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Rum Review: El Dorado 15 Year Special Reserve Rum
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How do you rate El Dorado 15 Year Special Reserve (5 is best)?
5
45%
 45%  [ 5 ]
4
54%
 54%  [ 6 ]
3
0%
 0%  [ 0 ]
2
0%
 0%  [ 0 ]
1
0%
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Total Votes : 11

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Capn Jimbo
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PostPosted: Sun Mar 09, 2008 12:58 pm    Post subject: Rum Review: El Dorado 15 Year Special Reserve Rum Reply with quote

El Dorado 15 Year Special Reserve Rum: "Orange Peel on the Grill"

*******

Special Note: Oddly enough we have tasted ED15 three times! Part of this is simple forgetfulness, but part is that we feel this rum deserves special attention.

This review is one of our earliest reviews and it shows. The second that follows was some months later, but I'd pay special attention to the last and third review, the most complete and which finished the bottle...


*******


Dave Brooms fourth major style of rum, Demerara style - soft, subtle and medium bodied. El Dorado 15 has been widely reviewed and rated as one of the top rums in the world. There is little disagreement ED15 is a great representative of this category. Now the reviews:

Sue Sea:

Quote:
I'd had tasted El Dorado 15 before, but it was early in my tasting before I'd really developed much of a nose. Its intial aroma struck me as a light orange peel or rind, along with a light oak. Its body was medium light; its taste was consistent with the pleasant aroma. On reflection I tasted some apricot as well. The El Dorado's finish was short and smooth - little pepper, no burn - like smoked chicory, and mesquite or hickory on the barby.


Me: Sue Sea really does have a talent for identifying the very real aromas and tastes of rum. I do sense them, understand them and appreciate them but often need her nudge before I can defintively say "Yes! That's it!". That's not always true of course; example Angostura 1919 ("Bananas Foster"). I got her on that one - ha! But she really hit ED 15 on the head, despite a minor disagreement in rating. A must buy for your basic reference collection.

Rating (10 is best): Sue Sea - 7, Capn Jimbo - 8.
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Capn Jimbo
Rum Evangelisti and Compleat Idiot


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PostPosted: Mon May 05, 2008 7:57 am    Post subject: Rereview: El Dorado 15 Year Special Reserve Rum Reply with quote

El Dorado 15 Year Special Reserve Rum: "Jamaican Marmalade"

We recently retested ED15 quite by accident - short term memory is the first to go, lol. What's impressive - to us anyway - is that our impressions and scores remained surprisingly consistent. Ha! Here goes...

Sue Sea:

Quote:
I had no idea we'd tasted this before, but is sure is nice to know many of the same impressions remain. I do find my tasting improves with time, but I must warn you that any tasting session has its limits, around 4 or 5 rums for me. This is due to the fact that I usually go through two 1/2 oz portions to reach my conclusions. You can do the math!

El Dorado 15 is a nice clear medium amber, nice legs. Its aroma is sweet peach/apricot/mango (the deeper fruits), clove and a sharper cinnamon ginger. It is not syrupy though. On reflection I picked up a bit of oak and vanilla caramel. 15's taste is consistent and features the sharp cinnamon-ginger. It has a medium, warm, light pepper/ginger finish.


Me:

Sue Sea and I agree on this one. I do find the vanilla-caramel a bit more prominent than she does. The taste is entirely consistent with the cinnamon-ginger picking up as the palate progresses like a fireball hot candy. I found the finish hot and peppery (which I like) with a marmalade aftertaste. Very, very nice.

El Dorado 15 lives up to it's reputation, and I can't wait to pick up an ED12 for comparison, especially as there are not just a few reviewers who prefer it. Sue Sea and I will do a comparison with 12 year real soon now, lol...

Rating (10 is best): Sue Sea - 7, Me - 8.
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Capn Jimbo
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PostPosted: Thu Jul 29, 2010 5:58 am    Post subject: The last - and definitive review... Reply with quote

El Dorado 15 Year: "Baked hot prune cake". The Definitive Review.

