El Dorado: 15yo SAUTERNES Finish
Single Blended Rum – a blend of only pot still and traditional column still
ABV Hydrometer Test: 42% ABV @ 20°
* B S
My final El Dorado review (for the moment) is the sixth of the “Cask Finishes”…..the Sauternes Cask. For those that do not know, Sauternes is a type of sweet dessert wine from the Bordeaux region in France.
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. Earlier in 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 claim “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!
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.
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.
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 medium to deep amber colour with hints of orange. Compared to the regular ED15, this is a little lighter in colour but it also looks a little duller. Side-by-side, the ED15 has more of a sparkle and crystal clear appearance to it when compared to the Sauternes edition.
The legs on the glass are medium density. The aroma does appear to be slightly sweet mirroring the preconception of what a Sauternes cask finish should smell like – a type of sweet French wine. I can detect dried fruits and quite a lot of dry oak. Additional nosings reveal some raisins and toffee but it is definitely a much drier nosing than the ED15.
All-in-all this smells really good!
Taste, Initial-middle 38/40
Very smooth and soft initially but not as sweet as the ED 15. The familiar ED15 profile is evident though…fruity, especially dried fruits and raisins. There is vanilla, too and a hint of mild spice. The most discernible difference between this and the usual 15yo at this stage, is that it is not as sticky and sweet. It tastes great though!
Taste, Middle/Throat 39/40
Despite the additional ageing in a cask that previously contained something sweet, this rum is not as sweet as regular ED15. In fact, I would say it is much drier! It is certainly less sticky and also has a bit more fire, almost as if it is a cask-strength rum, rather than being the same 43% ABV as the regular ED15. There is a chocolate flavour, but definitely dark chocolate, slightly bitter. Likewise, there is also a hint of coffee and a lingering dry oakiness to this, which is really superb. There is an underlying smokiness also, which accentuates the dryness and makes it stand out from ED15. There is a little less fruitiness compared to ED15, although the ED15 fruity notes are still there, but a little drier and softer. The finish is much longer and again drier than the ED15.
This has the burn that every fan of ED 15 wants. Some burn, but not rough and definitely not as sweet. The dry oak and wood linger long after swallowing, free from some of the usual ED 15 stickiness.
Morning After Aroma
Hints of custard cream biscuits and sweet shortcrust pastry but only a very faint aroma.
This is much drier than ED15 and has much more fire and power to it, resembling a cask edition at a higher ABV, which I find very appealing. The fruity notes are reduced, but so too is the sweetness, leaving a very dry, oakey and even smoky ED15.
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 realty 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, there is something extra offered by this special edition that, whilst not necessarily justifies spending £60 more, certainly makes it feel worthwhile. This is the ED15 that I enjoy, but with a tasty twist.
I actually think that this is better than ED 15 because it has the taste and feel of it, but not as much sweetness.
When tested with my hydrometers, this came in at 42% ABV instead of 43% that is on the bottle. According to Drecon’s sugar conversion table, that means there is around 4g of added sugar in this rum. Compared to the regular ED15, which has approximately 36.5g of sugar, this is good stuff.
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