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Looking to buy a bottle of dark rum? Read our expert review of the El Dorado 12-Year-Old, a Guyanese rum from the Diamond Distillery on the banks of Demerara.
This is a Guyanese rum from a mythical distillery. This bottle comes from the place that gave us demerara sugar, and it doesn't disappoint on that front. The El Dorado 12-Year-Old marries vanilla and baking spices with dollops of burnt sugar and squeezed dark fruits.
El Dorado rum is produced by the Diamond Distillery, situated on the banks of Demerara – a Guyanese region synonymous with sugarcane. When Dutch settlers arrived in Demerara in the 1600s, it was covered by the Atlantic Ocean. Undeterred, the Dutch set about reclaiming it, bringing back the soil that was now rich in minerals and nutrients. This fertile land was ideal for cultivating sugarcane.
At one point, there were 380 sugar plantations in Guyana, and it was common for each factory to have its own still to convert molasses into rum. Business was booming, and Demerara sugar and rum became famous.
Over time, the plummeting price of sugar led to a consolidation of the industry, and by 1942, there were just nine distilleries left in the country. After further privatisation and consolidation, just the Diamond Distillery remained.
Prior to the dwindling of operations, there weren’t any widely distributed rums coming out of the country, with many local bars simply blending their own from the masses of product available. In the 1970s, the decision was taken to start ageing rum stocks, so that the Diamond Distillery could launch the El Dorado brand.
The El Dorado 12-Year-Old is one of the distillery’s biggest success stories, well adored the world over. The nose sees a cloud of smoke chase vanilla and toffee, a theme that follows through to the palate. There are also notes of dried fruit and dark cocoa. The finish is enduring, with that smoky wisp shutting the door on its way out.
This review was last updated in January 2021. If you have any questions, suggestions for future reviews or spot anything that has changed in price or availability, please get in touch at firstname.lastname@example.org.