Over the last few years we have managed to taste all the important rums - and have lost count at about 120 rums. ED15 was one of the first rums we reviewed and accordingly suffered from our newness. It is actually quite interesting to read through all three reviews to see the development of our tasting, which remained surprisingly consistent.

By now you've noted that ED 15 garnered an average score of 7.5 (Sue Sea - 7, Me - 8 ). That has changed for the better and this definitive review will reveal why.

Some rums work well for mixing while others are good daily sippers. El Dorado 15 Year is neither of these. Rather it is an exceptionally long aged, heavy rum that serves very well - but only for special occasions. Later, I'll tell you why...

Sue Sea:
Quote:

I normally start my reviews with my impressions of the bottle and the ambiance it does or does not create but that has already been well done, so I'll get to this most interesting Demeraran rum.

My intial aromatic impression was simply magnificent: rich - very rich, robust, thick and heavy. Lush! Like a cooking deep orange marmalade, with leather, a bit of vanilla and brown sugar. Think of a nice baked gingerbread right out of the oven.

The early palate was a smooth, buttery honey. This was followed quickly by an eruption of growing heat and spices: ginger, cinnamon and a bit of clove. The finish was surprising - a very dry, short cinnamon, follow by a long, drying aftertaste - the kind that demands a mouth clearing of cool, clear water - but not to the extent that it detracts from the experience.

El Dorado 15 Year was a rum that made me want to explore, to take repeated tastes to fully appreciate its character. It was a great rum, consistent, but full of explosive surprises. The aroma was the very best part but drops off quickly, to be replaced by an surging heat/sweet that was much appreciated. However the ending dryness was close to being over the top, the only factor that limited my rating.

This rum is not for everyday consumption. It is so rich and robust that it is almost liqueur-like. I'd call it a dessert rum to be served to guests (and myself, of course!) after a fine meal. One or two drams will be quite enough. I can easily imagine this fine sipping rum on the rocks with milk or cream, or perhaps even a coconut cream. As a sipper it almost begs for a dollop of real whipped cream on top, if only to counter the ending dry heat.

A great dessert rum and example of extreme aging.


Me:

Please know that it's just fine to combine Sue Sea's and my reviews, as I'll reveal other tastes and factors on which we both agree. El Dorado 15 Year is a Demeraran style. By DDL, it better be, lol! The rum opened with a deep, rich, sweet and tarry leather, black raisin and prune. Deep I say, with a high rich vanillan and darkest of orange, and some wispy clove and spice tones. Potent, thick, heavy and rich. Lovely!

The taste is consistent and begins almost syrupy smooth and sweet. But this is where the surprises begin. I was first struck by a growing hot black pepper, which fades rather quickly - only to be followed by a "bump" of dry cinnamon, then a sweet clove. The aftertaste then slowly emerged for a long hot black to white pepper glow. A mouth experience.

I fully agree with Sue Sea on the predominant and wonderful aroma. El Dorado 15 is completely consistent, but it is fair to say the palate, finish and aftertaste serve up one surprise after another. Opening sweet - then explosive but quickly fading dry heat, to be followed by a lasting and glowingly hot aftertaste.

It is rare to find a rum with such an intriguing combination of short finish with such a long aftertaste. What you have here is the result of both distillation and very long aging. El Dorado 15 Year deserves to be in your collection, if not only for its uniqueness, but as an example of extreme age. Fifteen years in the tropics can be compared to thirty years or more in Scotland.

Accordingly the rum becomes very heavy, thick and rich - almost to an extreme. This is what makes El Dorado 15 Year a specialty sipper for special occasions. After three drams of evaluation both of us actually found ourselves beginning to sweat. The experience - however intriguing - is demanding and must be limited. It's powerfully rich character will even overshadow a good cigar: although a good sipping rum almost always begs me to light one up, this rum did not.

