.
Nose: The best Christmas cake you can imagine. Refined, enticing aromas of candied peel, allspice, cinnamon, dried fruit and golden syrup.
Palate: Complex, spicy dried fruit, with interweaving layers of honey, gingerbread and toasty oak. This is very classy stuff, never overbearing.
Finish: Honeyed, spicy finish that persists.
Comment: An exceptional rum, which has complexity in spades yet is beautifully balanced. Anyone who dismisses rum as a one-dimensional category should try this, and prepare to be wowed.
El Dorado rums are some of the very best you will find. Complex, yet easy-going, they are cram-packed with flavour and quite simply category-leading.
★: Terrible, only drink for a dare.
★★: Meh, not undrinkable but best left alone.
★★★: Reasonable, middle of the road.
★★★★: Tasty stuff, well worth seeking out.
★★★★★: Incredible, booze doesn’t get better than this. You need a bottle in your life.