El Dorado: 15yo RUBY PORT Finish
Single Blended Rum – a blend of only pot still and traditional column still
ABV Hydrometer Test: 40.5% 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 “RUBY PORT.” For those that do not know, Port is a type of fortified wine from the Douro Valley in Portugal.
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. The back of the bottles have a description of the casks.
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 produced.
This has an orange-amber colouring. In contrast to other ED 15 Cask Finish drinks I have tried, this looks lighter and more orangey, especially compared to ED 15, and slightly less translucent.
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 the initial aroma is a cross between toffee and varnish. There is some citrus, a hint of oak and subtle cinnamon. There is a hint of orange peel and even some rich dark chocolate. It is much less sweet smelling than ED15, and the alcohol is much more noticeable as a result.
Taste, Initial-middle 36/40
Initially soft, dry and creamy. The first tasting reveals very few flavours, but there is a noticeably more alcoholic taste to it when compared to ED15, which I think is superb. A second tasting and there is the presence of dark chocolate. Leaving this for a few moments really opens up the flavours, leading to the presence of some spicy black pepper and warming cinnamon. The creaminess is also more noticeable (in a good way) and for the first time, there is a hint of wine flavour on the palate, but not a sweet Port…this is more of a dry and spicy Chilean Carménère.
Taste, Middle/Throat 38/40
As this touches the middle of your mouth, for the first time, there is a little sweetness, but not in the way the ED15 can be sweet and even sometimes sticky. The wine flavour is more noticeable and really sits nicely at this point. The rum has more fire than a regular ED15 and it is this extra fire that balances the hint of sweetness.
Once again, there is some dark chocolate here alongside more spice – black pepper and cinnamon continuing throughout the tasting. There is also a little hint of raisins and other dried fruits lingering in the background.
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. Despite being finished in a sweet cask [Ruby Port] this rum is far less sweet than a regular ED15 and is really appealing.
Morning After Aroma
Very subtle raisins and fig aromas. Quite faint though.
Surprisingly, given the finishing in Ruby Port casks, this is considerably drier than ED15. The wine notes are subtle and do not dominate the rum. You do notice that this rum has far more power to it than regular ED15 and it completely loses that sticky taste. My preconception was for this to be sweet. Yes, compared to a heavy pot still, it will taste sweet, but as ED rums go, it is one of their drier offerings. It actually tastes like a really fine rum.
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. But, I do think I could justify spending £60 more for this compared to ED15 as I think it offers something new and different and tastes far less sweet.
In fact, it is a really great tipple!
When tested with my hydrometers, this came in at 40.5% ABV instead of 43% that is on the bottle. According to Drecon’s sugar conversion table, that means there is around 10g 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