El Dorado 15 is one of the aged rum offerings from the fine folks at Demerara Distillers. Currently operating the only distillery in Guyana, Demerara Distillers provides the rum behind any number of labels on the U.S. and european markets. El Dorado is their own premier product line, and is quite a good one to boot. The term Demerara Rum and Guyanese Rum is pretty much interchangeable, with Guyana being the country and Demerara being the region.
One of the unique qualities about Demerara Distillers is their use of a wooden continuous (coffey) still, the Enmore still, which has (reportedly) been operating since around 1880, and is still in use today. This still produces the smokey rich quality enjoyed in the rums from Demerara Distillers. One of their finest being the El Dorado 15. I thought I’d sit with this one for a bit, and give my thoughts.
El Dorado 15 is a blend of rums aged up to 25 years in oak casks. Something you may notice about rums are the inconsistencies in aging. A 12 year could be an average age, the full age of the rum, or you could throw Solera method into that and really get the math boggling. Some countries have laws regarding the aging and labeling of rums, some don’t. Some distillers will put misleading numbers on the bottle (8, for example) with no note that there is any meaning to said number in order to skim around any laws.
Moving back to the rum, For one, I love the bottle. Images of seafaring adventures, a wax seal, lots of gold and emblems, it’s just plain nifty. Very rummy images. Please note, the bottle means nothing in the final score (unless it’s Pussers), but is certainly worth a mention.
Appearance: Visually, the rum is a rich and dark golden brown, with a bit of a coppery hue to it.
Nosing: The nose of this rum brings a lot of caramel, honey, brown sugar, vanilla, though it does fade within a few minutes in the glass. There’s something to the smell that reminds me of a warm and sunny morning. There’s just about everything you would expect in a high quality rum in the nose.
Tasting: Taste wise, this rum is packed to the gills with flavor. The nose leads right in to the palate with lots of honey, vanilla, caramel, and a hint of banana, all packed into a rich creamy texture. There’s a bit of the signature Demerara smoke to it on the back of the palate, and a finish that is extraordinarily smooth. This is a rum without much at all in the way of burn.
On Mixing: Mixing with this rum is tough to think about, which I say only because I could see myself easily finishing a bottle straight with no need for ice or any other fixings. Being an exceptionally sweet rum, the sugar of an Old Fashioned mixed with my favorite bitters for an O.F., Fees Barrel Aged, can be a bit much. An Improved Cocktail with Angostura or Angostura Orange bitters does work wonders with El Dorado 15, like framing a master rum blender’s work of art.
Score: I have to give this rum 5 out of 5 for this rating. It’s of exceptional quality, an extraordinary sipper, and something I would be happy to hand to anyone looking to get into aged or Demerara rums.
Other Information on El Dorado 15:
Cross-posted from the Mixoloseum blog
When searching through the liqueurs available at your local (or internet local) liquor store, there are some liqueurs that immediately catch your eye. After skimming over the peach brandys, various schnapps and CuraÃ§aos available, there are quite a few selections that just make you wonder how the hell they came up with that idea. One that particularly comes to mind, and thankfully arrived in my mailbox a few weeks back, is Castries Peanut Rum CrÃ©me.
Yes, Peanuts and Rum together again for the first time. Formerly known as “Nuts ‘n Rum”, this was relabeled sometime after 2005 as Castries, named for a region in St. Lucia, where it is distilled and bottled. The rum base is from St. Lucia distillers, makers of some regionally popular but difficult to find in the U.S. rums.
As a liqueur by itself, this stuff is, plainly said, just damned delicious. The nose starts off with a fair hint of vanilla and peanut, with the rum coming in to play if you take a real big whiff. The flavor is extremely well phased, with the cream initially blocking the peanut, making the peanut come into play later in the flavor, but it lingers ever so long. The flavor is like freshly roasted and crushed peanuts, like the peanut butter you’d get fresh made at a natural foods store. I’m as excited about this stuff as I was when I first found out about Thai Peanut Sauce. It’s like Peanut Butter in your dinner! Other flavors that come in to play are a slight bit of cinnamon at the end of the flavor. It’s an exquisitely well-balanced liqueur, with no flavor dominating, and a wonderful mouth feel without leaving you reaching for your toothbrush.
