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El Dorado Single Barrel PM

Review: El Dorado Single Barrel Demerara PM Rum (Port Mourant) (79/100)
a review By Chip Dykstra (Aka Arctic Wolf)
Posted January 31, 2010

The Port Mourant Sugar Factory was founded in 1753.  The original wooden pot still (the PM), is the only production still of its kind left in the entire world.    If one was to make a list of the Seven Wonders of the Rum World, the Port Mourant (PM) still would surely be on the list, as this still produces Demerara distillate for DDL distilleries to this day.

El Dorado Rums (produced by Demerara Distillers Ltd in Guyana) have produced a Single Barrel rum using only distillate from the Port Mourant Wooden pot still.  As the barrels from this still were originally marked with a PM to signify the Port Mourant Still, this rum is labeled El Dorado Single Barrel Demerara Rum PM.

I consider this somewhat of an artisan offering which gives the rum aficionado a glimpse into a particular characteristic rum.  Rum from this still would normally be blended with many other rums from other stills and from other barrels to produce a quality Demerara blend.  The Wooden Pot still imparts a very particular flavour profile to the distillate and this review will be an analysis of that particular characteristic flavour.

In The Bottle 4 /5

As you can see the bottle has an elegant tapered shape distinctive from the other bottlings in the El Dorado line up.  It also has a nice little booklet attached to the neck which provides an interesting write up on the Port Mourant still and its place in history.

In the Glass  8.5/10

In the glass the rum displays a rich oil which laid nice long fat legs down the inside of my glass.  This should indicate a long rich finish.  Rising from the glass is a woody tannin filled smell with a great complexity of aroma.  Behind the woody tannins I smell coarse dark brown sugar.  Although this will sound crazy, The woody tannin  smell is of poplar and spruce wood rather than oak.  It is a slightly sappy and mildly acrid smell.  Rum notes of vanilla and toffee are there as well, but they lay behind the spicy woodiness.

In the Mouth 47/60

Tasting the rum is almost like walking into a logging camp, with the taste of freshly chopped spruce, pine, and poplar.  If you have ever put a wood chip in your mouth you know the taste.  It is acrid and bitter, filled with sharp tannin flavours and spicy sap.   I do now, however, understand better, other El Dorado rums I have previously tasted.  This overwhelming, spicy, woody rum is at the core of other El Dorado rums I have tried.  It is just that I have not been whacked on my palate with so much of it before.  Imagine spicy nutmeg and hot cinnamon on their own without other softer flavours to temper them.  That is kind of what this is like.  As an examination of this component of the El Dorado taste profile,  this is fascinating.  Caramel, toffee, vanilla, charred coconut and a rich molasses are all hinted at here but none manage to do more than survive, in the depths of the woody flavour profile.

In the Throat  11.5/15

The spicy woodiness lasts a long time on the palate and in the throat.  If the flavour was not so severe the finish would be excellent, but the spicy, bitter burn leaves the mouth hot and puckered and the throat coated with a spicy hot oil.

The Afterburn  8/10

This is a rum for connoisseurs.  It is fun and fascinating to explore the taste profile which the Port Mourant Still imparts into the demerara rum.  But for rum aficionados who are hoping for a sipping rum they can enjoy with friends, this has very little to offer.  The acrid bitterness will turn most palates away.  I take the rum for what it is, and enjoyed it immensely.  But, I was happy that I was sampling and tasting  for the purpose of this review, rather than making this a regular encounter.   If you are curious and wish to experience an unusual  exploration of the demerara rum taste profile,  you may  find joy in the exploration of these new single barrel offerings.   But if you are looking for a quality rum to share with friends on a nice summer evening, then I would suggest you pass on the El Dorado Single Barrel PM. The more usual rums in their line up are better suited for friends.

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


Suggested Recipes

For the adventurous in spirit,  I believe this rum could help you craft an excellent Tiki Drink. Its firm and unique flavour profile could act as an excellent foil for a milder rum. In fact, in the case of this rum I have decided that the strong flavour of the PM may need a double dose of milder rums to create a more balanced flavour. So here is a recipe a Mai Tai which I call the An El Dorado Evening.

An El Dorado Evening
a cocktail by Chip Dykstra (Aka Arctic Wolf)

2/3 oz El Doroda 3 Yr Cask Aged Rum
2/3 oz El Doroda 5 Yr Aged Rum
2/3 oz El Dorado Single Barrel PM
1 oz Triple Sec
1/2 oz Lime Juice
1/2 oz Amaretto
4 Large Ice Cubes
Glass half full of Crushed Ice
maraschino cherry
mint sprig
pineapple slice

Add the first five ingredients into a metal shaker with the large ice cubes
Shake until the metal shaker chills
Strain the mixture from the metal shaker over the crushed ice.

To garnish add the maraschino cherry and sprig of mint into the glass and the slice of pineapple on the rim. (Please use real maraschino cherry, and bruise the mint prior to placing it in the glass.)


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)

2 Responses to “El Dorado Single Barrel PM”

  1. Tiare said

    Very interesting review! the thougt of using some of this in a Tiki drink is exactly what came to my mind while reading. I have, well had, a rum with what i believe a somewhat similar flavor profile but maybe less harsh, the OVD (Old Vatted Demerara) it had a very woody and somewhat bitter flavor. I didn´t exactly like it neat on its own but i liked it either neat with another rounder demerara or other dark rum or as a cocktail ingredient.

    The fact the OVD finished and that i want another is proof enough..

    I hope to be able to get me a bottle of this ED rum, i know i would enjoy it.

    • Its funny Tiare, but I was actually thinking of you and your website as I was wrapping my mind around the cocktail suggestion. I explored

    • A Mountain of Crushed Ice

    • and many of your recipes before I constructed mine. (Your site is one of my favourites.

      Thank you for your kind words, and keep up the good work!

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