MY experience of rum is limited to say the least, with most of my tastings coming in the shape of rum cocktails and the very occasional rum and coke. However, I decided to dig a little deeper and searched for a quality demerara sipping rum and, under the guidance of Steven James - who runs the excellent and informative Rum Diaries Blog - I decided to take a punt on a bottle and plumped for the El Dorado 12-year-old.
The 12 has won a galleon full of awards and although my rum knowledge is minimal, spend a few minutes with the glass at your nose, and it becomes clear that you have indeed bought a quality product.
The nose is glorious, with an abundance of red berries, honey, toffee, caramel, brown sugar, molasses and nutmeg, while a sliver of lemon cuts through the sweetness to balance the aromas beautifully.
The drink also has a slightly syrupy viscosity to it, which coats the glass and invites you to dive in.
Take a sip, and the El Dorado 12 is a taste sensation. At 40%, the drink is exceptionally smooth and coats the mouth, delivering a wealth of sublime flavours; prunes, vanilla, cooked banana and caramel coffee - think of a Starbucks Caramel Macchiato - which dazzle the tastebuds. Yes, it's sweet but it's never cloying, with the sweetness superbly offset by a woody dryness, a long finish and a satisfying warmth as it trickles down the throat.
This is a delicious spirit and for around £35, you really can't go wrong. A wonderful discovery and the perfect drink to kick start my rum adventures. Cheers, Steven.