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El Dorado Single Barrel ICBU

Review: El Dorado Single Barrel Demerara ICBU Rum (Savalle Still) (86.5/100)
a review By Chip Dykstra (Aka Arctic Wolf) Posted August, 2010
Posted on September 30, 2010

The Uitvlught Sugar Factory was founded in the 18th century on the west bank of the Demerara River.  El Dorado Rums, (produced by Demerara Distillers Ltd in Guyana), have introduced a Single Barrel rum using only distillation and fermentation techniques of the Savalle Still (using the same traditional methods which have been employed for 250 years).  As the barrels from this still were originally marked with an  ICBU marque  to identify the rums from the Uitvlught Sugar Factory, this rum is labeled El Dorado Single Barrel Demerara Rum ICBU.  This bottling is part of a series of Single Barrel offerings available as part of the El DoradoRums Connoisseur’s Range.

I consider this somewhat of an artisan offering which gives the rum aficionado a glimpse into the particular characteristics of Demerara rum from a particular still, in this case the Savalle Still.  Rum from this particular still would normally be blended with many other rums from the other Demerara stills and from other barrels types to construct a quality Demerara blend.  The original distillation techniques of the Savalle Still produces a very particular flavour profile, and this review will be a reflection of that particular characteristic flavour profile which the Savalle Still imparts.

In The Bottle  4 /5

As you can see the bottle has an elegant tapered shape which is distinctive from the more familiar bottles in the El Dorado line up.  The wider shoulders and narrow bottom is a functional design making the bottle is easier to grip and hold.  The bottle also has a nice little booklet attached to the neck which provides an interesting write-up on the Uitvlught Sugar Factory, and the Savalle Still.

In the Glass  9/10

In the glass, the rum displays a rich oil which has laid nice long legs down the inside of my glass.  Rising from the glass is a complex oak and tannin filled scent.  In the breezes with the woody tannin, I smell sweet dark brown sugar spices, and a firm citrus note that reminds me of orange and banana peel.  The overall impression is of richness and complexity.  In my previous review of the El Dorado Single Barrel PM, I noted a much more severe woodiness in the aroma. The ICBU offering appears to be much more approachable.

In the Mouth  52.5/60

The first thing I noticed about the ICBU as I tasted it was the balance between the woody tannins and the sweeter molasses based flavours of this rum. My earlier review of the El Dorado Single Barrel PM noted that the PM offering was very intense with woody tannin flavours.  The ICBU is much gentler.  The oak is strong, but the sweetness of the brown sugar spices balances the sharpness of the oak and citrus zests.  There is no bitter aftertaste to spoil the experience.  As well, flavours of caramel, toffee, and vanilla all lie in moderation under the oak spice as does a slightly charred nuttiness, and flavours of toasted coconut.

In the Throat  12.5/15

Oak tannin and orange peel dominate the finish on the palate.  It may be a tad spicy,  but a touch of sweetness also lingers which tempers the experience.  In the empty glass are rich aromas of baking spices and brown sugars.  The smell is very luxurious, and I sense a bit of that rich luxury in the finish as well.

The Afterburn  8.5/10

It is fascinating to explore the taste profile which the distillation and fermentation techniques of the  Savalle Still  impart into the Demerara rum profile.  Although  I was sampling and tasting  for the purpose of this review, I have an impulse to purchase a bottle and make this a regular encounter. If you are curious and wish to experience an  exploration of the Demerara rum taste profile,  you may  find joy in the exploration of these new El Dorado Single Barrel connoisseur offerings particularly the ICBU.

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


Suggested Recipe

Although the El Dorado Single Barrel ICBU Rum is primarily meant as a connoisseur’s sipping rum; I could not resist the urge to explore at least one cocktail experience.  Since I have been using Cranberry juice in my cocktails lately, I decided to do a variation of one of my earlier bar drinks, the Traveler Cocktail.   I call the new cocktail made with the El Dorado ICBU Single Barrel Rum, Savalle Row, which is probably a bad pun but a very good cocktail.

Savalle Row
a cocktail by Chip Dykstra (Aka Arctic Wolf)

1 1/2 oz El Dorado ICBU Single barrel Rum
3/4 oz Triple Sec
3/4 oz Lime juice
3/4 oz Cranberry juice

One each, frozen Raspberry and frozen Blackberry for garnish

Shake all the ingredients over ice
Strain into a suitable glass
Garnish with the frozen fruit

And always remember, the aim is not to drink more, it is to drink better!


You may (loosely) interpret the scores 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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