The bottle is, to say a few words, distinct. Resembling, perhaps, a peanut pod, it ends up a bit near the line of sex toy. Well, distinctive is better than being lost in the crowd I suppose.
As for mixing, I decided to give a shot to Rumdood’s Heartless Jezebel. However, being out of Amarula, I decided to give it a more potent edge. I present, the Half-harted Jezebel.
- 2 oz Castries Rum Cream
- 3/4 oz Cruzan Blackstrap Rum
- 3/4 oz Lemon Hart 80 Demerara Rum
- .5 oz St. Elizabeth Allspice Dram
- Fresh Cinnamon
Shake or Mix in top-down mixer with crushed ice. Pour into Old-Fashioned. Top with Cinnamon, and Garnish with a Cinnamon stick.
It’s a combination of that calm, mellow peanut flavor with a bright burst of cinnamon and allspice, backed by a hearty and rich combination of rums. I think you’ll like it. Try it against the original Heartless Jezebel, or have your own interesting Castries cocktail? Post your thoughts in the comments!
When you’re thinking about tiki drinks, and rum, one of the things that comes to mind is how Donn and Vic were able to blend rums to make such potent potables. Everyone else surely had a rum or two up their sleeve, why didn’t they think to grab the rum off of the shelf, and make the next great Rum-dinger?
One of Donn’s secrets was reaching for the unknown categories of Rum, bringing in different flavors to each blend. Probably his most used secret was Rum coming from Guyana, known as Demerara Rum. In the past, there were a number of distilleries operating under various labels, but nowadays the sole distiller on Guyana is Demerara Distillers, Ltd. Their signature line, El Dorado, boasts one of the largest product lines in Rum today, including a 151 proof, a dark, gold, white, and five different aged rums. This doesn’t even include the numerous rums they produce for other labels, and the products from the distillery that go into numerous other brands, including Pusser’s and Lemon Hart. At production rates of 26M Liters per year, that’s a lot of rum!
This smokey, rich molasses-based Rum was the secret sauce behind a number of Donn’s most famous creations, such as the Zombie, Coffee Grog, and the Demerara Dry Float. Vic had this to say about the stuff in his “Book of Food and Drink:”
“Demerara rum… has its own class. It is similar in some respects to dark Jamaica, but it has a dry burned flavor along with the aromatic and pungent flavor of the Jamaica rum. The makers of Demerara rums take great pride in obtaining distinctive flavor in their products and it is interesting to try to detect their flavoring agents.”
One of the biggest contributing factors to the unique flavors brought about from Demerara Distillers has to be the use of a 200 year old Coffey Still that’s been in continuous operation for around 150 years. The products of this still go into their finest rums, and is a particularly high selling point for Pusser’s, which gets a lot of its flavor from the unique combination of Demerara and Jamaican Rums.
Now, I couldn’t tell you precisely what brands Donn or Vic were using (Lemon Hart, Lamb’s Navy, and Hudson’s Bay were available at the time), though there are some hints in this Rebirth of the Zombie post on TikiCentral. These days though, the Demerara most available (and highly recommended) for mixing is Lemon Hart, which is available in 80 and 151 proof. The 151 can be distinguished solely by a red triangle in the upper left side (while facing) of the label denoting “151″. After a few rather sloshy mistakes, I now put a bright red speed pour on the top of my 151 bottle to distinguish the two.
I was given a few samples of the 12, 15, and 21 year rums by the folks at Demerara Distillers, and had imbibed plenty of the stuff down at Tales of the Cocktail. I am very pleased to have such good stuff generally available, if not locally, online, and am proud to boast almost the entire collection now at the Galley.
The 12 year rum starts off with a bit of a punch of smoke to the nose, but calms down after a few minutes in the glass. The taste is a bit of butterscotch, honey, and vanilla, with a sweet floral bite on the end. The viscosity of this rum is just pure joy. The 15 year is a touch dryer than the 12, still with a lot of the honey flavor. The nose is noticeably calmer, and almost floral. It is only slightly viscous, and has a gorgeous woody cinnamon finish to it. The nose on the 21 year old is almost transparent, with only the vaguest hints of a floral cologne, and honeycomb. The flavor is sharp, with a hefty alcoholic punch at the front, making way for cedar and citrus notes on the tongue. The 21 year is definitely one to try, but I don’t think you’ll be too disappointed with the younger rums. Now if only I could get my hands on a bottle of the 25 year, wouldn’t that be a treat?
