El Dorado: 15yo MADEIRA DRY Finish
Single Blended Rum – a blend of only pot still and traditional column still
ABV Hydrometer Test: 40.5% ABV @ 20°
* B S
The penultimate review in my El Dorado range. Another of the limited 15yo Cask Finish editions…The Madeira DRY Finish.
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!
Once 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 “MADEIRA DRY.” For those that do not know, Madeira is a type of fortified wine. It comes from the Portuguese island of Madeira, which has a history of sugar cultivation.
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 is a very deep amber colour, almost bronze. It is a deeper colour than the Sweet Madeira and much deeper than the regular ED15. This looks duller and less vibrant than ED 15, slightly more 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 one finds quite a dry presence, with hints of leather and the more you nose it, the more you notice oak. Additional fruitiness appears, notably ripe banana, peach and orange peel. It is much less sweet smelling than ED15, but also appears to be more complex. Another nosing and spices appear – cinnamon and nutmeg. Another inhalation and there is a hint of caramel and some baked pears.
Taste, Initial-middle 38/40
Silky smooth and creamy at first with the oak dominating and making this rum very dry. The banana and peach aromas develop into subtle flavours alongside some caramel and a hint of black pepper. Tasting a second time and a hint of front-of-mouth fire appears…quite surprising, but very enjoyable.
Taste, Middle/Throat 37/40
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. This still has a balanced dryness from the oak giving off some tannins coating my cheeks. The fruity profile has diminished – there is still a little banana and orange in the background, but the spicy notes have become more prominent…black pepper, more cinnamon and some cloves. As you swallow this, there is even some cocoa and caramel, but again, not sweet, almost like a salted caramel bar of dark chocolate. Further tastings and the tannins become even drier. This is really superb at this point and much more enjoyable than ED15, mainly due to less added sugar in this edition.
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. More tastings and this finish becomes drier and more enjoyable especially as the fire also becomes more noticeable.
Morning After Aroma
Some sweet toffee and a hint of oak alongside some raisins.
Somewhat predictably, this is considerably drier than ED15. If you blind-tasted this, it could almost be mistaken as having a little Cuban influence. There are many flavours throughout and each tasting leads to something extra. It does not have the vibrant dried fruits and raisins from ED15, nor does it have the sugar!
This is far more subtle and gentle with its flavours [than ED15] and one can notice a distinctly more alcoholic profile than ED15, which makes this very quaff-able indeed.If you like El Dorado 15yo but think it is too sweet, this is the perfect rum for you! The more you taste it, the better it 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. 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 most importantly, has much less sugar in it.
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 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