UK RRRUMFEST!! Let it flow…

Let it flow, let it flow, let it flow! and flowed it did…rum here, rum there, rum everywhere – the UK Rumfest & Cane Spirits Festival is heaven for rum lovers and it shows people that rum is more than a spirit – it´s a lifestyle with a whole culture surrounding it.

The UK RumFest brings together the industry’s plethora of blenders, distillers, bartenders and mixologists, writers, bloggers, brand ambassadors, rum enthusiasts – all joining in to celebrate all things rum.

Here you get a chance to try out both new and old, known and unknown rums and many cocktails , tiki drinks and rum punches of course, (oh the rum punches…) listen to sessions, dance with tropical dancers, taste caribbean food, watch bartender competitions – all to the rhythms of the caribbean and in the company of people who have that one thing in common – they all love rum!

The UK Rumfest 2011 took place from friday to sunday oct 14-16 at the Kensington’s Olympia in London with the friday reserved for the Boutique Rumfest (for the trade with tastings and sessions.) Saturday was the official Rumfest starting day and i don´t think i´ve seen a crazier crowd before when it comes to a room being packed with rum-lovers.

Also it was the London Cocktail Week starting the week before with 3 days left when i came into town:-)

But back to the friday and Boutique Rumfest. There was of course lots of rum to be tasted and since it was a calmer event we also got a much better chance to meet and talk to the producers about their products.

There´s an incredible amount of rums to be tasted, especially on the two official rumfest days, and i wasn´t able to taste it all i´m sure! i think there was over 400 different rums from well known brands like Zacapa, Foursquare, Bacardi, Havana Club, Appleton, Cockspur, Mount Gay, Chairman´s Reserve etc to smaller unknown brands like Les Coliniéres.

And apart from the big brands i got to try some of the to me unknown rums and other rums i`ve never tried before. Some of my favorites among those i´d not tried before are st Nicholas Abbey from Barbados, a top notch fantastic rum! (a review of their 12 yo will follow)

And Les Colinières – from Mauritius – naturally infused, so called “rum/rhum arrangé” in the islands of Mauritius and La Réuinion. Their coffee and passionfruit rums were just amazing! and would be perfect in tiki drinks. As far as i know their rums is not yet sold outside of Mauritius..

Also Rumfire was new to me. That is a Jamaican overproof white rum from the Hampden Estate which in Jamaica is known for its full, intensely flavorful pot still rums sold in bulk. Today`s Rumfire that now is released to the public is yesterday´s JB rum which was on the black market. The Rumfire is like a smoother version of JWray overproof, it has hints of that flavor but it`s not as upfront. A very interesting and tasty rum.

They made me a daiquiri with it and that was a nice daiquiri indeed, this rum mixes wonderfully. Also it won silver medal at the Ministry of Rum Tasting competition this year.

Interesting but a bit odd was the Madagascar rum Dzama, it was quite good i think but i couldn´t be friends with the aftertaste which is what i found to be odd…so i have mixed feelings about this rum. An exotic bird…i wouldn´t mind taste the rums again and take more time.

Also i finally got to try out Elements 8 Spiced, which i found to be quite tasty.

New for 2011 rumfest was the Tropical Food Market which was an entire area downstairs devoted to tropical food and delicacies – that´s where i got my freshly cut coconut! – with rum in it of course…There was also a shop entirely dedicated to muscovado sugar…

Also there was sessions and masterclasses and the one´s i got a chance to attend first was the “Don`t Fear the Blender” with Beachbum Berry and then the El Dorado.

DON´T FEAR THE BLENDER


I`m a friend of the blender, let me tell you that first.With the blender you get that aerated frothy thing you cannot really get with a shaker plus it does good things at the same time for you – it mixes, chills, dillutes, creates a froth)

The blender was first used in Havana in the Floridita, dating back to 1817 when it was first opened as “La Piña de Plata” – The Silver Pineapple in the place it still occupies, in the corner of Obispo and Monserrate streets. It got it´s name “El Florida” a 100 years later. The bartenders used to use 11 drinks shakers and you can just imagine the work…so when the blender appeared it was like a lifesaver and now it became easier to serve the never ending hords at Floridita. At the time the ice for the daiquiris was shaved.

Then Don the Beachcomber started to use the Hamilton Beach blender and more would follow.The blender aerates and dillutes some of the crushed ice just enough to “wake-up” the spirit. Some drinks requires just a quick flash blending while other wants 15-30 sek. In the Bum´s books the exact time for the blending is always written out.

