I generally don't like rum. Most younger rums are too light, too sweet, too "plastic," and too fruity in such a way that I am reminded of sweaty feet. I randomly saw a review of the El Dorado 21 and thought that it wasn't too pricey, so I got a bottle. I really loved it a lot and then began looking into 25 year old rums as a possibility, though hesitated because they're ridiculously expensive. A bottle of the 21 may cost $60-70, but the ED 25 will set you back over $500, if you can find it.
The notes for the 21 are from my bottle; the notes from the 25 are based on a sample.
El Dorado 21
Nose: Heavy on dark molasses, coffee grinds, and dark, unsweetened chocolate. Very subtle fruit (very ripe, but not odorous banana), dark dates, and some wood. Burned sugar, slight creaminess. Still, it returns mainly to an espresso-based dessert with a rather boozy quality. The creaminess with the other flavors gives it a sense of a decadent tiramisu. Delicious! That seems to be where the vanilla is, too.
Palate: Medium-bottled and both silky and velvety. Sweeter than the nose promised, but not cloying or so sweet as many younger rums are. Lighter coffee (almost weak coffee) with much lighter molasses, more in the profile of a younger rum, but somewhat subdued. These give way back to the chocolate and coffee beans, and a touch of bitterness that works. Fine vanilla extract and cream. Banana like on the nose, but, on the whole to my palate, this drink is less about the fruit and high sugar.
Finish: Short, but great. Sweetness mixed with the bitterness and dryness from dark molasses, wood, and coffee. Like a custard brulee for which the chef smiles and knowingly winks at you, and pours a little more spirit than needed to set it aflame. B+
El Dorado 25
Nose: Quite a bit lighter than the 21, both in terms of profile and potency. The fruit (banana, dates, and that apricot-like fruit quality of younger rums) are more obvious and the medium-to-light molasses comes behind, closer to syrup, really. Trace coffee behind it. it seems younger and smells sweeter than the 21.
Palate: Here we go! Sweeter and richer on entry than the 21, and much fruitier. The coffee and chocolate are gorgeous, but much more subdued. The sweetness wins out. Not the profile that I'd have expected, nor one that I usually seek or desire in a rum. Yet, despite that, it's so well done that I really do enjoy it. There's a bit of a bitterness in the back of the throat, while all the tongue is on sugar. It's an odd sensation.
Finish: Longer than the 21, and thankfully the sweet and the dark come together in the middle, balancing and moderating each other. There's still some residual sugar, fruit, and coffee - less chocolate in general, and fewer distinct flavors and aromas (than the 21), but the richness of the palate aids the 25 greatly. I like it a lot, but I'm not sure that I like it more than the 21. The 25 is probably more well put-together, if that makes sense, than the 21, but the 21 captures that great essence of sugar without actually being sweet. B+
Other worthwhile things in life! Such as cigars, wine, coffee, watches, cars etc. ..
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Last edited by numen on Thu Jul 04, 2013 2:03 am, edited 1 time in total.
I have had a sample of the 21, a long time ago and I wasn't sure if I enjoyed it, I will try again I think.
I am looking forward to opening my bottle of 21, thanks for the tasting notes.