El Dorado 12 Year: 40% abv
“Aged”, “Anejo”, “Old” rums, turns out, sort of carry their own category. The reason I provided several monikers for these kinds of rums is because the term “aged” can be misleading. Although rums don’t have to be aged (some countries require at least 1 year of aging), a lot of them are. This is a different kind of thing from an “aged” rum, you see. This one, in particular, is 12 years old. This sounds like a bottom shelf single malt Scotch age, but don’t think of this anything but very good. And not many rum producers tag an age statement on their bottles, and we really like this practice: it encourages quality.
On to El Dorado. If you’re looking for a rum producer to provide you with a good variety of rums, this could be the place to look. El Dorado, from Demerara, produce a multitude of rums. Their ranges are the luxury cask aged, fine cask aged, connoisseur range, superior standards and specialty products. We are reviewing the 12 Year Luxury Cask Edition, which means the cask itself owned a Maserati before being filled with rum. The more you know. If you want to go older, El Dorado even has a 25 year old rum but you might need to sell your car to buy it.
Okay, all this talk about the distiller, and not the rum. But let’s just take ONE more second to discuss the finer details of this rum. The 12 Year is aged in bourbon casks for 12 years, but even more interesting is the blends that make it. There are three stills where this rum hails from and one of them is called the Port Mourant Double Wooden Still. Yes, this rum was distilled from one of the last two remaining original wooden stills in the world. So that is an interesting fact. Let’s move on.
El Dorado 12 year is a fantastic rum, but let’s find out more about it. On the nose, there is a balanced composition of sweetness and spiciness. There is a fresh sugarcane smell, coupled with sweet molasses, and includes more smells of oak, honey, caramel, apple, cinnamon, vanilla, slight grain, banana and coconut. This is a different, rather complex smelling rum, and if all you have been drinking is Captain Morgan, this will throw you off of your seat. This smell does have a slightly alcohol-like presence to it. There is no doubt to it, although this strikes as some surprise given its mile, if not disappointing alcohol content.
The arrival begins with a simple, gentle, sweet arrival of vanilla, caramel, molasses and even some melon. It’s probably the most disappointing, eventless part of the rum. But don’t worry, the body comes to the rescue with complexity. There is a big raisony note in the body, with sweetness attributed to honey and agave, and plenty of notes further. These include grapes, mint, fresh herbs, molasses, vanilla, orange, honeydew, and nutmeg. After adding some water, there is an oaky presence adding in mild spices and ginger, with a better blend of flavors.
The finish closes with that same raisony, honey-like flavor, but there is more of a sherry-like presence. There is confectioner’s sugar, grapefruit, ginger, mild pepper, agave, orange, peark skin, citrus, and slight dryness. This changes slightly in balance after water, and there is the addition of enhanced apple and tropical fruits.
So this is a relatively complex spirit. If you are asking if it is worth what it demands in cost, then we’d quickly say without a doubt. The problem is that Appleton Estate 12 Year still exists, and we think Appleton has outdone themselves, and outdone El Dorado. That does not make these two rums the same, and it is easy to tell how one would enjoy them both, or prefer the contrasting flavors. This rum is not overly dominant in any particular fashion and even goes so far to become better balanced after some water. Next time you see it, give it a try and see what we mean.