Consider rum—in particular, age-statement, small-batch, ultra-sippable rum—for the discerning drinkers on your list
Gifting for a spirits connoisseur this holiday season? You know, the one who owns a serious selection of snifters and single malts? Shopping for the spirits enthusiast can prove challenging—they’ve likely got it all.
So let’s talk rum. Yes, rum. Dispel any notions of pirates and Piña coladas: an aged rum is the perfect gift for the discerning drinker. “Aged rums are just as sophisticated, complex and equally simpatico with the experience of a fine whisky,” affirms El Dorado Master Distiller Shaun Caleb. They boast all the style and age-worthiness you can expect from sought-after brown spirits—use one in an Old Fashioned or settle into your favourite chair and sip one slowly with a cigar.
When it comes to aged rum, Demerara sets the standard. “Demerara rums have a characteristic smoothness and roundness, with delicious and complex tasting notes that complement their distinct aromatic profiles,” describes Caleb. Produced in the Guyanese region by the same name, these rums are some of the most historic spirits in the world—rum makers here have been carefully cultivating sugar cane and conjuring rums for over 300 years.
El Dorado’s new line of single-still rums offers a taste of this rich rum history. Consider these like single-malt scotches: limited-release bottles focused on traditional styles of rum production. Perfect for the spirits enthusiast or entertainer on your list, these limited-edition, ultra-rare bottles shine a spotlight on each one of El Dorado’s legendary 180-year-old wooden stills (named Port Mourant, Versailles and Enmore).
“These stills have been preserved and maintained over all these years, and are the only ones of their kind still in operation today,” says Caleb. “Their long age and continuous operation is more impressive because they are all wooden stills, made from Greenheart wood farmed from Guyana’s lush and pristine Amazonian forests. The one-of-a-kind uniqueness and longevity of the wooden stills make El Dorado Single Still rums the envy of distillers the world over.” Got a history buff on your list? This is a drink for them.
Want to see how rum holds up in your favourite mixed drinks? Pick up a bottle of El Dorado 12 and sub out rum in your staple whiskey cocktails, like Old Fashioneds or Negronis (though you wouldn’t be remiss to sip it straight). “It offers all the deliciousness of the traditional Demerara Rum, but with an accessible price point, you can enjoy repeat bottles whether alone or with friends,” he affirms.
To woo a staunch whisky drinker over to rum, start with the Enmore expression. Distilled on a continuous coffey still, it’s delicate and contemplative with “delicious arrays of fruity and floral aromas and flavours, plus rich butterscotch, oaky and vanilla notes suggestive of a whisky-like profile,” describes Caleb.
The Port Mourant offers a bolder profile. It’s “uniquely heavy,” he notes, “but complex and balanced, with layers of nuanced flavours and aromas, from ripe fruits to leather and dark spices.” For the cultivated drinker, it offers forward flavours, deep spice and attitude.
The brandy enthusiast will love the sweet-meets-savoury notes and coffee-toffee undertones of El Dorado’s Versailles. This rum is distilled on a “one-of-a-kind wooden pot still owned by the original French family on the west coast of Demerara two centuries ago.” Thanks to this heritage, “it’s no surprise that the style and rich characters of this rum are very reminiscent of cognac-type notes,” says Caleb.
All three expressions are aged 12 years to develop the characters. While this may seem young, the tropical conditions accelerate the aging process—these drink with the finesse of a whisky twice the age.
Any of these will make an excellent option for spirits lovers, but Caleb’s ultimate gifting pick is the El Dorado 15-year-old special reserve rum—the silky, vibrant, bourbon oak-aged rum has snagged some of the highest awards in the industry (available at the LCBO for $65.95).
Learn more about El Dorado aged rums, from three years to 25 years old, or purchase here.
Source: Toronto Life