El Dorado PM (Single Barrel)
Pure Single Rum – 100% Pot Still
ABV Hydrometer Test: 40% ABV @ 20°
Described by Demerara Distillers Limited (DDL) in various forms such as “Connoisseur Range”, “Heritage Rums” and “Single Barrel” editions, DDL released three bottlings celebrating their historic sugar estates and stills, each of which showcases a different type of still and hence varying flavours and styles of rum. Although DDL have stated that these rums were “distilled and aged in small batches” there is no information regarding the number of barrels/bottles produced, nor any details regarding the length of ageing. Obviously, this this rum is not just from a “single barrel” but is meant to showcase rum from one of their many varied stills, in this case from DDL’s Double Wooden Pot Still, historically linked to the linked to the Port Mourant Estate.
As I am having a bit of an El Dorado session, I though it would be interesting to see how these taste after having the 2016 “Rare” Collection. Obviously, the main difference is the ABV, with these three Connoisseur editions all being bottled at a normal 40%. It is also interesting to see how those ABVs measure up when tested with my hydrometers.
I am pleased to report that this rum came out at 40%, which implies it is unaltered.
Under Richard Seale’s/Luca Gargano’s proposed rum categorisation, this would most-likely be classed as a “Pure Single Rum” – 100% Pot Still.
A very distinctive and unusual bottle shape…rectangular with a tapered top and a very sturdy bottom. There is a welcome cork enclosure.
But the bottle is completely bereft of ANY information beyond the name and 40% ABV. The saving grace here is that there is a label hung around the bottle’s neck with some historical information about Demerara Distillers Limited (DDL), El Dorado and the Port Mourant still featured in this bottle. The label mentions the cask ageing but does not mention the length of ageing.
Whilst completely different to El Dorado’s usual range, it is very distinctive and does look quite ‘premium.’
A very coppery-orange colour with moderate legs on the side of the glass.
Initially, this is quite over powering. I am wondering if this is really just 40% as it smells much stronger. Beyond these strong alcoholic aromas are some bitter plum notes and vanilla. Get underneath the alcohol and there are some fruity notes…bitter apples and bananas. Further nosings reveal an earthy grassiness to the rum as well as a subtle hint of honey and some leathery oak.
Taste, Initial-middle 22/40
Some sweet honey and a little hint of spice initially. There is a medicinal flavour to this rum, which is accompanied by some bitter black pepper, smoke and oak. Whilst not completely unpleasant, the bitterness is the strongest flavour and becomes more dominant with further tastings. The rum is smooth and tastes so much more powerful than its 40% ABV.
Taste, Middle/Throat 25/40
At just 40% ABV, this rum has some fire in its artillery. Not rough…not too unpleasant, but a definite burn. There is a spicy, smokey presence at this point but the initial bitterness continues through the middle/back of the mouth. There is leather and oak here in abundance and a background hint of vanilla and plum.
There is a nice dry finish to this rum. The bitterness is less apparent and the oak is very noticeable. Long after swallowing the rum has an earthy presence alongside some lovely tannins.
Morning After Aroma
Very powerful toffee and burnt Demerara sugar still remain as well as something spicy, possibly cinnamon.
This is a million miles away from anything “El Dorado” or Demerara that I am accustomed to. I really enjoy ED15 and 21yo and given that Port Mourant forms a large part of ED 15, I was hoping for more from this rum than I encountered. It is not bad, but it has enough unpleasant elements to make me appreciate the power of the blend over the single barrel in this instance, despite the added sugar in ED15 and 21. If offered the chance to buy another bottle of this, I would decline and choose an ED21yo for roughly the same price.
This highlights the reason why blends can be better than single barrel offerings. The head-honcho knows what is good and bad from each barrel and takes the best bits of each rum and creates something magical. Whilst the base rum/barrel is pretty good, it is a little lacking whereas a blend such as the El Dorado 15yo is far more complex and complete, albeit a bit too sweet with the addition of extra sugars and flavourings.
This is great to try and enjoy and is rare and unique. Beyond that, I think it is best to enjoy the Master Blender’s creations as he obviously knows what he is doing, although it is obvious he has a hell of a sweet tooth!
Having tasted the entire El Dorado range, I think these Single Barrel offerings from the “Connoisseur Collection” are better than the recent (2016) “Rare Collection” ones. My main reason for saying this is that the Connoisseur Collection are far more drinkable, not just down to the ABV, but they appear more rounded and smooth. At times the Rare Collection almost taste as if they are over-aged or that the barrel-ageing has not improved the rums sufficiently. One thing for sure is that these Connoisseur rums are long gone…if you see them on the dusty shelves of a shop, buy them!!! I think there will be more of these kinds of offerings [single barrel, unblended] from DDL in the future, but whether they will mirror the styles of the Connoisseur or Rare ones remains to be seen. Or maybe, DDL will give us something entirely different – unsweetened ED21yo would be nice, perhaps at 55-60% ABV.
I won’t hold my breath though!
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