El Dorado 21yo
Single Blended Rum – a blend of only pot still and traditional column still
ABV Hydrometer Test: 34.5% ABV @ 20°
* B S
The El Dorado web site proudly quotes a review of this rum as being “A monumental aged rum that is one of the world’s greatest rum drinking experiences.” Quite a claim for anyone to make and this would need some serious liquid nectar to live up to the billing as one of the finest rums…..in the world!
The 21yo has been “oak aged for at least 21 years, from the Enmore wooden Coffey still, the Versailles single wooden pot still and the Albion Savalle still.” One of the things I enjoy about El Dorado rums is that each one is unique in its composition – this is not just the 12 or 15yo given some extra ageing. The components of the blend are rums aged between 21 and 25 years and as with many El Dorado rums, this has also been highly decorated with awards.
Under Richard Seale’s/Luca Gargano’s proposed rum categorisation, this would most-likely be classed as a “Single Blended Rum” – a blend of only pot still and traditional column still.
When tested with my hydrometers, this came in at 34.5% ABV instead of 43% that is on the bottle. According to Drecon’s sugar conversion table, that means there is 33g of added sugar in this rum. Wow, that’s a lot!!!
I checked this several times and literally thought I was going crazy as my reading was a much lower ABV than Wes at The Fat Rum Pirate. I had a quick chat with Wes (thanks mate) and we think ED’s levels of sugar MAY vary according to the batch of rums in order to maintain a consistent style and flavour-profile for the blend. Interesting!!!
El Dorado’s 12, 15 and 21yo bottles are all presented in the same way. An outer cardboard box with El Dorado’s now familiar dumpy bottle contained within, embossed on the upper body with a wax badge. The 12yo is branded in red, the 15yo is branded in cream/ecru/yellow and the 21yo is coloured blue.
The packaging and bottles look very distinctive and appealing – as soon as you see one, you instantly know which brand it is. They all have nice cork enclosures.
But, unfortunately, the boxes/bottles are missing information about the rums. The age of the blend and the barrel maturation is referenced, but no mention of which types of still are used, nor when it was produced. Given El Dorado’s unique stills and history, I would have expected this is something they should be championing on their bottles.
Side-by-side, it is difficult to discern anything significantly different, colour-wise, between this and the 12 and 15yo El Dorado rums. As with those rums, this looks like an Amontillado Sherry. This is a deep brown colour, with some hints of dark orange also. If anything it is more orangey than its younger brothers. The aroma is very El Dorado-ish – I do find that ED rums have a unique profile and once you know that profile, it is easy to pick out. But this does not have the alcoholic scent of the 15yo. There is the familiar fruity aroma but also a distinct cocoa-chocolate smell coming from the glass. Additional nosing reveals some toffee, banana, tobacco and spices.
Taste, Initial-middle 36/40
Amazingly soft, mellow and smooth when you first sip this. As with the aroma profile, this has that El Dorado rum taste, but it is softer than the 15yo. The fruitiness is still there, but it is more dried fruits rather than fresh fruits. There are raisins and candied orange as well as chocolate, oak and soft spice. This is very warming and somehow feels like a wintry tipple, due to the fruit and spice. If it snows, I think I will take a tipple of this out with me in my hip-flask.
Taste, Middle/Throat 38/40
There is lots of oak and spice in the middle of the mouth with this rum, far more so than the ED12 and 15yo. There is dark chocolate, some pepper, nutmeg and an abundance of dried fruits. Silky smooth throughout, this develops some caramel and nuttiness. The finish is long and increasingly dry with some tannins present, too alongside a gentle hint of fire.
After several tastings there is a surprising underlying bitterness in the finish. This is not unpleasant and balances the dried fruit profile beautifully. The burn develops those fruit flavours elegantly and one can even taste some complex oak, too.
Morning After Aroma
Dark chocolate, dried fruits and raisins remain…very pleasing aromas. Much less of a sticky sugar-orientated residue in the bottom of the glass when compared to the 12 and 15yo, but it is still there.
I feel with Christmas approaching, this is very much like having a lovely rich Christmas pudding in a glass, but instead of adding brandy butter to it, this is like having rum butter melted over the top. The long finish is superb, and throughout, this rum offers lots of different flavours and aromas. But, given that this is £30 or so more expensive than the 15yo, it is not as good value. I do not think that means the 15yo is better…it is not, but you can almost buy two ED15s for the price of one of these, which does make the 15yo extremely attractive!
The 15 and 21yo have similarities but are still different enough to justify buying them both. I think the 21yo in particular has a little more winter spice and warmth about it and is a fine tipple.
An interesting point raised by a Facebook friend Steve Leukanech is where exactly do some of these raisin flavours come from. Is it likely that ED don’t just add sugar in its purest form, but maybe something sweet with extras flavours such as macerated fruits? Hmmmmmm!
Thanks Wes and Steve for some interesting thoughts on El Dorado!
P Denotes the rum contains POT still distillate.
C Denotes the rum contains traditional/Coffey COLUMN still distillate.
B Denotes the rum contains a BLEND of POT and COLUMN still distillate.
M Denotes the rum contains MULTI-COLUMN still distillate or is a MODERN rum.
A Denotes the rum is an AGRICOLE i.e. from Cane Juice.
S Denotes the rum is presented in a SWEETENED style.
Bottle/Presentation Out of 3
Glass/Aroma Out of 10
Taste, Initial-middle Out of 40
Taste, Middle/Throat Out of 40
Afterburn Out of 7