In closing, we have found that seven to ten years is about perfect for a fine aged rum: think Mount Gay Extra Old or Seales 10 Year - both of which earned scores of "10". This amount of aging seems to reveal all the complexity, balance, smoothness and development that a rum can reveal. A younger rum is not ready - and an older risks going too far.

El Dorado 15 Year borders on that, but remains a recommended purchase for both the understanding and the special occasion experience. Well done!

Score (10 is best): very solid 8.
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RT
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PostPosted: Thu Aug 05, 2010 9:15 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Your progression of reviews for this rum is most interesting. Perhaps the first time around, you were not quite ready for such a bold rum. The second time, I think you pretty much nailed the review. Your third time is a bit like the rum itself, a tad overdone and falling somewhere between reverence and fear!

If I want a meek, mild rum, I can reach for one of those French agri-thingies. But when I want a serious, bold rum (which is most of the time) ED15 is right up near the top of my list.

I shudder at the thought of anything from cows mixed with this rum, but I will try it when the situation arises.
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Capn Jimbo
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PostPosted: Thu Aug 05, 2010 7:07 pm    Post subject: It's not about boldness but oldness... Reply with quote

It's not about boldness but oldness...

Yes, it is interesting to re-review rums. The first was one of our earliest, and it shows. The second after a few months, and the third after a few years. We avoid reading our old notes when we re-review; still, there was a remarkable consistency among the three, and the scoring changed only 0.5 points, from 7.5 to 8.

Good stuff.

But - and I know I'm speaking for Sue Sea as well - it's not about boldness at all, but about approaching overdone aging. Sue Sea's favorite rum is Pusser's Blue Label (she also loves Wray & Nephews Overproof); I love Smith & Cross Jamaican overproof, or a good Islay single malt. It doesn't get much bolder than these!

It's not about boldness. Oldness is another matter:

In truth, the more we have reviewed rums, the more we have come to appreciate younger rums. In our opinion, seven to ten years of aging is just about perfect. Younger rums have not yet had enough time to interact and benefit from the subtractive, additive and interactive qualities of oak. The El Dorado 15 Year is pushing it - remember, it has been well said that 1 year in the tropics may be comparable to 3 years in the northern climes. Fifteen years in the tropics would then be comparable to thirty to forty-five years for say, a single malt!

Overdone. We find that ED15 is on the edge.
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Jwilly019
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PostPosted: Sun May 01, 2011 2:09 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

This will be my first attempt at tasting notes. This past week has seen me open my bottles of ED 5, 12, and 15. I've read various reviews around the web when I first starting looking for (and eventually purchased) these bottles, though that was back in December of last year.

I just finished up my first pour of the 15, so these notes are subject to change. Consider them my first impressions if you will.

One further aside, I didn't look at your review(s) until after I had composed my own notes.

Nose: When nosing the 15, my first thought is always of brown sugar and vanilla. Upon deeper consideration, I also pick up hints of leather and perhaps a little cinnamon.

Taste: Very buttery. Smooth, in which I simply mean a lack of any alcoholic burn, rather than a lack of complexity. Admittedly, this is one part of my palate that still needs a little refinement. (Upon reviewing your, uh, review I also noted the peppery notes in the mid to late palate, though I'm not sure I would characterize it as hot).

Finish: Long and warming, but not in an unpleasant way. Cinnamon was the dominant flavor I found in the finish. (I have to disagree with Sue Sea, in that I didn't find the aftertaste to be drying to the point that I had to take a drink of water. Rather, I wanted to take another sip of the 15).

All in all, I found the ED 15 to be a very enjoyable pour. However, I thought the additional complexity and added heat I found in the finish to be more suited a Fall/Winter pour. Whereas the 5 and 12 year old bottlings to be more suited for a Summer drink. Both the 5 and 12 seemed to offer more sweetness (without becoming cloying) than the 15 and I didn't find nearly as much heat in the finish.

