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El Dorado 5 Yr Cask Aged Rum

Review: El Dorado 5 Yr Cask Aged Rum   (86/100)
a review by Chip Dykstra (Aka Arctic Wolf)
Posted on February 24, 2010

Demerara County (in Guyana) is popular across the world for its rich, three hundred year history of rum production. Using a combination of old wooden stills in conjunction with modern stills and distilling techniques, Demerara Distillers Ltd. (DDL) has built a reputation for outstanding quality and consistent production.  DDL is the currently the largest supplier of bulk Caribbean rums to Europe and North America.

In the Bottle  4/5

The new bottle design for the El Dorado 5 Yr Old Rum has a neat inverse curve which tapers down to a flared bottom.  At first I was not a fan of this new design but over time I have grown to change my mind, now I find the bottle quite attractive. The new red label with the large gold number 5 emblazoned upon it is simple but also eye catching.  I would like the bottle to be corked instead of capped with that annoying pressed on screw cap,  but that is just a niggle.

In the Glass  8.5/10

The bottle, when opened, provides an aroma of coarse toasted brown sugar with hints of cinnamon. As the bottle is poured the glass imparts the slightly bitter smell of oak tannins and wood. When I let the aroma linger in the air I receive additional wiffs of dark molasses and a mild toasted coconut.

When I swirl the glass I see tiny rivulets of oil on the side of the glass. Small legs form and trail back into the rum.  Nice!

In the Mouth  52.5/60

My first taste of the El Dorado 5 Yr old was surprising. I had expected a similar Demerara sweetness which I experienced when I tasted the El Dorado 12 year old.  However, instead of tasting like a typically sweet South American Rum, this has more of a Caribbean Island flavour profile with a hint of mildly bitter tobacco resting under the flavours and spices.  I taste toasted notes of spicy oak, dry fruits (dates, figs and coconut), as well as a caramelized brown sugar.  Although the rum is buttery, it is also  slightly dry with a tea like flavour that asserts itself with the dryness.  This spicy, slightly bitter, toasted flavour profile is actually very robust and displays a very nice complexity and balance.

In the Throat  12.5/15

In the throat, the buttery feel gives way to dryness which diminishes the appeal of the finish somewhat.There is a small bundle of vanilla at the end, and the toasted coconut remains as well.  My palate was left a little dry and spicy.  The burn was gentle, which makes the rum nice to sip neat.

The Afterburn  8.5/10

The El Dorado 5 yr old Rum first disappointed me when I missed the typical South American sweetness; then it confused me with a mildly bitter counter punch of flavor; and finally it delighted me with its robust complexity and balance.  I was so used to the sweet toffee like profile of the El Dorado 12 year rum that my first impression was that I had opened the wrong bottle.  Once I settled down, and realized that this was a different blend of El Dorado,  I began to take a new approach.  I had to put aside my expectations, and see what I had, rather than what I expected.  What we have is a robust, spicy, El Dorado with a more Caribbean Island profile than sweet South American.  It is a nice sipper and an even better mixer.  I designed a new Daiquiri for the rum which I find mildly delicious on hot summer days.

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


Suggested Recipes

Arctic Wolf’s  Sloe Comfortable Daiquiri
a cocktail in the daiquiri Style by Chip Dykstra (Aka Arctic Wolf)

1 Ounce Dark Rum (El Dorado 5Yr Cask Aged)
1/2 Ounce Southern Comfort
1  Ounce Fresh Squeezed Orange Juice
1/2 Ounce Fresh Lime Juice
1 Tbsp Sloe Gin

4 Large Ice Cubes
1 Chilled Glencairn Glass

Place the  Ingredients in a Metal Martini Shaker.
Shake Until Martini Shaker Chills.
Strain Into a chilled Glencairn Glass.
Add the Ice from the Martini Shaker.

Garnish with an Orange Slice if desired….. Enjoy!!


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 Yr 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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