El Dorado EHP (Single Barrel)
Rum – rum from a traditional column still.
ABV 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 Wooden Continuous Coffey Still, historically linked to the linked to the Enmore 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.
This particular rum is called EHP after Edward Henry Porter, founder of the Enmore sugar factory. The original wooden Coffey Still from the Enmore sugar factory is the last of its kind in the world and was used to distil this full bodied rum. Anyone who is familiar with DDL or El Dorado will be very familiar with Enmore style rums. According to DDL, the Enmore still forms a large part of El Dorado 21yo. I would therefore expect to find some of the dried fruits, chocolate and Christmas-in-a-glass tastes of the 21yo.
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 Enmore 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 rich, coppery-orange colour with heavy viscous legs on the side of the glass.
Butterscotch and burnt sugar dominate the aromas, with some vanilla and oak notes also. There is also some fruit present…banana and orange most notably. All in all, the aroma is very pleasing – a hint of sweetness but plenty of fruit.
Taste, Initial-middle 34/40
The initial tasting is super-smooth and soft. It is like drinking alcoholic Demerara sugar, but with added dryness rather than just the sweet sugar. The vanilla aroma is present as an initial flavour alongside a creamy texture and a hint of banana and peach. So this is what El Dorado 21yo tastes like without the added sugar? I am impressed!
Taste, Middle/Throat 34/40
The creamy texture continues with the initial Demerara fading, replaced by oak and some subtle smoky spice including black pepper. The finish becomes a little leathery at first although it is still smooth and dry overall. There are distinct tannins present, which alongside the oak make this a very tasty, dry end to the rum, almost as if the cask used for formerly contained some red wine or something similar. I think that if this was a slightly higher ABV, the rum would be lifted, but even at 40% ABV this is a decent tipple.
This lingers long after swallowing. The oak is very distinctive along with some toffee. The creamy profile continues limiting the afterburn to a minor tickle in the throat. As with the middle/throat tasting, a higher ABV here would make this rum a much finer offering than it already is.
Morning After Aroma
Very powerful toffee and burnt Demerara sugar still remain as well as something spicy, possibly cinnamon.
I was expecting something akin to El Dorado 21yo, but what I have tasted is far from that. This is much drier and more creamy rather than the dried fruits and chocolate profile of ED21yo.
If this was a higher ABV, 43-46% at least, this would be a much better rum. As it is, it is a very good rum, but is a little tame. It almost feels as if it is missing something, whether it is just not strong enough or if the rum is better as part of a blend. Or DDL have decided not to give you the full treatment and on your behalf they have decided you need to have this at a very weak ABV.
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