Almost three years ago I reviewed the 12yo El Dorado, and it’s time to move up a bit. This 15yo “Special Reserve” is not simply a three year older version of the 12yo, no, it’s a different product altogether. A long time ago Guyana had lots of distilleries, but today only once remains. It’s called Diamond. Every time a distillery closed, it’s still(s) were carefully removed and placed at another distillery. This went on for some time untill only Diamond remained. Diamond thus has lots and lots of stills from distilleries that are closed, and they are not the least known names in Rum, with Enmore, Uitvlugt, Versailles and Port Morant among them. This gives Demerara Distillers Ltd. (DDL) a lot of possibilities in blending their Rums.
For instance. The 12yo contains Rum that was made predominantly in a Two Column Metal English Coffey Still (SVW), a still that was originally at Diamond. Added to that is a Rum made in the Enmore wooden Coffey still (EHV).
The 15yo also has predominantly SVW with an addition of EHV, but the 15yo has more, it also has a large amount of Rum made with the double wooden pot still from Port Mourant (PM) and little bit from the Versailles single wooden pot still (VSG). Doesn’t that sound like a match made in heaven?
Color: Caramel copper orange brown.
Nose: Less sweet and it has more oak than the 12yo. The sweet part also has more depth to it. Caramel and toffee obviously with a tiny hint of latex paint. Cloves. It may sound crazy but the sweetness seems drier and has a slightly burnt note to it. Tarry maybe or even meaty. Smoked dried meat and salty and dusty Caribbean winds. On top a wonderful elegance. Add to that the spicy and vegetal note of oak and we have a winner here, well wait, I haven’t tasted it yet, but the nose is wonderful.
Taste: The oak and spiciness are the first aroma’s you’ll encounter. Burnt Sugar, slightly tarry and a faint hint of sugar itself, but yes, it’s sweet. Silky sweet. Cask toast and reminiscent of Cognac. Give it some time and the oak is not only dry, spicy, vegetal with wet wood, no, it also releases the aroma of waxy vanilla pods, which emerge like the sun coming up in the morning. Wonderful combination of flavours. Complex and entertaining. Long finish with a wonderful balanced aftertaste, with a shift in time towards vanilla. Before the vanilla aftertaste, the finish gets a bit of the fruity acidity that reminds me of the Abuelo 12yo, which I don’t care for too much. It distorts the balance a bit, but in this case the rest of the components are so strong, this El Dorado knows how to deal with that. Just sayin’. Sure, this has added sugar and it is too sweet (it dominates the finish and aftertaste). Luckily the Demerara Rum, this is, knows how to deal with it, making this 15yo a Rum worth your time and money.
No, this surely is not an older version of the 12yo. This 15yo is so good it makes the already great 12yo and simple entry-level Rum. Not true. If you want a sweet and supple Rum, get the 12yo. If you want a more woody and spicy Rum, get this 15yo. Or better, get both! This must be one of the secret hidden gems of the Rum world. This is something I will have around as long as its available and tastes like this. Excellent. Don’t get it, please leave everything for me!