This session was a real pleasure to attend and i wish it could be a weekendly habit…but alas…or if i could at least live neighbour with the Bum! i would go and borrow sugar…errr…rum…um…a tiki drink…

We got some tasty blended drinks too of course and here are the Bum`s recipes:

LEI

15 ml fresh lime juice

15 ml peach brandy

30 ml white rum

15 ml (0.5 oz) honey-mix

6 oz crushed ice

Blend for 20 sek, frappé

DEVIL´S ISLAND DAIQUIRI

22.5 ml fresh lime juice

60 ml Chairman´s Reserve Rum

22.5 ml honey butter mix

120 ml crushed ice (0.5 cup)

Let the blender go for a long time, 20 sek. Fine strain into a bitter-sugar rimmed glass, gently pressing the liquids.

BITTER-SUGAR

Mix 4 tbsp demerara sugar with Fee´s aromatic bitters (4 big dashes)

HONEY BUTTER MIX

Unsalted butter and honey in equal proportions, heated up to dissolve the honey and melt hte butter, leave to room temp before using it.

Also you can make a delicious honey-butter-cream by using sugar, butter, heavy cream and honey.

The butter-honey-mix or cream mix gives a silky mouth feel to the drink that unless you already know – will never know what it is…

We also got some other nice drinks to imbibe like the always so tasty Missionary´s Downfall.

EL DORADO


I don´t think i need to present what this rum is, if you don´t know already go read my earlier post and check their website.

The session was hosted by Dave Broom (author of Rum) and Stefanie Holt, (El Dorado Global Brand Ambassador)

They took us through a journey to the land of many rivers, Guyana where the demerara rum is made. An interesting thing i learnt was that when the sugarcane fields are burnt a side effect is that the sugar in the cane is dissolved in the water that evaporates and thus makes the sugar content more concentrated and sweeter. The yeast is put in a molasses solution to get happy and multiply.

Further they spoke about the different stills and since i`m a DDL still geek i always find that interesting. What DDL does is simply to put as much Guyana as possible into the rum..

SATURDAY AND SUNDAY – RUMFEST!!


So saturday and sunday was the 2 days of Rumfest and these were 2 very intense days…rum tastings, cocktail and rum punches, tiki bartender of the year, sessions on rum, rum punch, rum, rum…and then the Golden Rum Barrel Awards.

This blog was one of four nominated “Rum Blog of the Year (Europe) and i`m very honored and wanna thank everyone who did vote for me. It didn´t make it all the way though..the prize was given to my good friends Peter and Pauline over at the Floating Rum Shack, who i think really deserved it! There was also four nominated blogs for the USA cathegory and the winner was Rumconnection.

All the awards you can read about at the bottom of this blog post.

Also there was the Tiki Bartender of the Year contest with the final on the sunday. There was 3 bartenders in the final and the winner was Mahiki`s head bartender Georgi.

What i particularly like about the Rumfest is that it is such a people thing, it´s relaxed and laid back with that caribbean feel spiced with quite a bit of tiki vibes, an environment i feel right at home in.

THE FOOD


Yes there´s food too! i did eat some real good Caribbean food at Ian`s restaurant Cotton´s – a place i really can recommend if you go to London! i had their famous Mixed Jerk Fish Grill – parrot fish, tilapia, snapper and tiger prawns served with fried plantain and rice & peas and it was lovely! Washed down with cold Carib and Blue Marlin beers.

 

Also the awards dinner was an amazing experience – the Caribbean style dinner with the Butterscotch Pumpkin Soup with Goat Cheese and Spiced Pumpkin Seeds was really tasty.

And then came the Coconut Crumbled Chicken with Sweet Potato mash and Sauteed Spinach…finished off with a Rum drenched fruit dessert, coffee and plain dark chocolate…hmmmm…

AND DRINKS…

Three bars in London i would recommend are Trailer Happiness, Montgomery Place and Callooh Callay – you can´t go wrong with any of them and if you go Trailer you`ll most likely see Damien fire up the roof.

To finish it off here´s a whole parade of various pictures to drool over and enjoy…:-)

Amazing Queens Park swizzle at the Montgomery Place


Something beautiful and tasty from Trailer Happiness…

The Zombie at Trailer Happiness.

And their fire show…putting the overproof rum soaked copper roof on fire…displaying all kinda colors, awesome!

It`s caribbean carnival at the UK Rumfest!

 

Cockspur Rum Punch

Foursquare got 3 awards…


Three charming rum smiles in the Plantation stand..if you go to Trailer Happiness they´ll make tasty drinks for ya!

