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El Dorado Spiced Rum

Review: El Dorado Spiced Rum  (80/100)
a review by Chip Dykstra (Aka Arctic Wolf)
Posted May 27, 2012

I was privileged recently when I received an invite to visit the facilities of  Demerara Distillers Limited (DDL) in Guyana, South America. During this visit I was given a complete tour of the Diamond Distillery where DDL’s famous El Dorado Rums are produced. This included a tour of the old plant which houses the heritage stills (famous stills from various estates in Guyana some as old as 250 years, all working and still producing rum), and I saw DDL’s new high-capacity four-column distillation plant which is now in operation.

During this trip, I also was able to taste the entire line of El Dorado rums including the new El Dorado Spiced Rum. In fact at the guest house where I was staying, a full bottle of the El Dorado Spiced (and a few others as well) were left for our small Canadian group to enjoy each evening. I snapped a nice picture of the bottle while I was there and spent a little time gathering some tasting notes.

In 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 loose 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 gold liquid in the glass with very obvious notes of brown sugar, butterscotch, and a healthy dose of vanilla rising into the air. As the glass sits, I receive firm indications of allspice and cloves rise as well as a nice updraft of cinnamon. A brief appearance of oak also reaches the breezes above the glass coinciding with some quiet notes of orange peel and citrus.

I was expecting more of a molasses push from this spiced rum, but the El Dorado Spiced seems to be a lighter style of rum than what I was expecting. Even though the overall effect of the aroma is inviting, I admit I sense a few vague medicinal notes in the air which cause me concern. I am not sure whether these notes are a result of the spices or an alcohol driven astringency of a young rum.

In the Mouth 48/60

The rum crosses the palate with surprising bite. Cloves and cinnamon seem to lead out with nutmeg, coriander and ginger adding to the spicy fray. Strong notes of vanilla and citrus peel are evident and there is also a light weaving of lemon in the flavour profile. The heat from the rum in some ways dominates the butterscotch and brown sugar flavours which were more obvious on the nose than they are on the palate.

I am finding the rum a bit harsher than I expected, and it is hard for me to determine if the rum itself is harsh or if there is just too much of a spicy push within the rum for it to be comfortable upon my palate. I believe I am sensing just a little of both. For me, this is going to be strictly a mixing rum. And indeed, when I mix the rum fifty-fifty with a bit of Cola, the spicy harshness is soothed, and the rum becomes quite enjoyable.

In the Throat 11.5/15

When sipped neat, I find the finish to be a little uncomfortable. Too much vanilla pushes through the finish, and the spices seem to carry too much sharpness. However, when sipped in a cocktail these displeasing aspects vanish. As stated earlier this appears to be a mixing rum rather than a sipper.

The Afterburn 8/10

As a mixing rum, the El Dorado Spiced is certainly a pleasing indulgence, but I admit I was hoping for more from the experience. I guess that El Dorado has raised the bar to such a high level with their premium aged and white rums that my expectations were out of line for a rum in this category. If I was to compare this Spiced Rum to others I have tried lately, I would say that it compares well with Captain Morgan Spiced. The El Dorado has more of a spicy thrust, but the reliance on vanilla to smooth out the flavour is very similar.

The recipe included below is very tasty!

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


Suggested Recipe

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)

2 Responses to “El Dorado Spiced Rum”

  1. Anomally said

    I am currently drinikng my way through a bottle of this “swill” and i completely regret purchasing it. To me it is the rum version of ‘Thrills’ gum. NEVER AGAIN!

    • I suspect you like the rum less than I, however it is also true that since my review, I have never really wanted to pour this spiced rum again either. It is good as a mixer, but like I said in the review, I was hoping for more from the experience.


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