For the record, I don't mean to imply the 5 and 12 are not complex, but not to the same extent of the 15.
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NCyankee
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PostPosted: Wed Jun 08, 2011 8:49 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I wasn't aware until today when I was browsing the WIRSPA site that El Dorado is produced in wood stills, no wonder ED 15 is now one of my two favorite rums, along with Pusser's. I knew there was something unique about it the first time I tried it.
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Capn Jimbo
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PostPosted: Wed Jun 08, 2011 6:11 pm    Post subject: WIRSPA: to be read with a pinch of monosodium glutamate... Reply with quote

WIRSPA: to be read with a pinch of monosodium glutamate...


The DDL (Demeraran Distillers, Ltd) and their 200 year old wooden stills are often romanticized. Any marketer worth his bullshit would be remiss not to do so. But Yankster - and any others who bought this pitch - need to proceed with caution.

Here's why:

First of all, the DDL uses five basic stills:

* Wooden Coffey Still, originally from Enmore Distillery
* Single Wooden Pot Still, originally from Versailles Distillery
* Double Wooden Pot Still, originally from Port Mourant Distillery
* Original French Savalle Four-Column Still, originally from Uitvlugt Distillery
* Modern French Savalle Four-Column Still, without origin
* Two-Column Metal Coffey Still, without origin

And in his book "Rum", Dave Broom also mentions a "high ester still" and a couple of "tiny pot stills". Other more recent sources also add a new Five-Column and a new Two-Column still (2010). Combining all these sources, author Sascha summarizes:

* 1x Wooden Coffey Still of Enmore Sugar Estate
* 1x Single Wooden Pot Still of Versailles Sugar Estate
* 1x Double Wooden Pot Still of Port Mourant Sugar Estate
* 2x French Savalle Four-Columns Stills of Uitvlugt Sugar Estate
* 3x Two-Columns Metal Coffey Stills
* 1x Two-Columns Metal Coffey-like Still
* 1x Five-Columns Metal Continuous Still
* 1x Re-Rectification Still
* 2x Metal Pot Stills

The El Dorado rums use various combinations of these stills. Specifically, the ED 12 is composed of rums from the wooden Coffey still, the double wooden pot still, the single wooden pot still, and a dominant portion from a two column metal still.

Actually, the ED 12 is largely from a blend of the double wooden pot still added to the two column metal still product.


Other factors:

Let's burst the myth of 200 year old wooden stills. First, much of the El Dorado product is not produced in wooden stills, but in metal stills (although most have a wooden component.

Second, the wood in these stills is completely replaced on approximately a ten year cycle (with about 10% of the still being replaced each year). Thus the average age of these stills is really only about five years old.

A far cry from "200 year old stills". Third, it is extremely important to note that these wooden stills were originally built as a cheap alternative to preferred copper stills (which are still considered the gold standard). Copper is essential to removing the sulfur compounds common to most distilled rum. The wooden stills fail to convert the sulfur compounds, and must depend on the copper lyne arms to compensate.

And last, please note that the ferment (beer) spends only hours in the still during the distillation process. This is not years of wood aging - these few hours spent in the still do not allow any real wood effects to occur - not to mention that the wooden pot stills must be thoroughly cleaned inbetween batches. The wood does no more than to provide a heated container of short duration. All copper stills are far more effective, not only in heat transfer, but in removal or reduction of nasty sulfur compounds.


Summary:


Yankee, the "uniqueness" you like in ED12/15 and the Pussers Blue Label are due to the rich tasting, pot still batch processing, and really have very little to do with their material of construction. Keep in mind too, that all these rums have a dominant metal column still component.
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NCyankee
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PostPosted: Wed Jun 08, 2011 11:16 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Well I just cracked my recently arrived bottle of pure pot-stilled rum - Sea Wynde - and all I can say is - wow, this is one potent aromatic mother. Many similar characteristics to Pusser's, and the nose reminds me a lot of Appleton Extra (which I recently acquired and like a lot.) I guess that's dunder I am smelling.

