Genever manages to taste like gin and whisky at the same time..Initially gin was very similar to genever, but over time it developed a distinctive style, eliminating malt wine. But the original juniper flavored spirit was genever – originating from Holland.
As always this TDN was fun and educational. Little did i know about the history and making of Bols Genever but that was soon changed when Tal Nadari started to educate us on the history of the making of genever and gin.
There are several recipes for genever but this specific recipe do not use any sugar. There`s Jonge jenever “Jonge” (young) jenever which has been in existence since the 1950`s – and there´s Oude (old) jenever, often spelt as genever, is jenever prepared according to an old recipe.] So “oude” refers to an old “style”, rather than the spirit having been aged.
The malt wine content in actual Jonge Jenevers out there in average is around 5% while oude jenever this is around 20%.The reason why the distillers made a less malt wine genever is that they had just survived two world wars and the supply of grains was low.
Genever (or “jenever”, as it is often spelled in Holland and Belgium, or “genièvre” as is common in France) may only be labeled as such and sold as such in the EU if it is made in Holland, Belgium, the departments 59 (Nord) and 62 (Pas-de-Calais) of France and the provinces Nordrhein-Westfalen and Niedersachsen of Germany according to the European Union in EU declaration 110/2008.
Here´s how Bol´s Genever is made:
It starts with the malt-wine which is based on rye, wheat and corn.The whole grains are milled and treated with malt.The malt has to transfer the starch into fermentable sugars. After addition of the yeast it takes 5 days ( 5 x 24 hours) to finalize the fermentation.These 5 days are very important for the creation of all the critical taste components in the Bols maltwine. In a 3 step distillation( in copper stills) the alcohol percentage reaches 47% abv.
The maltwine needs a maturation period( the marriage time)of several weeks to balance the taste component.Only after this marriage time the maltwine is ready for blending in the final product.
The neutral grain spirit used in Bols Genever is base on wheat. After a 3 days fermentation and a distillation process in 6 copper columns ,the taste of this alcohol at 96% abv is very neutral.
Then the Juniperberry distillate is added. Bols Genever has a slightly juniperberry smell and taste.The juniperberries are soaked in maltwine and after some time distilled in copper pott-stills.
And the mix of botanicals – as part of the taste profile there´s a mix of botanicals soaked in grain neutral spirit and after some time this mixture is distilled in copper pot- stills.
The final blend is adjusted to 42% abv by adding very neutral tasting de-mineralized water. A marriage time of several weeks is needed after blending to create the smooth, complex and well balanced taste of the 1820 recipe of Bols Genever.
And here are two drinks i fell in love with that night..
Every week cocktail bloggers, bartenders, enthusiasts, experts, and novices get together for a virtual cocktail party mixing drinks in real time, tweaking, rearranging etc until the night is gone and well into the morning. Join us every thursday at the TDN!
I wonder if we didn`t break the record yesterday in attendance and probably cocktails too, but people were coming and going so i lost track of how many we were all together. I don`t know how long they continued after i left but when i left the room was still full.
Part of the mixo crew were also doing this TDN live from Vessel with their fine bartenders mixing up our drinks. The whole thing was also live broadcasted by the mixoloseum videocam.
The prize for the best original cocktail of the evening will be provided by Mount Gay. And it’s a bottle of Mount Gay 1703…
According to Chester Browne, Mount Gay’s head mixologist, the Mount Gay Distilleries was first called Mount Gilboa. After the death of Sir John Gay Alleyne, the company was renamed to honour this caretaker of the plantation. Hence it is now called Mount Gay.
When it comes to the new bottle for Mount Gay XO Chester says: “The product in the bottle is perfect, it is difficult to improve on perfection. We had a King in a shack, we just placed him in a palace”
So its just a new bottle, not a new or changed product. To me the old bottle was sort of “cozy” but didn`t reveal what a premium product it actually held, the new bottle is more of a statement of a premium rum reflecting its class.
Chet Baker by Jamie Boderau.
TDN attendance at Vessel.
Luckily all the drinks are on twitter so its easy to go back to get any recipe you like if you feel like mixing up any of the great cocktails that were made. There´s everything from “Kahiki Swell” – ” to “Bridgetown Sling”.
The names of the drinks at the TDN are sometimes as inventive as their content and the fun thing is that the later it gets in the night the wilder the drinks and sometimes the discussions..Unfortunately i was very tired after work yesterday so i only made a few drinks but they were nice all of them. I might make a few more today;-)
I had as usual as everybody else a bunch of drinks and here is one:
2 oz MGXO
0.5 oz Cointreau
1 tsp vanilla syrup
sprinkle of fresh lime
2 oz fresh blood orange juice.
Shake and strain into chilled cocktail glass.
Garnish with a grilled blood orange slice in the glass.
Mount Gay XO and orange goes very well together, that`s for sure. Maybe i should have added some orange bitters as well?
As a part of the Mai Tai rum combo cocktail-blog coverage i have made a couple different Mai Tais, mostly from demerara rums. I know the Mai Tai had dark Jamaican rum first, and then was paired with a Martiniqan rum, but i think demerara rums makes awesome Mai Tais and the whole idea of this rum combo coverage is to, well, try different rum combos..
Rumdood alone have over 118 rums to choose from…and i don´t know how many combinations, probably to keep him busy for the rest of his life..So together we will all hopefully cover enough various rum combos to keep most thirsty Mai Tai lovers happy regardless of where you live, we hope there will be something for everyone.
