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I've been lucky enough to be able to taste this rum during the Paris RumFest 2014. It was in my wishlist for a long time, so that I was really happy to be able to discover it, knowing that its small brother, 15 years old, is my absolute reference as far as aged rums are concerned.
Hence my expectation was very high and I must admit that I was a bit disappointed ... Indeed this rum is excellent but it is much more acid than the 15 yo. So that the 15 yo will remain my absolute reference.
I didn't think I'd come across a bottle of this considering how limited the selections in the regional liquor stores are. However one store had this behind the counter on the top shelf and I had enough cash on hand to get a bottle.
After sitting unopened for a couple of months I decided to uncork it and have a sample. The aroma of this rum can be best described by the word "decadent". Definitely a vanilla aroma. The flavor is sweet with molasses, vanilla, caramel, and oak tones to it. Kind of spicy, too. A bit of a tongue-tingler as a result. It has a bit of a burn to it which fades rather rapidly. Definitely a sipping rum and one I recommend for special occasions. Like Saturday.
On another review I wrote:
"Personally speaking I cannot give any rum a 10 because I do not believe a perfect rum exists. The late great Vince Lombardi once said, "Gentlemen, we are going to relentlessly chase perfection, knowing full well we will not catch it, because nothing is perfect. But we are going to relentlessly chase it, because in the process we will catch excellence. I am not remotely interested in just being good.""
This is another rum that comes awfully close to a 10. I definitely put it on the same level as Vizcaya VXOP and Plantation XO 20th Anniversary. My personal "Three Amigos" if you will.
The El Dorado 21 has a nice oaky nose, with spice and a touch of honey. I really enjoy this rum, unless I drink it next to some of the other rums I've rated higher. I'm a bit of a sucker for sweet aged rums, and this one isn't as sweet as most of the others I've tried. Very good, but I think there are better at this price point. And I agree with others who said the El Dorado 15 is about equal to the 21 (at only half the price).
El Dorado 21 comes in the classical El Dorado bottle and the rum is delivered in a simple paper carton (picture). At this price I expect more from the presentation. In my opinion a lot of other rums in the same price range delivers better packings.
At the first smell you get some sticky alcohol but when you let the rum rest in the glass for a while you smell fruit, flowers, oak and vanilla. In a way I find the smell fresh.
In mouth you get some spice, oak and sweet flavours. Pretty strong but smoothe. There is a lot of things going on. The El Dorado 21 Year is smooth in the throat and has quite a long smoothe aftertaste with oak, spice and vanilla.
This is of course a sipper that should rest in the glass before sipping it neat. It is a very great rum but El Dorado 15 Year is almost as good and costs about half the price.
For what this rum costs (2 to 4x more than others), you are better suited to buy mire bottles if another type. El Dorado 12 is the best that they make, and they quickly go down hill with age, which is perplexing. If you prefer harsh, this is for you.
In short this is bloody good. I find it to be the most "exotic" tasting of the entire El Dorado lineup. The taste profile of the other ED's has more similarities, even including the ED 25. The nose of ED 21 is dark, full and rounded with notes of oak. leather, liqourice and ripe fruits. The rounded, dark and full bodied palette offers a classic mineralised demerara character with notes of leather, liqourice, barrel, ripe banana and slightly underplayed, yet deep caramel sweetness. It's a real treat. This rum makes me think of a mellow version of the overproof and fantasticly explosive velier bottles from the same region, like Albion 1994 or port mourant 1997. In comparison this rum offers tremendous taste but wont knock your socks off either. Great.
I love the El Dorado 21 and and keep it stocked!
This is one one of my favorite to enjoy my cigars with on the weekend. truly a fine rum, can't say enough great things about it.
If I could afford it, I'd drink this more regularly. Allthough the price point probably makes me savor it more as a rare treat. I taste caramel, tobacco, toffee, light citrus, and bananas enveloped in a rich smooth sweetness.
edited to add sugar test results-16-33g too much!
A few years later, this is undrinkably sweet.
I tasted this rum 3 times and I still could not identify the aromas and flavors of this rum. My notebook was more like a literary and dramatic trial. But it's done. We start our last tasting (actually fourth) with this 21 year. Really more complex than 15 years with almond and walnut notes. fruit notes on the palate (banana), but also chocolate, coffee, expresso. very long finish. It was a real pleasure to finally taste this rum in optimal conditions.
I recently started with sipping rum to go with my cigar smoking. El Dorado 21 was recommended to me by a friend and it was a special order through the Pennsylvania Liquor Control website. I am a somewhat novice but it was so smooth and I thought it had a black cherry flavor. I was so impressed with this rum that I immediately ordered the only remaining bottle in PA.
'spice nose with hints of honey and dark sugar'
"El Dorado 21-Year rum review by The Ultimate RumGuide"
There is an extra layer of oak in the profile.
"Notes of oak and a slight spiciness also comes through. The rum is very smooth and easy drinking but complex enough to ensure you savour each sip of the drink. The finish is long lasting."
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Smooth Sailer 7 out of 10
The best of the brand I've had. It's smooth and showcases the best of Guyana