I have enjoyed a few cheeky rum and cokes on far too many occasions to count over the years and decided I wanted something a little more adventurous than the usual Morgan's/Bacardi range. So, I set off on my search to the mysterious city of London. Once there, I ventured to the depths of the aptly named Vinopolis and there, nestled deep in its bowels was the location of my quest - The Whisky Exchange. Now, hold on, some of you are going to be saying. Weren't you looking for rum? Well, the easy answer is that TWE does considerably more than just whisky, though that is their speciality.
When I arrived I looked with amazement at the floor to ceiling shelves in the rum section. Here were many, many different rums and I only recognised 3-4. This was going to be difficult. A guide appeared, whilst I stood in the midst of a quandary. He offered some excellent advice and, even better, was able to offer a few free tasters of some of the different rums. One of the rums I came away with that day was the El Dorado 5 year old.
This rum is a in a distinctive shaped bottle that continues widening as it rises, right up until turning into the neck. The distinctive red label has gold lettering to continue the theme and has a clear 5 to show that this is the right stuff. The rum itself shows as a rich , golden colour through the bottle and that is one of the things that drew me to it, as I had had too many dark, chewy rums. The rum is produced from molasses and is a Demerara rum from Guyana. It gets its rich colour from being matured in bourbon oak barrels for the minimum period of 5 years.
On opening I was determined to try it neat. It has that distinctive rum smell, only not so harsh. When I sipped it I was very pleasantly surprised. The rums I had been used to drinking had generally got a real harshness to the back of the throat and were best with mixers. This rum had a little of the harshness, as it is a spirit, but the flavour was amazingly mellow for a rum. There was the caramel tone, mentioned in the above description but it seemed to me that this was the smoothest rum I had ever tasted. And this was only the 5 year old! Since then, I have tasted many others and I am still amazed at the flavour of this 5 year old rum. In my opinion, I have not found another rum of its age that is so mellow and easily drinkable in a neat form.
That said, I have become more of a "rum snob" now and have developed more of a taste for these rums. As such, despite its ability to stand alone, I tend to use the 5 year old in a long drink of Rum and Coke (well Pepsi Max actually!) With the mixer it is a very warming drink and far too easy to consume. It has none of the harshness of the normal shop bought rums and is something that I would recommend that people try if they like rum.
Overall, this is a lovely drink. It is marketed with the line, "El Dorado 5yo is tastier than any rum this age has a right to be." I wholeheartedly agree. It is more expensive than most standard shop-bought rums but it is that much better that I feel it is worth it to treat myself. It is usually on sale for around the £23 mark from a number of places. I usually shop at the Whisky Exchange but it is worth shopping around if you want to reduce delivery charges if you are not able to pop into a local place. The General Wine Company are a little more expensive but do free delivery, so they could be a good option.
Amber in colour, spirity with a dried tropical fruit nose. A vibrant entry leads to an evolving palate of fruit, caramel and toasted coconut fading to a vanilla tinted glow. Remarkably developed and complex for a relatively young rum. Can be enjoyed straight or on the rocks or mixed.