The whole january and into february has been and continues to be Mai Tai month for us, we are working with various rum combinations in our search for the tastiest Mai Tais all based on Trader Vics recipe, as well as attempting to set the recipe for a real Mai Tai straight.
The original Mai Tai by Trader Vic called for the 17 year old JWray & Nephew rum which today exists only a few bottles, if even that, in the hands of a few lucky people. And from what i hear from the taste notes it must have been an exceptional rum for the Mai Tai. Its fun to experiment and i have found that demerara rums makes excellent Mai Tai´s.They give the Mai Tai`s a deep complex flavor, by their own or for that lively flavor, paired with Clement VSOP or St James hors d`age.
For this post i have made 14 different Mai Tais, many with some unusual demeraras but not all. I know many of these rums i use here are hard to find and some very pricey, but i thought it could be interesting still to cover a few of these kind of rums as well and there has been demands for these rums to be written about too.
If i would to sub these demerara rums i have i would use Lemon Hart 151 for the high proofs like Uitvlugt and Silver Seal, and El Dorado 12 for the other heavy demeraras.
Another very good rum combo in my opinion for the original recipe is otherwise Appleton Extra and St James hors d`age, or Clement VSOP. Yet another very nice combo is Pusser`s and Zaya which i first read about in the Tiki Central.
THE ORIGINAL FORMULA
2 ounces 17-year-old J. Wray Nephew Jamaican rum
1/2 ounce French Garnier Orgeat
1/2 ounce Holland DeKuyper Orange Curacao
1/4 ounce Rock Candy Syrup
Juice from one fresh lime
Shake and garnish with half of the lime shell inside the drink and float a sprig of fresh mint at the edge of the glass.
1 oz dark Jamaican rum
1 oz Martinique rum
1 oz fresh lime juice (one lime)
0.5 oz curacao
0.25 oz each of orgeat and simple syrup
Mix all ingredients and shake with ice. Strain into a glass over crushed ice. Garnish with lime shell and a sprig of mint.
The basic recipe used for my Mai Tais here is Trader Vics formula with either 1 oz each of 2 rums or 2 oz of one rum. I use Vic´s formula because i like its simplicity and balace of flavors as well as letting the rum flavor really come through and i like it better than Don`s Mai Tai which is totally different. Which one of these were the original is an endless discussion which i won´t bother with in this post.
The orgeat i like to use nowadays is Trader Tiki´s extra thick (homemade) when i dont use my own homemade. As for orange curacao, i don´t have it right now, so i used Cointreau but as i find that Cointreau can easily be a bit overpowering, i used 1/4 oz than 0.5 oz. I have listed my Mai Tai`s with the best first (outstanding, which is a 14) and then falling to the last #1 which isn`t bad at all.
One thing i don`t want to be without when i make Mai Tai`s is the mint sprig, because i really love the fragrance of fresh crispy mint when imbibing a Mai Tai, and without mint i think a Mai Tai is naked. But when i`m out of mint (or rather the shops are out) then i use lime for garnish.
The straws need to be short and placed near the mint so the fragrance reaches you. The crushed or shaved ice is another key ingredient, apart from good quality rums.
LET´S SET THE MAI TAI STRAIGHT
Ingredients NOT to use in my opinion, is grenadine and orange or pineapple juices, or amaretto or anything else that is not in the original Vic`s recipe. You may throw in a little bit of this and a little bit of that into a Mai Tai recipe and end up with some very tasty drinks but these are not Mai Tais. Give it a new name!
The possibly WORST Mai Tai recipe i have ever encountered came from a cocktail book: light rum, simple syrup, limejuice, orange juice, orange curacao, coconut milk, green dyed cocktail cherries, red dyed cocktail cherries, orange slices, pineapple chunks…stating after, that all ingredients except the rum can be subbed with instant powder cocktail-mix…
Why adding (and changing) all these stuff to a already perfect recipe? and then even call it a Mai Tai? Trader Vic`s Mai Tai is such a perfectly balanced drink and it deserves to be made right. Its supposed to have fresh lime..its supposed to taste rum! The rums are meant to predominate and shine through in this drink and the rest of ingredients are singing along balancing the rum flavors to perfection.
On to the rum combos! Now – i have used some unusual demeraras here that can be hard to get if you live outside of Europe since most of them are bulk demeraras aged in Scotland and bottled and sold by private importers from for example Italy, but they can be substituted with El Dorado rums.
MAI TAI #14with Silver Seal demerara 15 yo
This one has long been my favorite. Its simply Mai Tai roa ae, and its just so full flavored and exquisite in perfect balance, intoxicating…and nothing so far i`ve had beats it, period. Or so i thought….but that was until i tried JWray & Nephew´s old Jamaican Dagger Punch dark rum..WOW..i doesn`t really beat the Silver Seal but i found it equally good.
So now i also think i have sort of gotten an idea as to how the Mai Tais were in the old days. I dont know how old the dagger punch rum is, i would guess from between the 40-50s because there`s no evidence of their production after the 1950s. These rums were produced by Wray & Nephew in various age-increments (1 Dagger, 2 Dagger, 3 Dagger) and they were all dark Jamaican rum.
So the 2 now share 1st place, which got me to wonder how these two would combine, more on that soon.
THE SILVER SEAL 15 YEAR DEMERARA
This 110 proof Silver Seal Rum has a way to just perfectly marry the other ingredients and simply make a outstanding Mai Tai, very addictive. The flavor is hard to describe, its fullbodied, a complex mix of molasses, dark chocolate, wood, vanilla, dried fruits, punch and yum!
