El Dorado 12 Year Old Demerara Rum

El Dorado 12 Year Oldimage

For some reason I find myself wandering towards my rum cabinet saying “Elll Doooraaado” in a terrible Scottish accent.  This is no reflection on El Dorado Rums, which are excellent.  It is due to a longstanding advertisement campaign, by the BBC to promote a very shortstanding  soap opera set in sunny Spain called Eldorado.

Even if you haven’t actually tried an El Dorado rum I would bet a bottle of Lambs Navy Rum that you have at some point in your tastings had some of the nectar which hails from DDL (Demerara Distillers Limited).  Alas, like many Caribbean nations, whilst Guyana was once awash with distilleries it now only has DDL. Until recently this was a state ran distillery but it is no longer in the government hands and has almost 9000 shareholders. Many of whom work in the distillery.  This is no ordinary distillery.  It has some of the most traditional rum distilling equipment on the planet, some of which was originally at other distilleries in Guyana, such as the Utvluigt (easy for you to say).  Demerara rum from traditional English/Scottish brands such as OVD, Lambs and Skipper use a rum base produced in this distillery .  If it says Demerara rum and Guyana on the bottle then there’s at least a drop of DDL in the mix!

I first became aware of Demerara rum online, I’d possibly seen it mentioned on Supermarket rum’s like some of those mentioned above but thought little of it.  El Dorado rum was raved about time and time again.  So as I trawled the Whisky Exchange just last September it seemed only logical that I would try an El Dorado rum.  Unfortunately, logic isn’t always my strong point.  Head scratchingly infuriating decisions are.  Hence my first “premium” Demerara rum was not an El Dorado 12 year old it was an XM 7 year old.  Now I’ve since be reliably informed that XM is bottled and blended in Guyana but the actual rums are from non-specified Caribbean islands not Guyana. Hence why Demerara has recently been removed from their packaging. Very nice rum nonetheless.

So here I am reviewing El Dorado 12 year old rum.  I’ve already reviewed their 5 year old variant.  I’ve also bought 3 bottles of their 15 year old.  It’s not going to take a genius to work out how this review is heading…….

El Dorado 12 Year Old Demerara Guyana Rum ReviewFirstly, the presentation of the rum.  I’ve got to say I do have a soft spot for stubby bottles.  It possibly reminds me of myself – short and squat.  However, these bottles are also pretty sexy.  There is a very strong brand identity and consistency in all the El Dorado rums.  Ever since Oasis changed their logo in the late 90’s I’ve always been of the opinion that brand identity, even if it is just a simple logo is very important.  As you can see from the picture you get the distinctive El Dorado labelling, a lovely plastic “medal” on the bottom of the neck and a beautiful presentation box.  This combined with a very good quality cork stopper is amongst the very best presented rums.  I have seen quibbling regarding the cork stopper breaking.  I have had no issues regarding this.  I hope this is something that has been rectified if it ever was an issue.

I’m not being chronological in my reviewing of the El Dorado rums.  I have had in my cabinet for some time a bottle (or two) of the 15 year old (Discounted very briefly at Aldi).  However, as I write this review I have yet to review the 15 year old.  Though I have one written in my head!  I have even tasted the 15 year old alongside the 12 year old in this review. What a great excuse!

Okay onto the actual rum.  The first thing I notice about the rum is that as soon as the cork is popped it exhibits that El Dorado smell.  Inspite of the numerous other rums which use DDL rums as their base or entire blend, nothing smells quite like an El Dorado rum.  Sweet, almost flowery but very difficult to place, with light whifts of brown sugar.

Upon looking at the 12 year old it immediately comes to mind that the rum is definitely slightly lighter than its 15 year old counterpart.  I assume this is down to it spending less time in the bourbon barrels, amongst other things it is noted that these are very different rums from different stills etc.  Upon tasting it is also noticeable that it isn’t quite as oaky as the 15 year old.  It’s sweeter with more delicate fruit flavours coming to the fore.  Rather than rum soaked raisins it’s more just raisin.  The differences between the two are quite subtle but are evident enough to my palate

Taking the rum on its own rather than comparing it to its older brother it is fruity with a little bit of citrus mixed in with raisin and currant like flavours.  It’s very sweet and quite light.  It’s very easy drinking.  As a sipping rum it as easy to drink as any rum in the 12 year old bracket I’ve tasted.  It is robust enough to handle cola when mixed and whilst personally I would use the 5 year old El Dorado, you could also mix it in cocktails.  I certainly wouldn’t mix this with a lot of cola as I do with some rums.  Roughly 50/50 makes for a very nice half way house between sipping and swilling.

A Demerara rum is probably a rum that someone with a more sweet tooth will take to.  I have seen Ron Zacapa noted for being very sweet.  I think this rum is sweeter.  However, nothing about this rum seems artificial.  You don’t get that caramel or spiced taste sum rums do carry.  It never becomes cloying.

At around £33 online (take into account p&p and shop around)  it is good value.  Despite the popularity of El Dorado rum and the numerous accolades bestowed upon it, it doesn’t have some of the airs and graces that some “premium” rums have built up around them.  Or the price tag.

This is one of the best rums I have tried and one of the best examples of a Demerara rum you are likely to find.  Highly recommended as a sipper or if your a philistine like myself – mix it with a little cola.  If anyone asks tell them thefatrumpirate said it was okay.

4 stars





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One comment on “El Dorado 12 Year Old Demerara Rum

  1. I’m really rather curious to know how you would rate this today. Your hydrometer test reveals some unwelcome results. I started off my rum journey with this kind of thing and I still have some El Dorado 12 on the shelf. It’s unlikely to be replaced. Very little distillery character and huge sweetness, as confirmed by the test, make it taste almost like a liqueur. It costs about the same price as Pusser’s Gunpowder Proof which is also from Guyana and has a far better distillery character and much better abv. I have a bottle of the Habitation-Velier Port Mourant White Rum, from a couple of years back, and the distillate is present in the Pusser’s but barely so in the El Dorado. Comparing the three makes me realise, yet again, that we are part of a personal journey with our drink experience. WT

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