Silver Seal Demerara Enmore Distillery 2002 (55% ABV)

Silver Seal Demerara Enmore 2002 review by the fat rum pirateSilver Seal Whisky Company are independent bottlers of Whisky and to a lesser extent rums.  They hail from Scotland (at least this is where the rum is bottled) and their rums and whiskies are largely available online from Whisky Antique and Rhum Excellence.  Italian and French websites.  They aren’t readily available in the UK.  Which is just typical of the ever confusing rum world.

I’ve put off a review of this rum for a while now.  The main reason is that I have been unable to get any real information about the actual rum in this bottle.  I have attempted to contact Max Righi from Whisky Antique and I have put out requests on various forums for some more information on this rum.  All have drawn a blank.

So I’m left with what little information I do have.  The rum was distilled in 2002 at Enmore Distillery and bottled in 2014.  As the Enmore Distillery closed in 1993 this is impossible.  What is possible is that rum was produced on one of the stills now housed at DDL (Demerara Distillers Limited) or the Diamond Distillery as it is often called.  My research indicates that this rum is likely to be from the Wooden Continuous Coffey or EHP still (EHP was a marque used by Enmore to indicate the rum was from the Enmore Estate).  This still is used in all of El Dorado’s rums except for the 3 year old.  For those who are interested here is a list of all the stills used in El Dorado’s rums.

As there are other Enmore rums in Silver Seal’s range that state Single Cask I do not think this is a single cask rum.  More likely to be a blend.  It is still limited with only 840 bottles available.  This bottle is number 768 so there aren’t many (if any) left.

Taking into account import duty etc this bottle ended up costing my around £100 (possibly a little more).  The presentation of Silver Seal’s rums tends to be quite distinctive.  The Trinidad and Jamaican rums tend to have brightly coloured birds and tropical scenary.  All in all they are very unusual and to my eye – a bit gaudy.  This rum has a slightly more muted presentation style instead with the classic sailing ship.  The rum comes in a black bottle with a silver cap with SS on it and a real cork stopper.  Much like Bristol Classic Rum there is a slightly DIY effect to the presentation.  Also included is a very sturdy box to store the rum in which denotes this is a “Special Bottling”.  To be honest the presentation is distinctive rather than good.  Still it’s what’s in the bottle that sells these kind of rums not the fancy presentation.  The rum is bottled at a very naval 55% ABV.

Silver Seal Demerara Enmore 2002 review by the fat rum pirateFor anyone who has yet to explore independent bottlings of Demerara rum, it can be a bit of a minefield.  I’ve had some spectacular bargains and some pretty expensive mistakes.  It is worth noting that many of the Demerara rums that are independently bottled are very different from the El Dorado rums.  Despite coming from the same stills.  Most independent bottlings come without any added sugar.

I’m always a little sceptical of the constant positive reviews of Independently bottled rums.  Particularly the expensive ones.  I’m pretty sure some of them mustn’t be all that great but I don’t know if people are always able to be honest when they have spent top dollar on something………

When the cork is popped on this rum as well as a very satisfying pop you also get a lot of “mustiness” – the rum almost seems to smell old.  When poured in the glass this aroma seems to dissipate quite a bit.  I don’t know if this is something to do with the cork or just how the rum has been aged etc.

The rum is a very nice dark reddish brown, it is very slightly cloudy (this becomes more evident when water is added) which suggests it hasn’t been chill filtered.  I’m a little surprised how dark the rum is as I have had older rums from other Demerara stills which have not been anywhere near as dark.  I’d be surprised if any colouring had been added though.  Much like the presentation anyone buying these rums knows what they are getting and the pressure which is on most commercial bottlers to present rum in a certain colour does not exist.

The nose on this rum is very strong.  There is still a slightly oaked mustiness to the spirit but nothing like when first “popped”.  Once you get past the strong alcohol notes you get a lot of very intense more familiar Demerara like notes.  Rich burnt sugar and a little toffee or caramel sweetness.  Dark chocolate raisins.  Sipped straight this rum is very intense.  It is full flavoured and very, very spicy on the palate.  If this isn’t Cask Strength it must be pretty close to the mark.

Unlike many, I will add water to rum when it is over 50% ABV or I feel like I am missingSilver Seal Demerara Enmore 2002 review by the fat rum pirate some of the subtler notes in the rum.  With this being so intense I do feel that a little water will open up the flavours a little.  For those who may think this is madness (or are questioning my manhood) a lot of distillers dilute their rums with water to around 20% ABV to ensure they detect every note and nuance.  I won’t take it that far I can assure you.

A little water really helps with this rum when sipping.  A few drops of water really helps bring out the more complex notes in the rum.  With the edge taken off the very intense hot pepper notes you get much more from the drink.  Much like the nose, you need to get past the stronger ABV to really appreciate this rum.

This Enmore is very intense and full of flavour.  Dark slightly bitter chocolate, rich plump raisins, toffee. A tiny hint of anise. It is still a bit of a tongue tingler even with added water.  It does actually have an almost numbing sensation on the palate and definitely makes the lips tingle as well!

Such is the intense flavour profile of this rum adding water really is a must to fully appreciate it.  Luckily you can add quite a bit before you even come close to losing any of the flavour.

I often talk about “proper” or “rummy” rum – this would definitely fall into that category.  It isn’t smooth or particularly refined.  A comparison even though it doesn’t taste quite the same would be Pussers Gunpowder rum (the old 54.5% Blue Label).  It’s got that same style.  Sweet yet menacing.

Silver Seal Demerara Enmore 2002 review by the fat rum pirateFor those hoping for a “sweet and smooth” sipping experience.  You aren’t going to get that kind of rum.  This isn’t Diplomatico Reserva Exclusiva, Zacapa or Pyrat XO. Nor is it typical of the EL Dorado range.  It shares obvious similarities but it hasn’t been sugared so the sweetness hasn’t been cranked up.

This rum isn’t that refined despite the 12 years ageing.  Which will surprise some.  As I haven’t been able to determine any details about the rum it could be that it was actually aged (and bottled) in Scotland.  So it hasn’t benefited from 12 years of Tropical ageing.  Maybe that is why it is slightly slightly rough and ready.

Expensive but overall a very good rum.  It has certainly piqued my interest in more aged Enmore expressions going forward.  I’ve resisted the urge to drop it half a mark based on price as I don’t think that wouldn’t be fair.  It is a piece of history after all.

A bit of a monster but full to the brim with flavour.

4.5 stars

 

 

 

 

 

 

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