Another thing i love with this rum in a Mai Tai is that it bites, as its 110 proof. 2 oz Silver Seal 15 year is used. Interesting is that from what i hear from those lucky people having the 17 year old rum, the Silver Seal has a lot of common flavour notes, like an aroma of a heavy burnt caramel, with smoky finish, although the 17 yar old Wray is said to be far heavier with overwhelming woody tones – or so i´ve heard.
MAI TAI #14 JWray & Nephew Jamaican Dagger Punch – Old Jamaican Dark Rum
I was amazed by this one..first by the color, dark mahogany. Then the flavor, which i really cannot describe so easily, its well…vintage. It has dark tones of molasses and dried fruits, and is spicy and woody. Very balanced and complex. I imagine that JWrays 17 year old rum could probably have tasted something similar as well. This dagger is 8 years old.
When i use the Silver Seal i feel like its a bit close to this one but the two are still very different. And i cannot say either what it is that i find they have in common, one is a demerara and the other is jamaican, but there´s that funky punch – pot still.
I had such a hard time to determine which one of these two is the best Mai Tai i`ve had, it didn´t help to sip them side by side, so they will both share the 1 st place. I used 2 oz of the Jamaican dagger rum.I tried this dagger rum in this Mai Tai experiment more out of curiosity that anything else and this rum must be seen as such as its not produced anymore.
MAI TAI #14 with Silver Seal15 and JWray´s Jamaican dagger punch rum
As i found both of these each one on their own to make the best Mai Tais i`ve had so far i decided to combine them and use 1 oz of each. The two combined? sheesh..here is the exquisite, strong, demerara flavor of the Silver Seal with that rich, strong and spicy taste of the Jamaican dagger. The color is much lighter than it was when i used only the dagger punch rum. So now there´s 3 Mai Tais, based on 2 rums sharing the top position.
MAI TAI #13 with Samaroli`s Port Morant 1990, and Banks XM10.
SAMAROLI PORT MORANT 1990
This demerara rum is made by Samaroli and is bottled in 2007 in Scotland. It has no added color. The flavor is very deeply woody, a bit floral and fruity with flavors of molasses. 366 bottles were made so this is a rare find. Port Morant 1990 is 90 proof. I`m not using it in too many Mai Tais, but its hard to resist as it makes real mean Mai Tais, its almost as good as the Silver Seal. Paired with XM10 – a very close number two.
XM Royal Gold 10 Year Old (80 proof) is a superb aged demerara rum with a very round and full flavor profile with fruits, molasses and toffee flavors. One of my favorites. If you can get this one, (and its soon to be sold in US as well), and El Dorado rums plus Lemon Hart 151, then you`re fine as far as demeraras go.
I used 1.5 oz Banks XM10 and 0.5 oz Samaroli Port Morant. I took less of the Port Morant as it has such a strong woody flavor. In these proportions i find it complements the toffee flavors of XM very well.
MAI TAI #12 with Banks XM10
As the XM10 is so yummy, its almost like drinking liquid toffee, i wanted to use only this rum ( 2 oz) in the drink. I`m not dissapointed, the sweetness and roundness of the body in this rum makes an excellent and very smooth Mai Tai which goes down way too easily.
XM Royal Gold 10 Year Old is a superb aged demerara rum crafted by the Aguiar Industries master blenders. This rum is hands down wonderful. Its a creamy full bodied masterwork, very round, with warm round toffee-like flavors. I`m happy for those in the US who soon will be able to buy this fine rum. MAI TAI #11 Coruba12 and Banks XM10
If we shall talk about yumminess..here it is! Coruba12 has a lot of complexity and some sweetness, dried fruits and molasses-toffeelike flavors and paired with XM10 which is a step ahead with the toffeeness but with the typical demerara flavor, you`re in for a very tasty Mai Tai. MAI TAI #10 Banks XM10 and JM Reserve Special
My first thought when tasting this one was “wow this is tasty! very very tasty..” Its like the rums just melt together into a real elixir of pleasure. I`m not even sure it shall have no 10. Now JM isnt a cheap rhum agricole…i wish it was. Its really a very good sipping rum, but as we know, the better ingredients, the better cocktails. And in this research any rum that is good could be used i think.
MAI TAI #9 Banks XM10 and Clemént XO
This one is just WOW, so tasty! the punch of the XM10 with its toffeeness paired with Clemént XO which is a outstanding aged rhum agricole, tasty.
MAI TAI #8 El Dorado12 and Clemènt VSOP
This is a very pleasant and tasty Mai Tai. El Dorado 12 is just punchy enough to blend well with Clemènt and combined they are great. I`m unfortunately out of El Dorado 15 but on the other hand, that´s such a strongly punchy rum that it takes over the other flavors a bit. But that`s just my taste. Otherwise its my fav rum together with Silver Seal 15.
MAI TAI #7 Zaya (Guatemala) and Pusser`s 15
This is just so tasty. I first read about it on Tiki Central, long ago and i think it was Pusser´s blue label that was used. Well, this one is tasty too! The punchiness of the navy rum with the sweetness of Zaya – nice! MAI TAI #6 Lemon Hart Jamaican and El Dorado 12
Here we have a Mai Tai with 2 very good rums and the taste is good but for some reason i expected more, maybe i expect too much? this one tastes good but i guess that with some of these other demeraras its easy to get a bit spoilt. Did i have only these 2 rums to use, i would have loved this Mai Tai. Well, i do, i love all good Mai Tais! MAI TAI #5 Silver Seal 15 and Clemént VSOP
I expected much of this one, probably because of Silver Seal, but its not as good as i thought but still very tasty i shall not deny that and it became even tastier while it mellowed in the glass. But its a huge difference to use 2 oz of just Silver Seal or to pair it with Clemént VSOP.