Three happy rum people…(Stanislav Vadrna, Yours truly (Tiare) and Carl Kanto (chemist, distiller, El Dorado) i love this about events like this – the friends you meet both new and old.


I haven`t yet been able to figure out this nifty outfit….was it somebody´s outfit for the Golden Rum Barrel Awards? ( i think heard something…)

Les Colinières – rum arrangé from Mauritius

We could get fresh cut coconuts too…with rum in it!

St Nicholas Abbey from Barbados

Elements 8 Spiced

Black Tot Last Consignment sold by the Whiskey Exchange


 

In the Rum Frat House – it´s like the Mixohouse in New Orleans but with rum lovers.

Rum Punch with Kraken Black Spiced

Dzama from Madagascar

God for Tiki drinks..


 

No Rumfest without Ting…and with Banks Five Island it`s wonderful.

 

Like a lighter and smoother version (flavorwise) of the JWray overproof…but don`t let that deceive you – this rum is strong.


And here`s the original JWray and Ting! which was my corps reviver on the sunday…backed up with chocolate muffins.

Don Q Rum – good for a lot of things

Ian Burrell – the one and only – Global Rum Ambassador and founder of the UK Rumfest.


THE GOLDEN RUM BARREL OF THE YEAR 2011 WINNERS

Rum Distillery of the Year 2011

The Foursquare Distillery, Barbados

Rum Distiller of the Year 2011

Richard Seale (Four Square, Barbados)

Rum Blender of the Year 2011

Tito Cordero (Venezuela: Diplomatico)

Rum Blogger of the Year (Europe) 2011

The Floating Rum shack

Rum Blogger of the Year (The America’s) 2011

RumConnection.com

Rum Ambassador of the Year (UK) 2011 sponsored by Bar Life UK

Meimi Sanchez (Havana Club)

Rum Ambassador of the Year (International) 2011 sponsored by Drink International

David Cordoba (Bacardi Rum)
Jim Wrigley (Ron St.Teresa)

Best New Rum (Gold) 2011 sponsored by Coco Re’al

Abuelo Centuria, Panama

Best New Rum (White) 2011 sponsored by Coco Re’al

Banks 5 Island, Several Countries

Best New Rum Package 2011

Bacardi 1909

Boutique RumFest Award 2011 sponsored by Imbibe Magazine

Doorly’s XO Rum, Barbados

The Rum Experience Rum Pioneers Award

Joy Spence from Appleton Jamaica rum. The first female Rum master blender.
Ed Hamilton from the Ministry of rum. Founder of the pioneering web page and rum forum.

And last…

I wanna raise a toast of El Dorado 15 Year Old rum for George Robinson, the head man at the Diamond Distillery in Guyana who passed away just a little while before the UK Rumfest. A toast was also held at the Golden Rum Barrel Awards.

Can you have too much rum?

Sugarcane bar

 

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A DUST OF NUTMEG

tdn-tiki-poaha-punch1

An interesting fragrant spice and an old favorite tiki drink

The fragrance of nutmeg is very special, i cannot even really describe it – its spicy-woody and fresh, nutty and very satisfying.

Most often i connect nutmeg with either christmas drinks or libations from the caribbean both alcoholic and non-alcoholic. Nutmeg and carrot juice  is a common combo for instance among the non-alcoholic drinks. Nutmeg pairs well with drinks containing milk and cream, maybe that´s the reason its so common around christmas. Its also often use to top various punches.

The nutmeg spice itself is often ground – its a brown nut encased first by the red mace which is sweeter and then by a yellowish shell.

Nutmeg is one of the oldest spices known. It comes from an evergreen tree (myristica fragrans) native to the Moluccas, or Spice Islands, near Indonesia. This tree is bearing a nut with two separate flavors. Nutmeg is one flavor and the mace another, achieved by grinding the lacy outer covering surrounding the nutmeg.

It has a warm spicy flavor and as heat greatly diminishes its flavor its best added towards the end of cooking and should be grated fresh. Mace is often preferred in light-coloured dishes as it gives a saffron-like bright orange colour.

When i experimented with a drink for the Tiki TDN – the weekly thursday drink night by the Mixoloseum –  i wanted to play with my – oh so beloved – Old New Orleans Cajun Spiced Rum. I found that this rum pairs well with aged agricole as well. I have kept talking about how well it pairs with demerara, especially El Dorado 12 yo and there is El Dorado rum in this drink too, the 15 yo.

