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El Dorado 5 Year Cask Aged Rum

Review: El Dorado 5 Year Cask Aged Rum   (84/100)
a review by Chip Dykstra (Aka Arctic Wolf)
Posted on July 18, 2018

The Diamond Distillery sits on the East Bank of the Demerara River near Georgetown, Guyana. The Distillery, originally attached to the now closed Diamond Sugar Estate, is home to Demerara Distillers Limited (DDL). Several years ago, I was invited by DDL and Woodman Wines and Spirits to travel to Guyana for a very exclusive tour of DDL’s facilities with a small group of Canadian Spirits Writers and Restauranteurs.

Some of the ‘Heritage Stills’ I saw in operation were over 250 years old, and they were still producing (as closely as possible) the same historic marques of rum which they had produced over two centuries ago. Superimposed upon the scene of ancient Stills and equipment was the dichotomy of a brand new distillation plant which had just begun to produce its own marques of rum side by side with the ancient historic stills. The new distillation plant represents a bridge to DDL’s future of new technology and methods of production. However, by continuing to operate the old plant and maintaining the unique marques of rum upon which the company built its original success, the foundations for that bridge to the future have been set firmly in their historic past.

According to the El Dorado Website, the El Dorado 5 Year Cask Aged Rum obtains unique character comes from the blending of traditional aged rums from the Uitvlugt Savalle Still and one of the most famous Coffey stills in the entire world, The EHP Wooden Still or Wooden Continuous Coffey. In my past writings I have stated that I consider the EHP Wooden Coffey Still to be one of the Great Wonders of the Rum World. It was constructed in 1880 at the Enmore Estate (over 130 years ago), and it continues to operate at the Diamond Distillery today.The use of these ancient stills ensures that the Demerara Rum produced at DDL’s Diamond Distillery is unlike anything produced anywhere else in the world. (For more information on the unique Heritage Stills in operation at the Diamond distillery you may read my first hand account here (Diamond Distillery Tour).

The El Dorado 5 Year Cask Aged Rum is bottled at 40 % alcohol by volume.

In the Bottle 4/5

The 5 Year Old Cask Aged Rum is part of El Dorado’s Fine Cask Aged Series which also includes the El Dorado 3 Year Old and 8 Year Old Rums. All three spirits share the same bottle design and a label presentation. I like the wide shouldered bottle which gently curves towards the widened base. The shape of the bottle gives the rums a sexier look than a standard straight tall bar room bottle. However, the curved bottle preserves the functionality of that standard tall bottle. It is easy to store on my bar shelf, it is easy for me to grab hold of, and it is easy to pour out drinks for cocktails or for sipping neat. The label is attractive and easy to read yet also has just enough elegance to set it apart from the other bottles on my bar. If the bottle were corked with a quality closure, I might be tempted to award a higher score for presentation.

In the Glass  8.5/10

The 5 Year Old El Dorado Rum has a nice rich amber colour in the glass, and when I tilt and twirl my glencairn I see a slightly thickened sheen of rum. Medium-sized leglets form and slowly drop back down into the rum as slender legs. The colour is perhaps a touch darker than I would expect from a 5 Year Old Rum, and when I asked the El Dorado Master Distiller about this, he explained that the colour of the rum is not necessarily consistent from batch to batch. Therefore a small amount of caramel colouring is used to maintain a consistent colour for the brand.

As soon as the bottle was opened, I noticed a firm aroma of coarse toasted brown sugar with hints of baking spices (vanilla and cinnamon) in the breezes above the bottle. As the bottle was poured into the glass, the slightly bitter smell of oak tannins and wood sap joined in. As I allowed the glass to breathe the oaken smells seemed to meld with the brown sugar and baking spices. There were indications of toasted coconut, almond, as well as some orange peel and banana. These indications appear as accents upon the dominant characteristics of oak, rummy dark brown sugar and baking spice.