I still don't get that unique sappy / burnt brown sugar taste I do from Pussers, which I had assumed was from the wood stills. (I have found that I am very sensitive to wood flavors, though maybe not to the extent that Arctic wolf is to bitterness.)

I will post my impressions of the Sea Wynde after I have spent some more time with it.

At some point in the near future I look forward to going to the next level of potency and procuring a bottle of Smith and Cross.


*******

Capn's Log: good choices! I would definitely suggest you also obtain a bottle of Myers's Legend - this is a true, classic, 10 yo pot stilled rum. It is amazingly flavorful, heavy bodied and smooth and represents what real rum is all about. We ignored this rum for years, to our great regret. Be sure to read the new review in the Jamaican section...
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da'rum
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PostPosted: Tue Sep 04, 2012 3:03 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Great review and excellent matching information, love the detail.

I gave this 5 points as it is the ducks nuts of rums. I love it.
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Dai
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PostPosted: Mon Mar 11, 2013 5:54 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I'm on my third bottle of El Dorado 15 since Christmas whoopee do and I have noticed that this bottle has less of a burnt oak after taste than the other two bottles. So my question is has anyone else noticed this sort of thing, slight difference in bottles of the same rum.

I actually prefer less of a burnt oak taste to it. So my second question is, is there a similar tasting rum (Demerara) that has this less of a burnt oak after taste to it. El Dorado 12 maybe? Pussers?
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Bearman
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PostPosted: Wed May 08, 2013 9:01 am    Post subject: Eldorado 15 Reply with quote

Nice review.
Sue Sea's idea of sipping this rum on the rocks works very well. I have been enjoying this over some time and the addition of a single icecube really balances things out: The oak seems to tone a bit down and the sweetness seems lighter and more pleasant. Excellent stuff this rum Very Happy
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bearmark
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PostPosted: Tue Mar 25, 2014 7:23 am    Post subject: Still a Great Rum Reply with quote

I revisited this rum last night and, despite all of the recent discussion about the addition of sugar by El Dorado, I still consider this a great rum. It isn't as sweet as I remember (probably all of the recent discussion playing games with my mind), but it's still every bit as complex and enjoyable. There's so much flavor to spend time deciphering and every sip leaves me with a reaction of... "this is really good stuff!" It's just not the same syrupy mess as something like Dos Maderas PX or Zacapa 23.

The bottom line is, if you haven't tasted this one, you really need to give it a try... if for no other reason than to find out how a really flavorful rum benefits from added sugar. I definitely will continue to savor this one and I still have an unopened bottle of ED12 that I'm anxious to crack open and compare as well.
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Rum References: Flor de Caña 18 (Demeraran), The Scarlet Ibis (Trinidadian), R.L. Seale 10 (Barbadian), Appleton Extra (Jamaican), Ron Abuelo 12 (Cuban), Barbancourt 5-Star (Agricole)
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Hassouni
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PostPosted: Tue Mar 25, 2014 10:01 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

ED12 is much, much sweeter
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NCyankee
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PostPosted: Tue Mar 25, 2014 10:09 am    Post subject: Re: Still a Great Rum Reply with quote

bearmark wrote:
I revisited this rum last night and, despite all of the recent discussion about the addition of sugar by El Dorado, I still consider this a great rum. It isn't as sweet as I remember (probably all of the recent discussion playing games with my mind), but it's still every bit as complex and enjoyable. There's so much flavor to spend time deciphering and every sip leaves me with a reaction of... "this is really good stuff!" It's just not the same syrupy mess as something like Dos Maderas PX or Zacapa 23.


I agree 100%, and even though the 12 yr is sweeter, the flavor is still robust enough that it is nowhere near obscured by the sweetness, as I find in rums such as Diplomatico and Ron Fortuna 8.

I am interested in seeing what Zacapa 23 tastes like now that they have cut the sugar by half. I suspect it will taste more like the Zacapa XO which IMO was a much better rum. A friend picked my up a bottle in Atlanta for me, but I haven't gotten it from him yet.
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