MAI TAI #4 Port Royal and St James 12 with Uitvlugt Port Morant 1990 float
Port Royal is a beautiful little demerara rarity which is aged 14 years and is a bit on the sweet side, yet very woody, its 92 proof. I was figuring it would be interesting to pair it with St James 12 year which is a rum i all of a sudden discovered being on limited offer in our spirit shop. I hadn´t seen it before anywhere, neither did i find any information on it but i bought it and yes, its a very smooth agricole rum. Probably its a special edition or something, nobody has been able to tell me anything.
It turned out to be a very very tasty Mai Tai, the smooth St James 12 perfectly blends with the woody Port Royal, so i give it no#5.
The original recipe do not call for any float but i like floats and so here is one with a float of the overproof Port Morant 1990 for an extra kick. I`m totally sure that Banks XM10 and St James12 or hors d`age would be a very nice combo as well. I used 1 oz of each. MAI TAI #3 Appleton Extra and Havana Club 7 year
This is also a pleasant rum combo and I suspect this will be used by one or more of my fellow blogger friends .This mellow and rich flavored rum combo makes for very tasty Mai Tais. These rums are premium, both are versatile and luckily also moderately priced, good for the “everyday Mai Tai”.. I used 1 oz of each.
MAI TAI #2 Appleton extra and Old Vatted (O.V.D)
With Appleton extra as base i didn`t need to worry about good taste, the addition of 0.5 oz Old Vatted demerara just added a touch of deep woodiness. I had a problem in deciding which one of either this one or the Appleton Extra and Havana Club 7 year, should be #3. But Havana Club7 wins with its overall yumminess.
Here i used 1.5 oz Appleton Extra and 0.5 oz OVD
MAI TAI #1 Banks XM10 and Uitvlugt 1990 fullproof
A kick of the fullproof Uitvlugt to punch up the round sweet and toffeelike XM isn`t bad at all, but i think you got to love demeraras to fully appreciate this combo as the Uitvlugt is a li`l bit on the almost harsh side with the high proof and woodiness.
I used 1.5 oz of XM to 0.5 oz of Uitvlugt. As Uitvlugt highproof (132 proof) is a very strong demerara and i used just a little bit extra simple syrup in this. This rum combo is for those demerara geeks who loves deep woodiness. This is the last one and even though the least on my scale it isnt bad at all.
Overall, the best Mai Tai rum combo suggestions with rums available today, based on my experince with these i`ve tried here, except for the dagger rum which is supposed to be seen as a curiosity, are in no specific order:
Appleton Extra with St James hors d`age or Clemént VSOP
2 oz Silver Seal 15 demerara
(or 1.5 oz El Dorado 12 with a 0.5 oz Lemon Hart 151, alternatively 0.5 oz El D12, 1 oz XM10 and 0.5 oz LH 151, it won`t be the same thing but its the best subs i can think of for the moment)
Banks XM10 demerara
El Dorado 12 and Clemént VSOP
Zaya and Pusser´s
There`s other rums apart from El Dorado 15 that i haven`t used because as i`m out of it and that`s Coruba dark, Appleton Reserve and VX and Lemon Hart 151. I`m sure they would be good in Mai Tai`s as well and mixed with say Banks XM…got to try that one some day! To read more about demerara rums, see my otherdemerara rum posts.
One thing that fascinates me is that how one rum can be really outstanding paired with another and then when paired with yet a different rum all of a sudden isn´t that outstanding as it was with the first rum. So it isnt so easy to find the ultimate pairing, i`m not even sure if i have and luckily its probably a never ending research. The world of flavors is really fascinating!
So finally here is my advice for those of you looking for perfectly yummy Mai Tais, if you can get it, get Silver Seal15 and Banks XM10, and get Appleton Extra, Clemènt VSOP, Zaya and Pusser`s. Use Trader Vics recipe and don`t add pineapple and orange juices, amaretto or grenadine.
I was asking some fellow bloggers in the mixoloseum chat room about why they think its so hard for people to stick to the real Mai Tai recipe as it is a very simple recipe and it seems like the biggest problem in many places is how to find orgeat. Here i can find it sometimes but i make my own which isnt very hard. As its a bit boring – but not difficult, to get the blanched almonds out of their shell, i don`t make that large batches, i make about 1L at a time. I keep my orgeat in the fridge.
I myself have only had a real Mai Tai at a bar only in one place and that was atTikiRoom here in Stockholm, with the rum combos Appleton VX-Havana Cub7 and Appleton Extra-El Dorado dark, what about you? where have you been served at real Mai Tai?
In this second part of my series on demerara rums i try out i`m going to write about Banks XM, OVD – Old Vatted Demerara and Samaroli Port Morant 1990.
BANKS XM ROYAL EXTRA MATURE DEMERARA RUM
Since the 1840`s, the D’Aguiar family have been in business in Guyana, its for over 150 years, and over the years this company`s rums have been awarded many accolades, including three outstanding awards at the International Wine and Spirits Competition for its 10 year-old rum and XM VXO, which won a double gold medal and a bronze award respectively.
Banks DIH buy rum in bulk, from DDL, and age, blend and bottle it at Thirst Park on the southern outskirts of Georgetown. DDL have several different stills, but they are all on one site. All Demerara rum is distilled at the DDL distillery at Diamond, East Bank Demerara.
XM Royal Gold 10 Year Old is a superb aged demerara rum crafted by the Aguiar Industries master blenders. I can really vouch for this rums superior tastiness – its hands down wonderful. Its a creamy full bodied masterwork, very round, with lots of toffee-like flavor. So Yummy!
I`ve now heard its going to be sold in the US and i`m very happy for my demerara loving friends living there. There´s an excellent review of this rum over at Refined Vices.
I also have the 12 year old Millenium, a blend of aged demerara rums, and more refined in flavor than the 10yo, but it lacks the rounded “toffeeness” of XM10 and I prefer the 10, but its a very nice rum with a distinctive flavor.
Then we have XM VXO – famous for its unique bouquet and aroma which I haven`t been able to try yet. Its crafted from rums aged for 7 years in Sherry casks and then the choicest casks are selected for blending XM VXO 7 year old.
XM is distilled at Diamond by DDL, and then aged and bottled by Banks/DIH outside Georgetown. Banks/DIH is a blender. The bottle is now sold with a new blue label.
So to summarize these 2 XM rums:
The XM10 is full bodied, round, with lots of toffee-like flavor, with a little bite.
The XM12 Millenium lacks much of that toffee-like flavor and is a bit lighter and more refined.
O.V.D – OLD VATTED DEMERARA RUM
First time i tried this rum my thoughts immediately went to Lemon Hart 151. O.V.D has a lot of similar flavors but at 80 proof of course without that overproof bite and I also find it woodier and drier. I find its a very good mixing rum provided that not too much is used as the woodiness is very pronounced.
It adds a distinctive character to for example, tropical and tiki drinks in the same way as LH151 does. Its nice for sipping as well provided you like this kinda woody rums and has a distinctive oaky aroma as it have matured for up to seven years in oak.
Its a blend of Demerara Rums made from sugar cane growing along the banks of the Demerara River. It is matured in Guyana, it’s full-bodied, mellow, woody and spicy, with some complex toffee flavours, rich on the palate, mellow finish and a hint of sweet molasses. O.V.D is blended from the finest demerara rums in the world, and matured in oak casks.
Originally Old Vatted was imported by George Morton from Guyana in 1838. Morton was a whisky bottler and blender – since recognized as Scotland’s leading rum specialist. Today the George Morton Company is a subsidiary of William Grant & Sons Ltd.
One thing that is very good about OVD is that its very reasonably priced, about the same price as XM10, just a bit hard to find.
Its said that Morton created Old Vatted Demerara rum especially for the Scottish palate…
OLD because its aged longer than most rums to obtain a mellow, rich and spicy taste and it has been imported to Scotland since 1838.
VATTED, because specially imported, top quality rums from Guyana are carefully vatted or blended to become consistent, rounded and full-bodied.
DEMERARA, because it comes from the country in which the Dutch established the colony of Demerara. And its made from the very best sugar cane stock and the rums from this region are renown for being dark and aromatic and for their richness of flavour.
Samaroli is an Italian independent bottler, a legendary whisky selector and famed for the exceptional quality of their releases and for their artsy, innovative labels and packaging.
In 1992, after a 12 years period of enquiries in the tropical places, Silvano S. Samaroli started with the bottling of special lots of Rum in Scotland. His first Rum became a very successful 1948 West Indies Dark Rum. This was the start of a growing portfolio. I´ve read there`s only 4 bottles left of that rum. At this moment there are several beautiful Rums available that bear the name Samaroli. Since the Rums are all from just 1 big or small cask, all products by Samaroli are limited editions.
I find my Samaroli Port Morant 1990 excellent. It has a very deep woody flavor with some peppery and tropical fruit notes accompanied by molasses and vanilla. Its naturally colored by aging. Its too rare to mix with, only 366 bottles were made.
A pricey treasure indeed.
Any rum that is referred to as Demerara rum must be distilled in Guyana in the county of Demerara.
One of my aims in this life is to try as many demerara rums i can find, but so far i haven`t been able to try that many. Not all from the El Dorado range are yet tasted for instance, and on my list is also Nation demerara 12 and 31. But the Lemon Hart 151 i`ve had of course, and Banks XM 10 and 12 year old Millenium, they are all wonderful, especially the XM 10 which has an extra caramel yumminess to it. I`m really happy the XM rums are now going to be sold in the US.
But there are also many other very interesting demerara rums, most often private labels, and often shipped to Scotland for aging. These demeraras are in the higher price range and depending on where you live, they can be hard to find. It was my friend Paul from London who first told me about these wonderful rums.
At that time the Silver Seal brand ( an Italian company better known for their frequently stunning and highly collectable whisky bottlings.) was only as far as i could see, available from Pedrelli in Italy who does not ship internationally.
Silver Seal – 92 bottle.
So it was not until Roberto added Silver Seal to his R2Mshop that i could lay my hands on a Silver Seal bottle which really are beautifully shaped bottles with stunning labels.
I bought the 15 year old Silver Seal -92 demerara (110 proof) and the first thing i did after tasting it neat was to make a Mai Tai. And then i too was blown away..and made Mai Tais during 2 weeks until the pricey bottle was finished.Really, this rum is a sipping rum but who can resist making perfect Mai Tais?
It must be something special with this rum, well, it is as the Mai Tais really becomes very very tasty.
Now i`m a lucky owner to a new bottle of that wonderful rum plus 2 others that i hadn`t tried before. Uitvlugt 1990 full proof (132 proof) from Velier and Port Royal (92 proof, selected and bottled for Sarzi Amadé , Milano, Italy). These are all heavy and strong demeraras.
I didn´t think about how strong the Uitvlugt was until i took a good sip and was punched back right in the face. These 3 rums are very flavorful, strong and tasty.
To start with from the first 3 rums i got – Port Royal which comes in a very attractive bottle, its a bit sweeter and a bit lighter than the other two, but it does have a heavy demerara flavor and is quite woody, and it also has a strong kick. The taste stays long with you as well. Its not in the same class as the 15yo Silver Seal rum and the Uitvlugt from Velier – far from it – but its perfectly both sippable and mixable. This rum is aged for 14 years.
This selection comes from a 1991 alembic distillation (distilled using a copper still) and is aged in small barrels until the bottling in sept 2004. Only 370 bottles were made. The nose and the flavor is that of a deep demerara and its a heavy rum but not as fully and complete tasting as Silver Seal-92 (or El Dorado 15).
The next to taste, the Silver Seal 15 year also has this deep demarara flavor, deeper and rounder and fuller than Port Royal and it packs a punch as well. Its the only demerara rum from the Silver Seal range i`ve yet tasted. Unfortunately the 28 year old (120 proof and said to have extremely aromatic, round flavor, is most likely no longer available.
The four sides of the Silver Seal box showing the wildlife series.
But there`s a few others (Enmore 1975 – 32 yo, 136 proof – 60 bottles made, (i`ve heard its a bit overaged and tastes too strong of wood. What turns me off is the exceptionally high price of this one) Enmore 1996, Enmore 1988, (20 year old, 92 proof) Some of these i hope to try as well.
This – 92 Silver Seal is excellent to sip and wonderful to mix, what more can i say?
And so the third, Uitvlugt full proof, old demerara rum (132 proof) from Velier, an italian private bottler owned by Luca Gargano, a legend in the rum world. 4 barrels distilled in double pot still in december 1990 and aged 17 years in continental weather. Marks on the barrels, MPM. Bottled in march 2008, – 881 bottles were produced. Its this one that kicked me unawares. It has a deep woody demerara flavor and packs a real punch.
Good to sip, float and mix with even though it is not a mixing rum…..not really…one must mind what one mixes if one mixes…don`t let this wonderful rum get lost by a whole phletora of mixers but simple drinks is ok I think, as long as they are rum forward. The nose is amazing, strong, with a slight medical hint to it due to the strong proof.
Uitvlugt is the name of the famous distillery of Dutch origin situated west of the river, on the Atlantic coast in Guyana. Using the famous Port Morant still, (the barrels are marked MPM ) the last vat still in the demerara area distilling fullbodied and intense rums.
I´m not a rum reviewer and dont know so good how to put flavors in words so this is as good as I can describe these rums, rums with great body and intesity. Totally demerara rum heaven.
When leaning the glass on the side and then back up again, the rum forms legs on the side of the glass. Light-bodied rums will have thin “legs” that move quickly, while medium and full-bodied rums will have thick “legs” moving slowly, one of the ways you can evaluate the body of a rum.
In part two (to be posted in about 4 days) i`m going to write about Banks XM, OVD – Old Vatted Demerara and Samaroli Port Morant 1990.
Any rum that is refered to as Demerara rum must be distilled in Guyana in the county of Demerara.
DEMERARA BOMB WHITE ZOMBIE
This recipe is based on Robert Burr`s (Gifted rums guide) White zombie. The original recipe is:
Rob’s White Zombie
4 oz Cruzan Rum Cream
1.5 oz Cruzan Black Strap
1.5 oz Voodoo Spiced Rum
1.5 oz Redrum
1.5 oz Bruddah Kimio’s Da Bomb 155 Overproof (em-bombing fluid)
Fill a big shaker with ice, add rums, and shake ’til yer hand damn-near freezes. Pour into a tall glass, add a straw and a garnish of small pineapple wedge. Find a good place to relax.
10 ounces of rum that tastes like a milkshake, named for the famous movie starring Bela Lugosi — White Zombie — the first zombie movie ever made.
I would really like to try the white zombie but don`t have access to those rums so i made my own version with my dem rums which is this:
DEMERARA BOMB WHITE ZOMBIE
3 oz El Dorado Rum Cream
1 oz Amarula Cream
2 oz Port Royal demerara (92 proof)
2 oz Banks XM demerara
And a dollop of Fernet Branca ( about 1/2 barspoon)
Shake and strain..pour into a yummy glass and throw in a fragrant mexican cinnamon stick.
You may sub the demeraras in the recipe with El Dorado 12, 15 and/or Lemon Hart 151.
From this version of the White Zombie i made a drink for the TDN which was themed float, (every cocktail had to have a float) which i called “Demerara Bomb #2″ and it happened to win that TDN. So to not forget from where the inspiration to that cocktail came from, it was all originated in the White Zombie by Rob V. Burr – named for the first zombie movie ever made — White Zombie
1 oz demerara rum
1 oz aged rhum agricole
Chunks of fresh pineapple
Cane cola to top
1 oz Honey-cream-mix
Float overproof demerara rum
Muddle 5-6 chunks of fresh pineapple with 0.5 lime juice and 0.5 vanilla syrup
Add 1 oz aged agricole, 1 oz demerara rum (I used St James 12 and Port Royal)
Add 1 oz honey-cream-mix (1:1:1 honey-butter-sugar-above roomtemp)
Fill glass with crushed ice
Shake hard and fast with ice and strain.
Top with a little sugarcane cola and float overproof dark demerara rum
Fill up with more crushed ice if needed.
Garnish baby pineapple.
