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Rum Review: El Dorado 5 Year Rum

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How do you rate El Dorado 5 Year Rum (five is best)?
 40%  [ 2 ]
 40%  [ 2 ]
 0%  [ 0 ]
 20%  [ 1 ]
 0%  [ 0 ]
Total Votes : 5

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Capn Jimbo
Rum Evangelisti and Compleat Idiot

Joined: 11 Dec 2006
Posts: 3499
Location: Paradise: Fort Lauderdale of course...

PostPosted: Sun Dec 21, 2008 6:25 am    Post subject: Rum Review: El Dorado 5 Year Rum Reply with quote

El Dorado 5 Year Rum: "The Unknown Rum"

But not for long.

Sue Sea and I bought and tasted the El Dorado 12 and 15 some time ago. These two fine rums are almost universally well regarded, and can be had quite reasonably at $20 and $24 respectively. Like many distillers, DDL (Demerara Distillers, Ltd) also produces a low price product, in this case the El Dorado 5 Year, and does so at a ridiculously low price.


At that price, those of us who fancy ourselves serious tend to shun such a rum, regardless of the brand. And I was no exception. But when your collection becomes large enough, and especially if you are like the cheapskate I am, you pick one up and trundle home with it. Just for fun, you say, maybe a good mixer.

Get to the point already, you must be thinking. Fine. El Dorado 5 Year is worth every penny! And what does that mean? Enough teasing, now you must read the reviews...

Sue Sea:

In the recent past I've enjoyed the El Dorados - the 12 and 15 to be exact. I like the entire experience of tasting, and if I said the bottle and presentation doesn't matter, I'd be a liar. There's nothing like a fine bottle that presents its rum with beauty and anticipation, and that causes you to lust for it. I insist on having the bottle(s) highlighted on the table while I taste. The 12 and 15 accomplish this magnificently. Gorgeous squat bottles, with their sailing ship label that shout out a history of quality.

The El Dorado 5 Year bottle is quite different. It is a classic round, medium necked bottle, topped by a pedestrian screw top. But thankfully carries yet another lovely, traditional label and typeface. Somehow it maintains the El Dorado image and communicates an image of solid quality.

Another element to any tasting is that I forbid Jim from telling me much of anything about a rum. I don't want any distractors or expectations. On this occasion he broke the rule just a bit and admitted he'd already tasted it (usually we do this together). He told the country of origin - fair game - but then warned me not to be too critical, that this rum might just change with time. Hmmm.

I always anticipate the first pour. The aroma of rum wafts and I get to observe and admire the rum in our tasting glasses. El Dorado 5 is a nice clear amber with surprisingly strong and steady legs. I then spent considerable time nosing it and for good reason.

This rum was different! Very unusual and identifiably unique among the many rums we've tasted. The 5 year presented with a deep, deep apricot over a bit of leather and a tarry, ropey, corky background. There is a sense of deep orange sweetness. This sweetness is not at all like the sugary, syrupy or honey kind but a clean fruit sweetness.

The 5 year's taste was also hard to nail at first. A kind of clovey, cinnamon with growing hot white pepper. The orange/apricot of the nose was there, but as before was in the background. The end palate became white peppery with a relatively short finish that features a whiff of deep throat heat. Like a bit of Jalapeno but in a very nice way. The lingering and significant aftertaste was a pleasant reflection of the aroma. There was no "exhale" (secondary olfaction).

Back to Jim's warning. Because this tasting turned out to be the opener to a flight of the Dorados, the El Dorado 5 Year had plenty of time to air. The changes were impressive. The sweetness came forward and the rum became ever smoother and more balanced.

In sum - and this review reflects it - this rum needs time and airing. But the result is stunning. It is a very well made rum, surprisingly complex and very well balanced. It is mysterious, sensual and hard to define and keeps changing - to the good! Like all fine rums, it leads to want more, to explore more. It is pleasantly strange and I really liked it.


Whew! I think this qualifies for Sue Sea's longest review ever. This is saying something for someone I consider a talented taster who usually zeroes right in and on target. If anyone has to scramble and explore, it's usually me.

As mentioned, by the time we got to the tasting, I'd had several tries at the El Dorado 5 Year and it was getting close to the label, lol. It was then I discovered what a difference airing and time made with it, and so warned Sue Sea. I deserve what I got.

When first poured, the 5 Year opens with a light alcohol prickle (which simply means don't go deep right away). It is medium bodied There is a deep orange/apricot and a pungent, sourleathery oak. There was a background I recorded as a slightly burnt medicinal rubber. But hardly unpleasant, call it interesting! The early palate was a deep, sweet orange that gave way to a growing leather and heat, and ending in a hot white pepper. The finish was slightly astringent, peppery tarry leather - as was the lingering aftertaste.

Although airing and time benefits most rums and tasting, El Dorado 5 Year is exhibit A. With just a bit of airing, the growing deep fruit sweetness comes forward, the leather retreats and the smoothness becomes remarkable. And now that the bottle is half empty - or is it half full - those attributes are permanent.

In sum, this is a terrific rum that compares favorably with its big brother and sister. At its chump change price of just $8.99 it is without question not only the best buy of this web site, but compares favorably to rums three times the price.

How does it compare to the relatively well respected El Dorado 12 and 15 Years. You might be surprised (see the El Dorado Smackdown, this section). Very surprised.

I insist that you buy it. Those who don't should find another website, say the MOR, where they even like 1 Barrel...

Scores (10 is best): 7.5

Go to Save Caribbean Rum Petition!

Last edited by Capn Jimbo on Tue Jul 20, 2010 1:18 pm; edited 1 time in total
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Joined: 21 May 2009
Posts: 3
Location: Glenside, PA

PostPosted: Sun May 24, 2009 4:05 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I was first turned on to this rum years ago while grabbing a bottle prior to boarding a cruise ship. Note: this was back when such practices were common. The owner of the little shop in San Juan recommended it and it is a great value for the money.
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Joined: 08 Dec 2017
Posts: 5
Location: Tennessee

PostPosted: Wed Dec 27, 2017 4:01 pm    Post subject: the surprisingly good stuff Reply with quote

ED 5 is what I buy if I see it. The 8 doesn't really get better, it just costs more. You smell it in the bottle and it just gives that rich brown sugar/molasses odor with a little vanilla. Perfect. The taste follows the pattern as well. On ice, with some Vernor's Ginger Ale or club soda, they are all good. Here in Tennessee I have to go to one liquor barn to get it, but it is worth the trip.
Seek not to follow in the steps of the wise man. Seek what he sought.
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