El Dorado: 15yo WHITE PORT Finish
Single Blended Rum – a blend of only pot still and traditional column still
ABV Hydrometer Test: 40.6% ABV @ 20°
* B S
After a trip to Jamaica, a break for Christmas and a few other reviews, I am back to finish my El Dorado reviews (finally). Including this one, there are three reviews left.
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 “WHITE 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. In this case, it does not mention the type of white Port casks, sweet or dry that were used for the additional ageing or “finish.”
This rum is a very deep amber colour, reminiscent of a well-aged Tawny Port. It looks duller and less vibrant than ED 15, slightly more translucent.
The legs on the glass are medium-high density and are slow to drop. The aroma is more alcoholic than the ED 15. Getting beneath the alcohol there is a sweet aroma, almost like a Bajan rum full of toffee and caramel. There is also some vanilla, a hint of oak, nuts, cocoa and a fruity presence – banana most notably. It is much less sweet smelling than ED15, but also appears to be more complex. Another nosing and soft spices appear – cinnamon and nutmeg as well as dark chocolate. The more I inhale this, the more addictive it becomes as it offers so much!
Taste, Initial-middle 37/40
Smooth but with a good level of fire on entry, unlike the ED15. The toffee and caramel dominate initially, closely followed by cocoa. Despite the toffee and caramel, it is not overly sweet as there are some good oak flavours that balance this rum. Additional tastings reveal some spice – cinnamon, nutmeg and a hint of black pepper.
Taste, Middle/Throat 39/40
As soon as this reaches the middle of the mouth, the most notable flavour is dark chocolate. Add in some more spice, a good level of fire and you could be drinking an unsweetened and much stronger version of El Dorado 21yo. It is superb!
The dry oak becomes more noticeable here too, alongside some banana and peach flavours. The spice levels increase, leading to a bit of a zing in the back of your mouth.
Unlike ED15, this is dry and has a real fire to it that lingers. The oak has produced some tannins coating my cheeks, making the rum appear drier still. The initial nut aroma is present as a background flavour here, also.
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. This rum actually tastes as if it is close to 43% whereas the regular ED15 does not.
Morning After Aroma
A hint of sweet Demerara remains and a little oak.
This is considerably drier than ED15, despite having been aged in casks that previously contained a [presumably] sweet liquid. I say presumably as although typically, one assumes Port is sweet, you can find very dry white Port also. There is no mention of the type of white Port casks used for this additional ageing on the bottle or tin.
I notice a distinctly more alcoholic profile than ED15, which makes this very quaff-able indeed. In fact, if anything, I would say this tastes more like El Dorado 21yo, but without the added sweetness and at a higher ABV. If you like El Dorado 21yo but think it is too sweet, this is the perfect rum for you! Speaking as someone who does enjoy ED21, this rum really hits the right spots in my rum palate.
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. When compared to ED21, this is a nominal £25-30 or so more expensive, but is definitely worth paying the extra cash for it.
When tested with my hydrometers, this came in at 40.6% 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 36.5g 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