THE HONEY CREAM MIX:
The unfamous honey-cream -mix, with its problem of butter solids separation, there are different ways to try to solve it, i do like this:
Warm the honey, sugar, butter to very warm, then let it cool a little but stay above room temp and dry shake first (without ice) and then add ice and shake real hard and fast and hope for the best. And serve in a tiki mug and not a glass.
El Dorado is a Spanish expression or word for “the golden one”. Originally it was El Hombre Dorado (the golden man), or El Rey Dorado (the golden king), and was the term used by the Spanish Empire to describe a mythical tribal chief (zipa) of the Muisca native people of Colombia, who, as an initiation rite, covered himself with gold dust and submerged in Lake Guatavita. The legends surrounding El Dorado changed over time, as it went from being a man, to a city, to a kingdom, and then finally an empire.
But in this case it`s a real thing, the El Dorado rum – hinting to a “liquid gold” – which indeed is a Demerara rum but even more so – a Guyanese rum, and the only rums distilled in Guyana are those from the DDL – the only true Guyanese rums.
In 1992, the company introduced its El Dorado brand of rums to the local and international markets by focusing on the well-known legend surrounding its name. The well known story tells of explorers who traveled in search of a fabled golden city known as El Dorado.
Although the El Dorado rums were only launched on the international market in 1993, these rums have become internationally recognized as the best in their class and are prized for their unique flavor and taste. Currently these rums are distributed in over forty countries and the El Dorado holds the distinction of being the only internationally recognized Guyanese manufactured product. These rums are aged, bottled, and blended in conformance with the ISO standards – which is the highest global production standards.
GUYANA THE LAND OF MANY WATERS
Guyana is an Amerindian word meaning “Land of many waters”. The country can be characterized by its vast rain forests, many rivers, creeks and waterfalls, like the famous Kaieteur Falls on the Potaro River. Guyana’s tepuis are famous for being the inspiration for the 1912 novel The Lost World by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s.
Physically a part of South America but Guyana is culturally Caribbean rather than Latin American and is often considered part of the West Indies.
EL DORADO RUMS
The El Dorado rums are distilled, blended and bottled by Demerara Distillers Limited (DDL) – located on the East Bank of Demerara, South Amerara, in Guyana. Demerara disitllers have been in rum production for over three and one half centuries and have even with the passing of time maintained the tradition.
DDL have several different stills, but they are all on one site. All Demerara rum is distilled at the DDL distillery at Diamond. Demerara distillers now have the only operating wooden continuous and pot stills in the world. There were at least 200 small distilleries operating in the 17th and 18th centuries, and every sugar factory in Guyana had its own distillery, from which a special blend of rum was produced.
There were for instance the Uitvlugt distillery that was in Uitvlugt, West Coast Demerara, the Port Mourant distillery was in Port Mourant, and there were Enmore, Blairmont, Albion, Skeldon, Rose Hall and many more. These names are simply the geographical locations of where the distilleries used to be.
Each of these distilleries produced a unique rum that was identified to the estate by its identity mark, for example EHP to Enmore, An to Albion, SWR to Skeldon, PM to Port Mourant, ICBU to Uitvlugt, LBI to La Bonne Intention, to name a few. Due to change in ownership, economic constraints and other factors, with time, the sugar estates and the distilleries were consolidated.
What was unique was that even with consolidation the important marks were maintained at Demerara distillers – either the identical mark was produced by moving the original still to the new location or by producing it on an existing still on the new location. So even though the original distilleries are closed, the identical marks are produced at the existing distillery at Diamond, which is the only distillery left.
Demerara distillers are the only distillery in the world that has maintained the quality and tradition that is the identical marks and original wooden stills. This is what has made these rums so distinct as compared to others and they are the only distillers in Guyana. Any rum that is refered to as Demerara rum must be distilled in Guyana in the county of Demerara.
The double wooden pot still and the wooden coffey still
Today the Demerara distillers operates 9 different stills and thus produces a fantastic range of rum marques. There are in operation 4 column Savalle stills, 2 wooden pots, 1 wooden coffey and 2 metal columns.
The distillery also uses a double wooden pot still, made up two wooden pots, a metal retort, rectifier and condenser which is producing these heavy, aromatic and flavourful rums. This still is the last operating of its kind in the world, and the rum that it produces is massively distinctive.
The old wooden coffey still too is also the last operating still of its kind in the world today, and the uniqueness of the Demerara rums are surely attributed to this still as well even though it must be said, a specific still cannot be associated with a specific rum, but more like “rum-type”. The wooden Coffey still is made of rectangular frames stacked on top of each other with metal perforated trays in between. The rectifier has cooling coils passing through some of the sections. These wooden stills are made of local hard wood.
Most people believe the 12 and the 15 are separated by merely 3 years whereas in fact they are produced using marques from different stills explaining their variety.
All El Dorado rums are at minimum the age indicated on the bottle – it can be older but not younger. The difference between the 2 wooden pot stills apart from that one is double is that they produce different quality rums. From the single pot comes a rum that is lightly milder with a touch of sweetness while the rum from the double pot is more robust, and much heavier with a good tone of fusel oil.
SO WHAT´S IN THESE RUMS?
The 5 year old contains predominantly Uitvlugt marques (brands) from the Savalle still and marques from the Enmore wooden Coffey .
The 12 year old is the sweeter of the El Dorado rums, and copper colored. It’s aged in used whisky and bourbon barrels. In 2006 it was reformulated, It has tasting notes of fruit, tobacco and orange peel and has tropical fruits and spice nose. This rum contains predominantly copper coffey still rum from Diamond blended with the double wooden pot still at Port Mourant and marques from the Enmore wooden Coffey.
