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.
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: