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I searched quite awhile for this one after a friend gave me a taste long ago, and a local retailer went the extra mile to find this for me. Fantastic job by them for not only obtaining this, but for being competitive on pricing.
Pouring this, the color is amazing. A very rich amber without looking too darkened like cola. This is darker than the normal 15Y, the color is just such a wonderful deep amber. If all rum looked this color, I would not complain.
Neat: the nose is incredible, dry and rich. A light to moderate oak is the first scent to approach, quickly followed by ripening fruit. Some of the more prominent notes are caramel, orange peel, banana (more like banana bread perhaps? This is a realistic banana flavor, not like a stick of Juicy Fruit gum), spicy nutmeg, maybe a tad of cinnamon or ginger. Because this is not as sweet as regular 15Y, I would say that the spiciness is more earthy than dessert / baked goods. Some sweet rums are almost overly decadent in smell, this is much more realistic and nuanced I would say. I highly appreciate the dryness level: it straddles a good balance for not being overly sweet, but also not reaching those funky dry levels typical of something like Barbancourt.
With ice: unfortunately the nose changes drastically. I tried this later with ice just for comparison sake, and the nose is now incredibly weakened. A bit of caramel and sweet toffee remains, but it's basically neutered compared to nosing it neat. Ice usually does mute the nose, but in this case it cripples it. I'd highly recommend not adding ice, or at least nosing this before you do add any.
Initial taste: the dryness is readily apparent compared to the regular 15Y. The oak and tannins are much more prominent than the nosing initially suggests as it hits the tongue, but soon washes over with a spicy wave of roasted nuts and earthy notes, maybe a bit of leather. The fruits are less prominent, orange peel is still there in the background but not much for the banana. There is some other fruit kind of lingering, hard to put a finger on it. Peach maybe? Still, this carries a certain juicy ripeness to it as it goes down. My mouth is actually watering while sipping this, truly a remarkable rum.
With ice: the oak is kind of subdued to the background for a moment and it's much more fruity. Peaches, plums, orange peel, even something a bit astringent like blackberry. The fruits are a decent balance between ripe and sweet, nothing overly dominant. The initial taste is much more juicy and ripe compared to neat, before the oak starts to creep in and pretty thoroughly coats the palate. The tannins that were passively waiting spring forth to dominate the palate after the fruits. With ice, this loses a decent amount of spiciness but opens up the fruit notes quite a bit more. This would be interesting if not for the fact that it heavily mutes the nose and finish unfortunately.
The finish is also quite nice. It starts off maybe a bit longer than an average rum, but both the fire and taste intensify as you sip this over time. This truly is something to sip over a longer period of time: you might want to enjoy 2-3 shots worth over a longer period of time. With ice, the finish loses it's magical spice / fire sadly. Aside from some of the improved fruit notes, ice kind of ruins this rum. I made the sacrifice so you don't have to lol.
Price is the only reason I hesitate to give this a full 10. However, frankly this is already a niche offering and intended for rum connoisseurs, so it's hard to evaluate something like value. For say $100, if you are looking for a unique bottle I would enthusiastically recommend this to most people. For $150, I would say maybe only for the rum enthusiast that knows full well the value isn't there but the drink is still damn good. For $200, absolutely not.
In conclusion: I would easily consider this an improved version of the normal 15Y offering, which is already a great rum. This is drier, very nuanced, rich, spicy, and an overall engaging rum. Value / price is basically the only question and I can acknowledge that the average person will balk at the typical price. However, for the enthusiast looking for something incredible, this does not disappoint. I paid about $135, not including tax, which is a pretty average price for something like this which is rare / limited. Is it 2-3 times better than the regular 15Y? No. But I would clearly consider it to be better and worth the price, if you treat it right and savor each drop.
My 1st thought after sipping this was "Now that's a damn good rum!" I'm by no means a rum expert but I'm well on my way thanks to this rum. My favorite is still Pussers 15 which is quite hard to find in this neck of the woods. That's how I fell into El Dorado. I think 15yrs old is the prefect age for rum so I settled for this and wasn't the least bit disappointed! I will continue to try other rums but this is my go to rum period. The price is just like the rum PERFECT, period.
Got a bottle of this last year at Christmas. Not surprised by how good it was!
Just the smell from opening the bottle lured me into a glass immediately.
Next I had to try the 23 yo El Dorado.and it is even better!
I seriously don't know how this bad boy ain't got no ratings. Got it as a goodbye present for one of my employees and ended up drinking six ounces of it almost as soon as I opened the bottle.
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