El Dorado Cask Finishes: Conclusions/Opinions

At the suggestion of Lance Surujbally aka The Lone Caner, here are some conclusions and opinions regarding El Dorado’s Cask Finishes.

First and foremost, I think El Dorado’s 15yo is taken to a new level by these special editions. El Dorado have proved that they do not need tons of added sugars to make ED15 taste great, in fact, the rum tastes better without extra sugar and the ABV being closer to the label’s 43% is a big plus.
If El Dorado could produce something similar on a regular basis and drop the price closer to a regular ED15, they would have an awesome tipple here.
It could be that these Cask Finishes are a little experiment before they [Demerara Distillers Limited, DDL] head in that direction. DDL has a big decision ahead of them – pure or adulterated rums? If they intend to compete in the new world of rum re-categorisation or to showcase their fine rums with full disclosure regarding additives, then this is a first step. The next one needs to be Cask Finishes with NO added sugars at prices that are more within reach for day-to-day rum buyers as Appleton do with their amazing 12 year old “Rare Blend” rum or Foursquare with their stunning Port and Zinfandel Cask Editions. These fine rums retail at a similar price in the UK to El Dorado’s 12 year old, yet are completely unadulterated whereas ED12 includes 35g or so of added sugars! Whilst DDL/El Dorado released the virtually unadulterated Rare Collection single cask editions, given the price point and, in my opinion, the less than stellar overall quality of them, it does seem that blends are DDL’s forté nowadays.

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These Cask Finishes range in ABV from 40.5% to 42%. Instantly, this is very noticeable as they all have a bit of fire in their engine rooms, far more so than ED15, which by comparison is very tame at around 33%, despite the label showing 43%.

Colour-wise, the Cask Finishes are similar to each other. There are differing aromas…The Madeira Dry has a wonderful mix of fruit, spice and caramel whereas the White Port has aromas reminiscent of a Bajan rum fused with El Dorado 21yo-esque Christmas pudding spices. The variety of aromas even stretches to citrus in the Ruby Port Finish and to leather in the Red Wine Finish.

All of these Cask Finish editions offer some different flavours demonstrating that “finishing” a rum in a different type of barrel does impart a variety of additional flavours, albeit sometimes subtle.

The Sauternes and White Port Finishes are especially tasty. Despite each of these wines being associated with sweetness, the end products are not sweet. There are lots of oakey notes that help to balance the rums and the underlying theme of a closer-to-the-label 43%ABV helps to ensure these rums maintain a bit of fire that is not usually present in the regular 15 year old.

El Dorado 15yo: Cask Finishes

One of the most appealing aspects of the Cask Finishes is that at times, they taste like an El Dorado 21 year old, but without the accompanying sweetness from the added sugars. Without this sweetness, the underlying flavours are free to explode in your mouth, offering a variety of flavours ranging from the smoky dark chocolate from the Sauternes Cask Finish to the spicy salted caramel of the Madeira Dry Finish. There is an abundance of fruity notes in all of the editions.

I did wonder if DDL left any quantity of wine in the casks prior to adding the rum. This would certainly account for the reduced ABV or apparent added sugars as well as the flavour profiles. I do not think we are ever likely to get a disclosure on this though, so it will remain in the realms of speculation.

If I was to recommend just one of these, it would probably be the Sauternes Finish, which seems close to the Full Monty flavour-wise as well as having the highest measured ABV at 42%. But, both the White Port and Madeira Dry were amazing, too and very close behind.

I think all of the editions offer something different, both compared to each other as well as to the regular ED15 and would make very welcome additions to El Dorado‘s range, if they decide to make them on a regular basis. But, as I said before, the price would need to drop somewhat in order for rum drinkers to be convinced that these are worth buying and of course if we can fully remove the added sugars, that would be a big plus.

Here are links to all of the Cask Finish reviews:

Ranked by ratings:

Ranked by ABV% Measured:
RUBY PORT: 40.5%

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13 thoughts on “El Dorado Cask Finishes: Conclusions/Opinions

  1. Hi

    In your article you say that the El Dorado has a lower ABV than the one listed on the label. Can you explain where this information came from?



    1. Hello Keegan,
      Thanks for your comment.

      I test rums with hydrometers, which give a measurement of the gravity or density of the drink. If there is a difference between what the label says the ABV should be and what one measures on a hydrometer, it indicates that it is likely the rum has additives in it including sugar. You can find full info/method here:

      Ideally, we want our drinks to be pure or at the very least, if anything is added, we want the producers to label their bottles accordingly. By doing this [measuring ABV] we give other rum drinkers some additional info for them to use in determining if they like a rum or if they want to spend money on buying it i.e. if it is good value or not. At the very least, you will know if your rum is what it says it is or not.

      Kind Regards


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