El Dorado Rare Collection Albion 2004

El DEl Dorado Rare Collection Albion 2004 rum review by the fat rum pirateorado Rare Collection Albion 2004. Guyanese rum powerhouses Demerara Distillers Limited (DDL) caused a bit of a stir in the rum world a few years back when they first released their “Rare Collection” rums.

It is more than a little odd that the actual distillery and producers of Demerara rum, released in the 2000’s and 2010’s are not the ones who take the credit for the best bottlings.

During this time and before Velier – a spirits importer and Independent bottler headed up by Luca Gargano took the credit amongst enthusiasts for doing this. Whilst DDL’s range of El Dorado rums, were extremely popular they were more a mass market “ever present” product. They were also routinely “dosed”. Which did not impress some of our rum “enthusiasts”.

Velier’s bottlings were single cask or produced in limited rums, from a few select casks. They were (by todays standards) reasonably priced on release. The quality however was at times – out of this world. The best Demerara rum you could buy many would argue.

So when it was announced that Velier were no longer going to be bottling these rare rums the rum world’s disappointment was noticeable. When DDL announced their “Rare Collection” they were met with skepticism. Would they be dosed?

When the original 3 Rare Collection rums were released, interest and curiosity was still high. The first 3 releases  mirrored the ages of the groups standard El Dorado aged rums 12,15 and 21. The rums received generally favourable reviews but they weren’t met with quite as much enthusiasm as the Velier bottlings that went before. They were very good but not amazing…..

Since then El Dorado have released a few more rums as part of the “Rare Collection”. To be honest, I didn’t even know the second wave of Rare Collection rums had even been released! . Which is a bit of a concern but sadly not a surprise. Marketing is not DDL’s strong point.

The third “wave” of Rare Collection rums are using older distillery names, in order to grab attention . Skeldon and Albion Velier releases fetch upwards of £1000 on the secondary market. Rums such as the Skeldon 1978 have become the holy grail for many rum enthusiasts. It is for once clever marketing from DDL. El Dorado Rare Collection Albion 2004 rum review by the fat rum pirate

El Dorado Rare Collection Albion 2004, has been produced to replicate the AN marque of rum produced at Albion Distillery. The AN marque stands for the Albion and Nigg sugar plantations. Neighbouring plantations that merged on the coast of Berbice.

It is thought that the actual Albion Distillery closed in 1968, so even the Velier Albion bottlings weren’t bottled at the Albion Distillery. Nor where they distilled on stills from the Albion Distillery. Only the Port Morant Still was moved from Albion. The remaining stills were destroyed or left to rot.

In order to “re-create” the AN marque of rum, a Wooden Coffey still has been used. That still is the EHP Continuous Wooden Coffey Still which was originally housed at the Enmore Distillery and is now as DDL’s Diamond Distillery. So El Dorado could also have labelled this rum as an Enmore. The interchangeable use of various distillery and still names, can be very confusing when working out exactly what a Demerara rum is!

El Dorado Rare Collection Albion 2004, was bottled in 2018 it is noted as being aged for 13 years in Guyana. Aged in ex-bourbon barrels. The ABV is a Cask Strength of 60.1%. Unlike the Habitation Velier releases, we don’t learn from the bottle what the Angel’s Share is or how many bottles were produced. I have been told 2000 bottles for this one. So it must b multiple barrels.

The price of these rums varies online. I’ve seen prices go from around €200 up to €300, so shop around. The following link is a store I would highly recommend and the price is very competitive.

I think we have pretty much covered everything now, so lets see how this rum fares in a taste test.

El Dorado Rare Collection Albion 2004 presents itself in the glass as a classic dark Navy/Demerara rum.. Very dark brown with orange/red tinges around the edges.

The nose offers few surprises – rich fruity notes of blackcurrants and raisins. It reminds me of the recent Foursquare Destino release in terms of fruitiness. Further nosing reveals dark chocolate and lighter toffee and caramel notes. . Rich warming woody oak all meld together to produce a very warming an inviting nose. A tiny hint of mustiness and leather mingle nicely with the spicy oak.

60% is perhaps my limit when it comes to sipping neat, usually I would add a drop or two of water. Whilst this rum is clearly cask strength, the rich fruity notes make it very sippable, even at this ABV.

The initial sip is spicy and fiery, as you might expect of any rum at a higher ABV. It’s a good few sEl Dorado Rare Collection Albion 2004 rum review by the fat rum pirateips in before you can really appreciate how complex this rum is.

Much like the nose, it’s rich and very fruity. The entry is warm and spicy with notes of ginger and warming oak spices. The blackcurrant on the nose is complimented by juicy raisins, sultanas and orange peel.

The mid palate and finish evolve with spicy wood oak heavy notes and light vanilla. El Dorado Rare Collection Albion 2004 tastes like the older “musty” style Velier Demerara’s – Skeldon 1973 is a good example. The time in the tropics add an extra layer of spices from the wood, giving it as leathery and “old” mouthfeel.

The finish compared to the initial entry and mid palate is quite dry. It is however, an excellent end to a really great rum. It’s long and and full of complex spices.

I think it is slightly drier than the Skeldon 2000. I might just like this slight better – I might feel differently tomorrow though! They are both excellent.

Whilst Velier are no longer “officially” involved in these rums, I know Luca Gargano does have shares in DDL. As I result if he hasn’t had some involvement in these rums.. This rum is certainly as good as the Velier releases without doubt.

 

 

 

 

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