Review: El Dorado Rums – 12, 15, and 21 Years Old

Review: El Dorado Rums – 12, 15, and 21 Years Old

Hailing from Guyana, El Dorado makes what is known as demerara rum, which is simply a rum from the Guyana area that is made using demerara sugar, aka turbinado sugar — you probably know the coarse brown crystals best under the trade name Sugar in the Raw.

El Dorado isn’t Rum in the Raw, though: It’s a smooth and sophisticated rum that’s well worth seeking out. Available in nearly a dozen variations, I tried three of its oldest bottlings. All are 80 proof.

El Dorado Rum 12 Years Old is a very mature rum, fragrant with mint but deeply sugary. The brown sugar character is strong here, but otherwise it’s a pretty simple construction. Dark, smooth, and ready to go. A- / $25  [BUY IT NOW FROM CASKERS] [BUY IT NOW FROM TOTAL WINE]

El Dorado Rum 15 Years Old ups the age another three years, creating a spirit even darker in color and richer in flavor. Wood comes through stronger on this one, with mint and herb fading into the background. Again it’s the brown sugar body that impresses deeply, with a rich mouthfeel that makes this one easy to sip. The only false note is a touch of harshness on the palate as it first hits the tongue, but the finish is extremely smooth. A- / $30 [BUY IT NOW FROM CASKERS] [BUY IT NOW FROM THE WHISKY EXCHANGE]

El Dorado Rum 21 Years Old is extremely dark brown and almost overdoes it with the wood notes. Here a certain vegetal character starts to weigh down the rum’s natural sweetness, and any other secondary flavors tend to fade away. It’s still good rum — sweet and sophisticated, but in my mind it’s spent a few years too long in the barrel. B+ / $65 [BUY IT NOW FROM CASKERS] [BUY IT NOW FROM TOTAL WINE]

El Dorado Rum 12 Years Old




Christopher Null is the founder and editor in chief of Drinkhacker. A veteran writer and journalist, he also operates Null Media, a bespoke content creation company.


  1. Edoc on January 22, 2010 at 1:42 pm

    El Dorado is one of my favorite rums. All of their rums are well above the curve, even their 5 year dark rum and their white (which is one of the best white rums around).

  2. Capn Jimbo's Rum Project on August 9, 2010 at 10:29 am

    At The Rum Project (link above) Sue Sea and I have published over 120 independent and honest rum reviews. At the main website we have discussed the five basic styles (not origins) of rum, including the Demeraran style. We chose ED 12 year as the reference standard for this category.

    To be fair, we think even the 15 year is close to being overdone. The 5 year (and new 8 year) should not be overlooked. At the rum forum we did a smackdown comparing the 5 – 12 – 15 and you would be shocked at how well the 5 year did (look in the Demeraran section).

  3. Capn Jimbo's Rum Project on September 5, 2012 at 10:24 am

    Another note…

    It should be noted that El Dorado rums cannot be directly (or vertically) compared as examples of a rum of different ages. This is because ED uses up to nine very different stills, and each product represents a different blend of different components. This accounts for any surprising differences you may note, which is not due to the years of aging per se, but much more relevent to the different blends in each offering.

  4. Christopher Null on September 5, 2012 at 10:29 am

    Jimbo – that’s actually true of many rums on the market.

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