Friday Happy Hour: El Dorado 25 Takes Top Shelf to New Heights
We’re celebrating another great milestone here at Uncommon Caribbean today as this very story marks the 500th post in our history! Considering that we publish new content each and every day, and we first signed on a little over a year ago (476 days to be exact), we feel it’s as good a reason as any to raise a special toast right about now.
But, there’s another even better reason to reach above the top shelf for today’s Friday Happy Hour and experience, at least in memory, one of the world’s most exclusive, super-premium rums, El Dorado 25 Year-Old.
You see, El Dorado rums hail from Guyana, that most uncommon Caribbean country that just so happened to celebrate the 45th anniversary of its independence from the UK yesterday. El Dorado 25 is Guyana’s most prestigious blend, so let’s go for the gold today, shall we?
Truly, if any rum should be bathed in gold, per the effect I was trying to achieve with the accompanying photo, it’s this stuff. That’s because like gold, El Dorado 25 is rare, beautiful and very pricey. Come to think of it, judging by how hard it is to find El Dorado 25, I probably should’ve gone for a platinum or diamond effect!
It’s just that elusive; that special.
So, you can imagine the fantastic surprise it was for Patrick and I to find the bottle pictured here back in February at The Cliff, arguably the most luxurious restaurant in Barbados. We actually weren’t planning on stopping in at The Cliff during our brief trip until we ran into Jessica Williams at the Barbados Surfing Association Junior Championships. Jessica told us she was working at The Cliff that night as a hostess and invited us to come check it out.
We understand each other now, right…? Good.
Meeting up with Jessica and having the opportunity to apologize in-person for dissing her in the older post was nice, but being the faithfully married rum-loving guys that we are, our attention was soon diverted by the equally sexy Ms. El Dorado 25 at the bar. Before I give you my impressions of the rum, though, let’s talk a little history.
El Dorado, as a brand, has really only been around since 1992, so it may seem surprising to some that they produce such amazing super-premium blends. The brand’s parent company, Demerara Distillers Limited (DDL), has been around for quite a bit longer, though, operating as the world’s largest supplier of bulk rum and spirits to industry giants the likes of Diageo, Jim Beam, Hiram Walker, and Corby’s for much of the 20th century.
The company’s rum pedigree actually goes back MUCH further; all the way back to the late-17th century when some 300 individual distilleries produced a broad selection of unique rums all over Guyana. Hundreds of years and consolidations later, all 300 have come together under the DDL roof. The best of each distilling tradition has been retained as well. You can even see it in the company’s heritage stills, the only wooden stills that continue to be used in rum production today. These treasures date back to the 18th century and are built with a special kind of Guyanese hardwood so dense it doesn’t float! The rum that comes out of these stills obviously bear a unique flavor separate and apart from anything else you can put to your lips.
Certainly, when I put a first sip of El Dorado 25 to my lips, it was an entirely new experience for me. Initially commissioned on a very limited basis for release in 1999 to commemorate the millennium, El Dorado 25 is a blend of rums from DDL’s special stills aged for 25 years in oak casks and presented in an eye-grabbing decanter. Warm and bold, my first sip had a lasting burn that announced its supreme distinction without equivocation. That is to say, it was different in a refined, mature way, and it let me know right off the bat. Subsequent sips were a smooth, joyful mix of complex flavors and sophistication heralding the best of Guyana… perhaps the world.
El Dorado 25 is a truly special treat that, personally, I feel honored to have had the opportunity to try. Enjoying it in an equally amazing place like The Cliff with my brother and other esteemed company (hi Huggie and Cherrianne!) only added to the grandeur of the occasion. The only thing better might be getting my hands on my very own bottle of this stuff in Guyana itself, where I’ve read you can score a bottle for under US$200. Anywhere else (like here, for instance), be prepared to pay much more. If you can stomach the sticker shock, though, I guarantee you it’s worth it.
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