El Dorado: 15yo RED WINE Finish
Single Blended Rum – a blend of only pot still and traditional column still
ABV Hydrometer Test: 41.0% ABV @ 20°
* B S
According to Imbibe.com, “just 3,000 bottles of each were produced, with a small share available in the UK from early May” . “The RRP will be around £200.” They also claim that only 30 of each is available to the UK market. In February 2016, I contacted ED’s UK distributor (Love Drinks Limited) about this and was told that 30 bottles of each were released to the UK market and also know for a fact (as I bought them) that they were £100 per bottle.
The info on the tins claims “at least one year of additional ageing” for each expression. Having searched a bit online, I have found out that each edition has been subjected to 18-24 months of extra ageing. Therefore, that makes every single one of these special editions a 16-17yo rum. Nice!
One cannot help noticing that all of the finishes have a connection to Portugal. I am assuming this is due to Guyana’s historical connection to Portugal and in particular the Portuguese island of Madeira.
Inevitably, when tasting these special cask finish editions, I am going to draw comparisons with the original/normal ED 15yo. Also, it is likely that there will be some repetition as there will be many similarities between the editions as I expect to find some subtle differences between each of them, rather than each one being fundamentally and totally unique. With this is mind, when testing each special edition, I have also poured myself a tot of the regular ED 15yo to taste alongside. This has two benefits…..The regular edition of the 15yo can act as a benchmark for comparisons to be made and…..as the 15yo is so tasty anyway, I get to taste it six times more then I would have otherwise 🙂
Just in case I need to point it out…..where I reference ED15, I am referring to El Dorado 15 Year Old Special Edition i.e. the usual edition that most people are familiar with.
I am testing the ABV of each cask edition with a hydrometer. But, this is being done AFTER the tasting/reviewing so as not to taint or affect my review or opinions. Therefore, the hydrometer/ABV comment will feature after the “Overall” section.
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.
The cask finish being reviewed here is the “RED WINE.” The casks in question previously contained red wine from Portugal. The casks were re-charred prior to being used.
El Dorado’s 15yo cask finish bottles are all presented in a similar way to ED’s usual offerings in their “Luxury cask-aged-rum” range. But, instead of the customary outer cardboard box, for the cask finishes, we are treated to a nice shiny tin with El Dorado’s now familiar dumpy bottle contained within, embossed on the upper body with a wax badge. The bottles are similar to the regular 15yo in colouring and style, but the cask finish bottles each have their own unique colouring to match the name of the finish used in these special editions and of course they have the name of the finish used. The back of the bottles have a description of the casks used.
As with the rest of the ED “Luxury cask-aged-rum” range, 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. In addition, there is no mention of the additional length of time the rum has spent ageing in the various different special casks, nor the number of bottles.
This is a very deep amber colour, more so than the regular ED15. This looks duller and less vibrant than ED 15, slightly more translucent. Psychologically, I am looking at it and thinking it looks more red, too, but that could just be my mind playing tricks on me as this rum is finished in red wine casks. At the very least, there is a red tinge to it.
The legs on the glass are medium density and relatively quick to drop. The aroma is more alcoholic than the ED 15. Getting beneath the alcohol one finds a dry presence, with fruity notes. There is an underlying aroma of leather and quite an oakey presence, too. There is a vague hint of citrus and fusel oil present, but in the background. There is a hint of caramel but the oak/cask ageing becomes more noticeable with subsequent nosings leading to more citrus and orange. It is very appealing!
Taste, Initial-middle 37/40
This feels like velvet as you sip it. The dry cask-oak is very prominent. There are hints of fruit, notably banana, orange and tropical fruit. A second tasting leads to a hint of spice…black pepper and cinnamon. It is neither dry nor sweet, but initially feels very balanced.
Taste, Middle/Throat 34/40
There is a little hint of bitterness that is apparent. This is very noticeable when compared with the ED15.
The main flavour that is prominent is the spice, especially black pepper, but also some cloves. Beyond this, there is some delicate, soft fruity notes of raisin and melon. The bitterness develops into just dryness with some oak appearing. The more you try this, the more it appeals, especially as the dryness contradicts the usual ED15 perception of a sweet rum.
There is an appealing fire to this edition, more so than ED 15. The spicy notes enhance the fire and burn as you swallow this, with the dry tannins allowing this rum to linger for a long finish. The more sips you take, the more the burn is apparent and the longer that this rum lingers.
Morning After Aroma
Very subtle oak and raisin remain in the glass.
This is dry, especially when compared to the regular ED15.
With my first tasting of this, I was disappointed, thinking that it was just ED15 without the sugar but also without the flavour. But after trying it again several times, I can appreciate that in place of ED15’s sugar, this rum has some interesting flavours to entice one into appreciating it far more. In fact, the more you taste it, the better this rum gets.
At 2 1/2 times the price of a regular ED15, it is always going to be difficult to justify the value of this – in reality if someone offered me 2 1/2 bottles of ED 15 or one ED 15 Special Cask Edition, it would be hard to turn down the regular edition. That said, I think a bottle of this, which is ED15 minus the sugar and without the overly sweet notes is very appealing.
When tested with my hydrometers, this came in at 41% ABV instead of 43% that is on the bottle. According to Drecon’s sugar conversion table, that means there is around 8g of added sugar in this rum. Compared to the regular ED15, which has approximately 35g of sugar, this is pretty good.
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