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El Dorado 25 Year Old Vintage Reserve Rum

Rum Review: El Dorado 25 Year Old Vintage Reserve Rum   92.5/100
a review by Chip Dykstra (Aka Arctic Wolf)
Posted September 23, 2012
(Revisited December 2014)

The Diamond Distillery sits on the East Bank of the Demerara River near Georgetown, Guyana. The Distillery was originally part of the Diamond Estate which was the last of the Sugar Plantation Estates in Guyana to produce rum. Now, of course, it is home to Demerara Distillers Ltd. (DDL) who are popular across the world for their rich, Demerara Rum. Using a combination of venerable old wooden stills in conjunction with modern stills and distilling techniques, DDL, has built a reputation for outstanding quality and consistent production. In fact, Demerara Distillers is currently the largest supplier of bulk Caribbean Rum to Europe and North America.

The El Dorado 25 Year Old Vintage Reserve Rum is a blend of aged rums created to mark the turn of the millennium. It is blended from 25-year-old rum stocks which have been aged in used bourbon oak casks. This is quite different from those rums which feature a solera style age statement which highlights the oldest rum in the blend but also usually includes a high percentage of rum which is much younger.

In the Bottle 4.5/5

The Eldorado 25 Year Old Rum arrives in the squat rum decanter shown to the left. The presentation has what I will call an ‘old-world’ charm. It is a masculine look that has class but does not seem overly pretentious or ostentatious. I like the crystal topped cork closure, and I am happy to report that over the last six months when I have sipped from my current bottle, I have seen no evidence of deterioration. The metal canister which houses the rum is quite nice too, and makes a great impression on my rum shelf.

In the Glass 9.5/10

In the glass, the El Dorado 25 Year Old displays itself as a rich bronze coloured rum with tinges of red. A tilt of my glass and a slow twirl reveals an army of thick droopy leglets which crawl slowly down the inside of my glass back into the rum. The immediate nose brings forward rich notes of dark caramel and molasses; baking spices (vanilla, nutmeg, brown sugar, and cinnamon); nuts (walnuts and pecans); dry fruit (dates, figs and raisins); smokey tobacco; and lots of rich oak spice. Allowing the glass to sit brings wisps of dark Christmas fruitcake and bittersweet chocolate into the breezes above the glass as well.

In the Mouth 55/60

The rum is sweet on the initial delivery with flavours of rich dark brown sugar leading out in front of delicious baking spices (vanilla, cinnamon, nutmeg and cloves). Obvious flavours of dry fruit (raisins and dates) follow, accompanied by an oaken spiciness and impressions of fine port wine dipped cigars. There is an underlying nutty bitterness which reminds me of walnuts and pecans. This bitter component actually works extremely well with the sweetness of the Demerara sugar noted earlier. Somewhere in this mix of wonderful flavour is a chocolate covered Turkish Delight candy bar.

In the Throat 14/15

The exit is filled with flavours of dates and raisins which are followed by impressions of lush dark brown sugar. Baking spices and heated oak spices settle onto the palate and into the back of the throat. This finale is well worth an encore.

Afterburn 9.5/10

As mentioned earlier, I have been lucky enough to try the El Dorado 25 Year Old Vintage Reserve Rum at various times (and in various settings) during the past couple of years. I have noticed that each time I taste this rum, it seems to me to be just a little different than it was the time before. Because the stocks available for producing the El Dorado 25 are quite small each year, this kind of variation from batch to batch is not unexpected.

It is also true that every time I taste this rum, I am reminded of another great El Dorado Rum, the El Dorado Special Reserve 15 Year Old. It seems to me that these two rums must share a similar heritage. Although the El Dorado’s 15 Year Old Rum is wonderful, their 25 Year Old Rum raises the bar even higher. Its flavour is more refined and elegant, and as a result the rum is wonderful sipping experience.


For those who are interested here are links to my reviews of some of the other rums from El Dorado:


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)


8 Responses to “El Dorado 25 Year Old Vintage Reserve Rum”

  1. orin monize said

    best rum ever! like candy in liquid form. magnificent. love the 12 15 and 21 but this is just on another level i didnt know there was any alcohol in this rum lol

  2. Did you try the 43% European version or the more commonly available (in the US & Canada) 40% variant? I’ve now tasted both and find the 43% 25 year old to be better due to a slightly more intense flavour profile.

    • The Version which was reviewed was the bottling available here in Alberta (the 40 % abv). When I was in Guyana I tried two older bottlings, each separated by a couple of years. Each bottling was slightly different. When I asked about the changing taste, I was told that only a few barrels are bottled each time a in a production run, and that this leads to variation in flavour from one run to the next.

      • Following on from that, it would appear that the rumours of there being no further 25 year old stock to issue are all apocryphal, then.

        • I have no information that would lead me to believe that the 25 Year Old is being discontinued. In Alberta there was a recent change in distribution for El Dorado Rum. This change in distribution led to some local shortages in Western Canada.

  3. Good review! I hope to have a chance to taste that rum one day. Presently, I have in my collection the El Dorado 12, 15 and 21 yo. By far, my favorite is the 21 yo (not just between the three but over all my collection) and the similarity you tell between the 12 and 21 yo is right. I find them a bit sweeter and smoother than the 15 yo wich has a little bolder taste altought very good.

  4. Another great review. You have a knack of describing the flavours so well. Sadly another rum I don’t think that I will ever get to try. Interested to read that it is related in some way taste wise to the 15 as that is on my list to buy. I have the 12 and its really tasty.

    • Thanks Stevo

      I find the 12 is similar to the 21 and the 15 is similar to the 25. In each case the older version seems to be a refined version of the younger version, at least in terms of taste. When you finally try the 15, make sure you let me know what you think of it.

      Cheers Chip

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