The 15 year old is the driest of the El Dorado range and thus a perfect cigar accompaniment. Its taste notes are a mix of dry fruits, liquorice and spice oak. Silky mouth feel with dark chocolate, coffee with hints of sweet vanilla. It has a punchy smoky flavor and a long dry fruity finish.
It contains equally double wooden pot from Port Mourant and metal coffey from Diamond, blended with single wooden pot still (Versailles) and marques from the Enmore wooden coffey still.
The 21 year old is to my palate quite alike the 15 but still very different, much less of the smoky punch and more refined. Mixed fruits and spicy oak, dark chocolate, vanilla, coffee and a dry long fruity finish. Contains predominantly Albion marques from Savalle and then Enmore – wooden coffey still and single wooden pot still from Versailles.
The 25 year old contains predominantly Enmore – wooden coffey still and La Bonne intention marques from Savalle and then double wooden pot from Port Mourant and Albion marques from Savalle. This rum i have yet to try.
Same raw fermented wash put through differing stills, aged in the same warehouse then blended to make these rums. The barrels used are American, once used white oak bourbon barrels. Demerara has significant stock of bulk aged rums available with a warehousing capacity of about 60000 to 65000 barrels and supplies product also for numerous private labels.
Of all the El Dorado rums (except for the 25 i haven`t tasted yet) i prefer the 15 because it has substantially more depth and I love its smoky punch. It was the rum that many years ago got me into rum actually.
EL DORADO RUM RANGE
El Dorado white
El Dorado 3 year old cask aged (white)
El Dorado 5 year
El Dorado 8 year
El Dorado 12 year
El Dorado 15 year
El Dorado 21 year
El Dorado 25 year
El Dorado Gold
El Dorado Spice
El Dorado overproof 120
El Dorado overproof 140
El Dorado High Strength 151
El Dorado Rum Cream
El Dorado Chocolate Cream
All the same rum off 9 different stills.
Then they also have made 3 single barrel rums:
El Dorado Single Barrel Uitvlugt
El Dorado Single Barrel Enmore Disitllery
El Dorado Single Barrel Port Morant
These are single barrels examples, from different Guyanese distilleries, that would have been blended into fine El Dorado spirits. Since they are single barrel rums they doesnt taste the same as the blended rums, not as smooth, not as “refined”, more straight forward taste of the barrel they been aged in.
I have tried two of them so far, the ort Morant (PM) and the Uitvlugt (ICBU) – the PM is very woody while the ICBU is sweet.
When it comes to the overproof rum there are 3 different, two are (as far as i know) sold in Europe, one is a 140 proof caramel colored and the other is a white colored 126 proof. In the US, there´s a 151 rum labeled “High Strength Rum”
Update: The Rare Collection was released in 2016. These are three cask strength expressions from the three heritage stills: the Enmore ‘EHP’ wooden Coffey still, the Port Mourant ‘PM’ double wooden pot still and the Versailles ‘VSG’ single wooden pot still. 3,000 bottles of each have been released to the global market. I have tried them and yes they are very good and filling the gap of stronger rums that the El Dorado line was lacking. They have yet to be reviewed by me though and that is simply because of the outrageous prices and the weird way these rums came out on the market.
From what I read these cask strength rums are not adultered with added sugars, something the others in the ED range have had good measures of and that is a very positive thing since these fine rums tastes so much better without sugars masking the true good flavors.
If DDL can produce unadultered rums at a bit of a higher strength they will showcase the true character of the fine demerara rums which ARE a treasure worth taking good care of because they are unique.
And since I first wrote this post in 2010, the DDL have also issued the El Dorado Cask Finishes which is the El Dorado 15 with six different cask finishes. I have yet to try them.
THE EL DORADO HERITAGE CENTER
In reply to my question at the Ministry of Rum Carl Kanto – chemist/brand ambassador and personally responsible for crafting the El Dorado range of rums, has this to tell us about the El Dorado Heritage center:
“Even though in Guyana we have been in rum production for over 3 1/2 hundred years, there is very little record and/or artifacts relating to this activity. Demerara Distillers Limited decided that you cannot have the world best rums and unable to trace its evolution. As a result the idea of a rum museum was born and this became a reality March, 2007.
At present in the Rum Heritage Centre we have on display a batch redistillation still that was used in the early 1940s, two hydrostatic pressure controlers that were used on the Savalle stills in the early 1950s, a small copper double retort pot still that was used to do experiment rum, a wooden steam boiler manufactured in 1945, a plate heat exchanger, a molasses clarifier/yeast seperator, models of the Savalle still, the modern metal Coffey still, the double wooden pot still, the wooden Coffey still and a Brigs gin still. There are also a number of photographs of activities that took place in the company over the years.
There are a few bottles of product that were produced years ago and a small amphitheater where visitors can view videos on the company’s operations. Most importantly there is the Display and sampling bar where all the premium products are on display. This bar is made from old oak barrels – the sides (top and bottom), display centres and bar stools.
We are hoping that over time we can add items, with the help of the public, to make the Heritage Centre a show piece to truely depict the rich history of rums in Guyana. We would be very grateful if any one reading this note has any thing that they can contribute, whether information, literature, items, anything to do with rum can please contact me.”
Many thanks to Carl Kanto and Demerara distillers, also my good friend Paul McFadyen in London for helping me with pics of the stills and some valuable information.
Also thanks to Chenette for courtesy of the demerara river photos.