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El Dorado Spiced Rum

Review: El Dorado Spiced Rum  (83.5/100)
a review by Chip Dykstra (Aka Arctic Wolf)
Posted July 31, 2014

I was privileged recently when I received an invite to visit the facilities of  Demerara Distillers Limited (DDL) in Guyana, South America two years ago. During this visit I was given a complete tour of the Diamond Distillery where DDL’s famous El Dorado Rums are produced. This included a tour of the old plant which houses the heritage stills (famous stills from various estates in Guyana some as old as 250 years, all working and still producing rum), and I saw DDL’s new high-capacity five-column distillation plant which is now in operation.

During this trip, I also was able to taste the entire line of El Dorado rums including the new El Dorado Spiced Rum. In fact at the guest house where I was staying, a full bottle of the El Dorado Spiced (and a few others as well) were left for our small Canadian group to enjoy each evening. I snapped a nice picture of the bottle while I was there and spent a little time gathering some tasting notes. At that time the Spiced rum was produced using lightly aged rum which had been produced at the old plant using the old heritage stills.

However, two and a half years have passed and the transition of rum production (for El Dorado’s younger rums) has almost certainly been moved to the new plant and this rum is now entering into the North American Marketplace. I strongly suspect that the El Dorado Spiced rum is now a product of the new distillation plant rather than the old heritage plant and have decided to revisit my original review.

ED Spiced-750-USA-cut-CMYKIn the Bottle 4/5

The El Dorado Spiced Rum arrives in a tall bar room style bottle pictured to the right. The front label is quite attractive with clear colours and fonts and with the El Dorado logo proudly displayed. I also like the back label of the bottle which tells me that this rum is made from a blend of aged Demerara Rums and natural spices. This back label even gives me some brief tasting notes letting me know that I can expect to taste: cinnamon, vanilla, and a hint of citrus. I appreciate the tasting notes. They give the customer an indication of what to expect when they purchase the bottle. They can serve as an enticement if the tasting notes are favourable to his or her palate, or as a warning if they are not.

As usual, I have reservations concerning the metallic screw cap closure. These flimsy screw caps seem to lose their thread easily and are prone to becoming warped if they fall to the floor.

In the Glass 8.5/10

The rum displays itself as a pale copper liquid in the glass with very obvious notes of cinnamon, cloves, brown sugar, butterscotch, and a healthy dose of vanilla rising into the air. The aroma is richer and spicier than it was two years ago although the general profile of vanilla, brown sugar, cloves, and cinnamon is the same as before. light notes of apricot and peaches reach the breezes above the glass coinciding with some quiet notes of orange peel and citrus.

In the Mouth 50/60

The rum crosses the palate with sweet flavours of brown sugar melded into cloves and cinnamon with orange peel, nutmeg, and coriander adding additional spicy character. As before,strong notes of vanilla are evident and there is also a light dusting of oak woven into the flavour profile. The heat from the rum is more carefully melded into the firm butterscotch and brown sugar flavours.

I poured a few friends a glass of the El Dorado Spiced, as part of my review process, and solicited their opinion as to how well it stacked up both neat and mixed with cola. The opinions expressed by my friends match my own as we all enjoyed our libations and thought the El Dorado Spiced and Cola tasted especially nice. The spicy thrust from the rum pushes through the cola without becoming cloying or overwhelming.

In the Throat 12.5/15

Previously (two years ago) when I sipped the El Dorado Spiced rum neat, I found the finish to be a little uncomfortable. Too much vanilla pushed through the finish, and the spices seemed to carry too much sharpness. Two years later the rum is much nicer and I find I can sip the rum or mix it with cola with equal pleasure.

The Afterburn 8.5/10

The El Dorado Spiced Rum is certainly a much more pleasant indulgence than it was two years ago. I suspect that when the rum was first introduced, it was a bit of a trial experiment being the first spiced rum the distillery had created. However, as we should expect, two years into the production some of the rough spots have been smoothed out and the rum is now more balanced and flavourful.

If you are interested in comparing more scores, here is a link to my other published Rum Reviews.


Suggested Recipe

The El Dorado Spiced rum certainly mixes very well with its regular partner, cola. However for my cocktail suggestion I am going to go back to my original recipe of two years ago, Georgetown Punch. Like the El Dorado Spiced Rum, it tastes better today than it did before.

Georgetown Punch

Georgetown Punch

1 1/2 oz El Dorado Spiced Rum
1 1/2 oz Pineapple Juice
1/2 oz Fresh Squeezed Lime
1/2 oz Orange Juice
1/4 oz Triple Sec
3/8 oz Grenadine
Angostura bitters
Crushed ice (half glass)
Ginger Ale
Pineapple garnish

Place the first Seven ingredients in a glass tumbler which is half full of crushed ice.
Stir and complete with Ginger Ale
Garnish with a piece of pineapple



My Final Score is out of 100 and you may (loosely) interpret the score as follows:

0-25     A spirit with a rating this low would actually kill you.
26-49   Depending upon your fortitude you might actually survive this.
50 -59  You are safe to drink this…but you shouldn’t.
60-69   Substandard swill which you may offer to people you do not want to see again.
70-74    Now we have a fair mixing rum or whisky.  Accept this but make sure it is mixed into a cocktail.
75-79    You may begin to serve this to friends, again probably still cocktail territory.
80-84    We begin to enjoy this spirit neat or on the rocks. (I will still primarily mix cocktails)
85-89    Excellent for sipping or for mixing!
90-94    Definitely a primary sipping spirit, in fact you may want to hoard this for yourself.
95-97.5 The Cream of the Crop
98+       I haven’t met this bottle yet…but I want to.

Very loosely we may put my scores into terms that you may be familiar with on a Gold, Silver, and  Bronze medal  scale as follows:

70 – 79.5    Bronze Medal (Recommended only as a mixer)
80 – 89.5     Silver Medal (Recommended for sipping and or a high quality mixer)
90 – 95         Gold Medal (Highly recommended for sipping and for sublime cocktails.)
95.5+            Platinum Award (Highest Recommendation)


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