El Dorado Rare Collection Skeldon 2000

El Dorado Rare Collection Skeldon 2000El Dorado Rare Collection Skeldon 2000. The only rums I have seen in my rum “career” that denote Skeldon are the Velier 1973 and 1978 releases. Which are long gone except for those with very deep pockets. As any rum blogger will attest researching Demerara Rums is on the most complicated and time-consuming pursuits. Excellent work by the likes of Marco Freyr of Barrel Aged Mind have helped with this. I will once again recommend reading his huge article on The Demerara Distillieries.

You won’t see many Demerara rums denoting Skeldon for a few reasons. Firstly the actual Skeldon Distillery closed way back in 1960. Unlike the likes of Uitvlugt and Enmore none of the stills were moved onto other distilleries upon the sites closure.

As a result, even the older 1973 and 1978 Velier Skeldon releases, weren’t produced on one of the original 4 Column Coffey Stills, which stood at Skeldon. They were produced on another Metal Coffey Still to replicate the rum marque SWR (Sir William Ross – the original founder of the Skeldon Estate).

Like the previous Rare Collection bottlings Skeldon 2000 comes in a stubby opaque bottle with a cork stopper and a card cut out sleeve. I like the presentation it is a step up from the regular El Dorado range. As it should be really. This 70cl bottling will set you back around £/€220-250. Information on the bottle is factual and again, nice to see.

El Dorado Rare Collection Skeldon 2000 has been produced on a Continuous Blair Still – I am not sure what still this actually is to be honest. This is just information I have found on the internet. So please correct me if it’s not right! It has been aged for 18 years 2000 to 2018 in Guyana and has been bottled at Cask Strength of 58.3% ABV. I can’t find any information on the number of bottles and I do not believe this is a single cask release. It is un-chill filtered.

In the glass the Skeldon 2000 is a dark brown with a striking reddish hue around the edges. It looks 18 years old – even if it is likely to have had some caramel added at some point. The Hydrometer shows this to be without additives – which is what the enthusiast will want at this kind of price.

On the nose you get wafts of treacle toffee, juicy raisins and some notes of dried apricot and some canned peaches. Further nosing reveal deeper notes of redcurrant and bitter blackcurrants, port and some slight smoky but nicely intergrated oak and light vanilla.

Overall the nose is quite sweet on this one and it reminds me more of El Dorado 21 Year Old than the Versailles 1973 I recently reviewed. For some this may be a bad thing but I thoroughly enjoyed both rums. This has a sweeter edge to it which I quite enjoy.

Sipped at the full ABV, you get a lot more of the oak and spice from the wood than the fruity nose might have suggested. The initial sip is woody and like the 1973 Skeldon slightly “musty”. That said it is considerably less “old” tasting than that bottling. This still has a slightly fruitier, sweeter edge.

Further sips see the palate adjust and you note a bit more of the fruitier notes. Plums, raisins and some Port. These notes move nicely along into the mid palate.

On the mid palate you get a lot of oak spice – ginger, oak and some faint traces of cinnamon. Marmalade and some notes of leather and Merlot move in and out of the mix.

The finish is long, rich and pretty spicy with a fruity kick to the end. Sultanas, satsumas and some Chocolate covered raisins.

This is all at full ABV. If you prefer a slightly less “heated” affair a couple of dEl Dorado Rare Collection Skeldon 2000rops of water would be recommended. A couple of drops does bring out a bit more of the fruitier notes and does temper some of the spicier elements of this rum.

As far as Demerara rums this is one of the few examples of 100% Tropically Aged Demerara you will find on the market. These El Dorado rums have effectively replaced the old Velier bottlings. If you are wanting Tropically aged as opposed to European aged – even only partly then El Dorado is your port of call for the foreseeable future.

I think El Dorado have been a bit canny in calling their most recent Rare Collection rums Albion (I will review soon) and Skeldon. They know the Velier releases are now only available on the secondary market and they know the name alone will sell a few bottles. I do think sales of their original 2 “batches” or Rare Collection were hindered a little by the price tag and competition from European bottlings with similar monikers.

I like this rum a lot – it’s a really top example of a Tropically aged Demerara. The Skeldon 1973 had perhaps the slight nod over it but this easily stands amongst the Velier Demerara bottlings I have tried to date.

That is perhaps the only reason I’ll stop short of giving it the full 5 stars. That 1973……..

Please someone send me a 1978 sample.

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