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El Dorado Spiced Rum

Review: El Dorado Spiced Rum  (83.5/100)
a review by Chip Dykstra (Aka Arctic Wolf)
Posted May 27, 2012
(revised July 11, 2016 as part of my 20116 Spiced Rum Countdown)

The Diamond Distillery sits on the East Bank of the Demerara River near Georgetown, Guyana (South America). The Distillery, originally attached to the now closed Diamond Sugar Estate, is home to Demerara Distillers Limited (DDL). A few 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 Restaurateurs. Some of the ‘Heritage Stills’ I saw in operation at the distillery 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.

El Dorado Spiced Rum is produced at the Diamond Distillery, and according to the El Dorado Website the rum is a 100 % Demerara blend which is  produced using natural spices (cinnamon and vanilla) and hints of citrus flavour. According to recent correspondence I have had with the folks at Demerara Distillers, all rums which are branded as El Dorado Rum are blended from stocks of rum which are produced upon DDL’s traditional Heritage Stills. (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).

el-dorado-spicedIn the Bottle 4/5

The El Dorado Spiced Rum arrives in a tall bar room style bottle pictured to the right. The front label is quite attractive with clear colours and fonts and with the El Dorado logo proudly displayed. I also like the back label of the bottle which tells me that this rum is made from a blend of aged Demerara Rums and natural spices. This back label even gives me some brief tasting notes letting me know that I can expect to taste: cinnamon, vanilla, and a hint of citrus. I appreciate the tasting notes. They give the customer an indication of what to expect when they purchase the bottle. They can serve as an enticement if the tasting notes are favourable to his or her palate, or as a warning if they are not.

As usual, I have reservations concerning the metallic screw cap closure. These flimsy screw caps seem to lose their thread easily and are prone to becoming warped if they fall to the floor.

In the Glass 8.5/10

The rum displays itself as a pale copper liquid in the glass. The aroma is richer and spicier than I remember from my review of a few years back, although the general profile of vanilla, brown sugar, cloves, and cinnamon is the same as before. Light notes of apricot and peaches reach the breezes above the glass as well alongside some quiet notes of orange peel and citrus. All in all the rum appears to be very approachable with a laid back non aggressive character.

In the Mouth 50/60

The spiced rum crosses the palate with sweet flavours of brown sugar melded into cloves and cinnamon with orange peel, nutmeg, and coriander adding to the spiced character. Strong notes of vanilla are evident, and there is also a light dusting of oak woven into the flavour profile. The heat from the spice appears to be carefully melded into the firm butterscotch and brown sugar flavours of the base rum.

I poured a few friends a glass of the El Dorado Spiced, as part of my review process, and solicited their opinion as to how well it stacked up both neat and mixed with cola. The opinions expressed by my friends match my own as we all enjoyed our libations and thought the El Dorado Spiced and Cola tasted especially nice. The spicy thrust from the rum pushes through the cola without becoming cloying or overwhelming.

In the Throat 12.5/15

Several years ago when I sipped the El Dorado Spiced rum neat (when the product had just been released), I found the exit a little uncomfortable. Too much vanilla pushed through the finish, and the spices seemed to carry too much sharpness. A few years later the rum is much nicer, and I find I can sip the spirit over ice with no discomfort. The finish does feature some heated cinnamon left over upon the palate, but this heat is soothed with vanilla and a soft butterscotch sweetness.

The Afterburn 8.5/10

The El Dorado Spiced Rum is certainly a pleasant indulgence. I suspect that when the rum was first introduced (several years ago), it was a bit of an experiment being the first spiced rum the distillery had created. However, as we should expect, a few years later some of the rough spots have been smoothed out, and the rum is now more balanced and flavourful.

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


Suggested Recipe

The El Dorado Spiced Rum certainly mixes very well with its regular partner, cola. However for my cocktail suggestion I am going to go back to my original recipe of two years ago, Georgetown Punch. Like the El Dorado Spiced Rum, it tastes better today than it did before.

Georgetown Punch

Georgetown Punch

1 1/2 oz El Dorado Spiced Rum
1 1/2 oz Pineapple Juice
1/2 oz Fresh Squeezed Lime
1/2 oz Orange Juice
1/4 oz Triple Sec
3/8 oz Grenadine
Angostura bitters
Crushed ice (half glass)
Ginger Ale
Pineapple garnish

Place the first Seven ingredients in a glass tumbler which is half full of crushed ice.
Stir and complete with Ginger Ale
Garnish with a piece of pineapple



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)

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