While the higher aged rums can be a touch pricey to mix with, like Gary Regan says, crap in, crap out. The 12 year actually falls around the same price point ($24) as the Lemon Hart 80, and is quite a bit smoother, while maintaining that same sharp smoke note at the front. The biggest intial tell between the two is the rich, syrupy viscosity of the 12 year compared to the Lemon Hart 80. After sitting a few minutes, the notes of the 12 still stand strong, while the Lemon Hart 80 has lost a bit of its initial punch, but still packs a bit of burn on the end.
The 12 year El Dorado, while a lovely sipping Rum, absolutely shimmers and shines in this adaptation of a Trader Vic original, the Rum Pot.
- 1 1/2 El Dorado 12 year
- 1/4 oz Vanilla Syrup
- 1/2 oz Passion Fruit Syrup
- 3/4 oz Orange Juice
- 3/4 oz Lemon Juice
Shake well and pour into Double Rocks Glass.
The depth and sweetness of the Demerara Rum and the light citrus notes from the Lemon and Orange clash in mysterious and surprisingly complex ways. This is one of my favorites as of late, and has even been added to the permanent selection for the Tiki Third Tuesday at Teardrop Lounge menu.
First things first, I’ve got to give Rick over at Kaiser Penguin what the kids are calling “mad props” for coming up with this doozy of a Mixology Monday. And let me tell you, after a week of testing, my liver is well versed in exactly how much of a doozy it is.
So, here’s a bit of a historical take on this. The limit one per customer, as far as has ever been told, started with Don the Beachcomber. His menu, shown below, has a number of drinks with special “restrictions” on them. This is a 1956 souvenir menu mailer from Hawaii. Mahalo to Mimi at Arkiva Tropika for the imagery.
As you can see, there are quite a few drinks there with a bit of a limit on them, and for some damned good reason. These drinks are killer-dillers in the literal, or LIVERal sense. Oh ho, fun with words.
Anyhow, one of the Beachcomber’s most famous stories comes from the time a man wagered Don, betting he could down 5 Zombies (limit two) without breaking a rum-soaked sweat. So, they both put 100 bucks in the kitty, and agree to the challenge the next night. The man shows up, Don starts mixing, One Zombie, two Zombie, and as he’s sucking down the third, the fella’s head hits the table with a mighty thump. Don won that wager, but not without a trick or two up his short sleeves. Don had mixed some glycerin, a sugar alcohol, into the drink for its property of hitting the system mighty quick. Never bet on another man’s game, Don’s saying goes, and I can’t find a better example of it.
Moving onto the now, seeing the potential for this Mixology Monday, the question that came to my head is, how many Zombies are we going to see? I’ve actually been rather surprised by the innovation, after reading posts and talking with a few bloggers and bartenders. There are some great, full to the brim with booze drinks out there I hadn’t seen covered before. In the hopes of avoiding wearing the same dress another belle at the ball, I decided to whip up this little concoction. This thing’s the real deal, and as I’ve certainly discovered, as Don and Vic once did, it all begins with the right Rum.
Okay, so I put a few too many ingredients in. It’s tiki, things like to get complex. This drink is worth the effort, smooth as silk, and hits like a sledgehammer. This is definitely a onesy, maybe even for the whole evening, and not just because the bartender had a hell of a time putting the damned thing together. Like I say, it’s all thanks to the rum. The rest of the stuff is just notes taken from what the rums were saying… and yes, a few tests into this the rum started talking (maybe literally, it was a lot of rum). Yes, the booze outweighs the others with this one, but it goes down like Polynesian lightning.
The Wisdom of PelÃ©? That comes the morning after having two of these. I’ve got a punch version I’ll be putting on the site soon as well, the Wrath of PelÃ©, as soon as I can get a few more “volunteers”.