For that drink i used one of my favorite agricoles which is Clèment VSOP – a smooth rum with good flavour.

The drink Po`aha Punch ( in Hawaiian Po`aha means Thursday) was dusted with nutmeg powder on top of crushed ice – a common way to crown many tiki (and other) drinks.

To my delight the Po`aha Punch also delighted the palate our beloved Bum! may it delight you too?

PO´AHA PUNCH

1oz Old New Orleans Cajun Spiced Rum
1oz El Dorado 15yo
1 oz Clemènt VSOP, 0.5 oz fresh lime
¼ oz simple syrup
0.5 oz coffee liqueur
1t cream of coconut,
Fresh pineapple juice to top.

Run in blender until smooth with crushed ice. Pour in tall glass, top with fresh pineapple juice and more crushed ice to fill,dust nutmeg on top and garnish with a cinnamon stick.

EL DORADO 3 YEAR CASK AGED WHITE DEMERARA RUM

eld-3-year-rum-small

When i first heard about this rum I got really excited, it took long though before i finally got the chance to try it myself and in the meantime i heard only good about it so expectations were high.

The 3 year old cask aged came to be when the DDL were asked if they could produce an aged white rum as opposed to their unaged white.

I  can safely say that this ED rum places itself among the better white rums. The nose has hints of sugarcane and vanilla, its very inviting.  It`s a rum of sweet complexity, raining notes of vanilla, chocolate, toasted coconut, cane sugar and buttery caramel. This rum is a bit sweet but not bad, flavourful, and aromatic.

It sips easy and it mixes well in cocktails that does not have too much other ingredients to kill the delicate flavor. Maybe it could have a bit more bite so it would stand up better against mixers in rum cocktails so the rum is dominating ingredient. This one is just a tad too delicate and therefore needs to be mixed in such cocktails as a classic daiquiri for example. In a tiki drink i`m afraid it would almost disappear.

But its a good rum and it has been aged for a minimum of 3 years in oak casks and then double-filtered through charcoal and distilled by Demerara Distillers Ltd – Guyana.

The Chicago Beverage Testing Institute (BTI) have in their latest release of the 2009 International Review of Spirits awarded this El Dorado product a Gold Medal (and Best Buy) with a rating of 93 points bringing it to the top in the White rums category with the 4 Year Old Flor de Cana and Rhum Clement Premiere Canne Rum.

In the last century, the remaining Guyanese distilleries were consolidated by Demerara Distillers Limited on the site of the Diamond Plantation, and today operates as the sole rum producer in Guyana. With a production capacity of more than 26M liters of pure alcohol annually, DDL sell bulk rum to a number of international blenders and bottlers and bottles rum under their own El Dorado and other labels.

Today, DDL operates a number of stills used to make their typical light and heavy type rums. DDL also operates the last remaining wooden stills in the Caribbean.

el-dorado-ehp-wooden-coffey-still

This is their EHP wooden coffey still in all its  awesome glory.

The old wooden coffey still is the last operating still of its kind in the world today and 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. I really want to go and visit the DDL to see these old stills and also their heritage center.

As for how they maintain these old stills they do it by changing the wood in a very clever way. They do of course not change all the wood at the same time – that would ruin the unique flavour as the wood soaks up some of what is being distilled in it as well as giving flavours & complexity to what is being distilled.

So instead they change it in small sections so there´s always some old and some new wood mixed in the still. On average each section is changed every 15-20 years and once they finish all the sections they just start again at the other end. There are in operation 4 column Savalle stills, 2 wooden pots, 1 wooden coffey and 2 metal columns. ( as far as i know)

Here (below) you can see the double wooden pot still. El Dorado 12 contains predominantly copper coffey still rum from Diamond blended with this double wooden pot still at Port Mourant and also marques from the Enmore wooden Coffey which you see above in the big picture.

The 15 year old (my fav rum) 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.

Its a lot of stills..!

el-dorado-pm-double-wooden-pot-still-ed12

The double wooden pot still.

el-dorado-vsg-pot-still-ed121

El Dorado VSG pot still.

I´m a bit of a geek when it comes to these unique stills. I really need to go and visit the DDL distillery some day, i hope it can be possible.

And there´s another El Dorado on the horizon…an 8 year old, stay tuned.

For full disclosure picture courtesy and sample was provided by DDL – Read more on El Dorado rums here.

EL DORADO RUM – THE LIQUID GOLD

 

LIQUID GOLD…

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 STILLS

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.