In the Mouth  50.5/60

The El Dorado 5 Year Old is drier than the nose suggests. Things begin with notes of dry spicy oak, dry fruits (dates, figs and coconut), as well as a lightly dry tea-like flavour which meanders within the oak spices. The rum is lightly buttery and towards the end of the delivery, flavours of dark caramelized brown sugar and treacle appear. There is just a touch of roughness, which is easily soothed by a well placed ice-cube. The ice also brings forwards flavours of espresso and bittersweet dark chocolate.

Although the rum is certainly nice served over ice, I find that I really enjoy the 5 Year Old rum as a cocktail spirit. Served with a few ounces of cola over ice (maybe even add in a dash of barrel aged bitters) the rum becomes a superb back deck libation on warm sunny days. We can class it up a little in a Rum Club Cocktail, or even treat the rum like a nice aged whisky a as we make an Old Fashioned Cocktail (see all recipes below). The rum is truly versatile in its appeal.

In the Throat  12.5/15

In the throat, the buttery feel gives way to dryness and a light bitterness which diminishes the appeal of the exit when served neat. There is a small bundle of vanilla and baking spice at the end, and the toasted coconut lingers as well.

The Afterburn  8.5/10

The El Dorado Five Year Cask Aged Rum is one of my favourite rums in its age (and price) class. It’s versatility makes it an ideal selection if you are entertaining a wide variety of palates as the rums slides easily into all manner of servings from the simple rum and cola deck drink, to the Old Fashioned Cocktails. Many will even prefer to sip the spirit neat or over ice.

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


Suggested Recipes

Cuba Libre’ Plus
(a fancied up Rum and Coke Deck Drink)

1 1/2 oz. El Dorado Five Year Cask Aged Rum
3 to 4 oz Coca Cola
dash Fees Brothers Barrel Aged Whiskey Bitters
Lime wedge

Rub the rim of a standard rocks glass or highball glass with lime
Squeeze the lime over the glass to release some juice into the drink and fill with the glass with ice
Add Rum, Bitters and fill with Coca Cola
Enjoy Responsibly!


Rum Club Signature Cocktail SAM_1059The Rum Club Cocktail

2 oz El Dorado 5 Year Cask Aged Rum
1/4 oz Orange Curacao
1/4 oz tsp Fresh Squeezed Lemon Juice
1 tsp Sugar Syrup
1 dash Angostura Bitters
1 dash Fees Cocktail Bitters
1 dash Maraschino Liqueur
Orange Peel
Splash Ginger-ale

Add the first seven ingredients into a cocktail shaker with ice
Shake until the sides frost
Rim the edge of a chilled cocktail glass with a lemon slice and dip it in sugar
Strain the contents of the shaker into a chilled cocktail glass
Lengthen with Ginger-ale
Garnish with orange peel and a lump of ice
Please Enjoy Responsibly!


Rum Old Fashioned

Rum Old Fashioned

2 oz El Dorado 5 Year Cask Aged Rum
1 tsp Sugar Syrup (1:1 Ratio)
1 dash Angostura Bitters
1 dash Fees Cocktail Bitters
Twist of Orange Peel

Add the first three ingredients to a rocks glass over the ice cubes
Rub the cut edge of the orange peel over the rim of the glass and twist it over the drink. (This will release the oil from the orange zest into the drink)
Drop the peel into the cocktail if desired.

Please Enjoy Responsibly!

Note: If  you are interested in more of my original cocktail recipes, please click this link (Cocktails and Recipes) for more of my mixed drink recipes!


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)






3 Responses to “El Dorado 5 Year Cask Aged Rum”

  1. After drinking El Dorado 12 on my birthday and going on drinking the following day
    I was so surprise when i woke up i feel like drink again
    S Toka

  2. Brian said

    This was my second serious rum purchase after the El Dorado 12, but the first to try neat as I felt I need to develop my palate before I pop the cork on the 12 year old. Your top 30 list has been my reference source for my rum education as I look for what’s available locally.
    Chip have you reviewed the El Dorado 8? I see it here in New Brunswick and I think this will be my next purchase – slowly and enjoyably working my way up.

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