Our top takeaways from TL Insider’s El Dorado Rum tasting
Plus, the Caribbean-inspired dishes courtesy of Miss Likklemore’s that paired with every sip
No other rum distillery in the world can boast a 300-year-old heritage. This is the honour and legacy of El Dorado, the Guyanese rum brand producing a comprehensive catalogue of over twenty unique varieties from its distillery in the country’s historic Demerara region. For an exclusive event on May 4, El Dorado teamed up with TL Insider for a curated rum tasting and four-course dinner at Miss Likklemore’s. The result was a feast for all five senses and a masterclass on the history and production of this award-winning spirit.
The Three Ps
The night kicked off with an introduction to El Dorado’s rich history, as told by Master Distiller Shaun Caleb. Sharing his in-depth knowledge and practical exposure to distillation—having worked with El Dorado for nearly twenty years and named Master Distiller in 2018—Caleb walked guests through “The Three Ps” that is a cornerstone to the rum’s unique taste: place, plant and people.
“We would not have El Dorado taste as rich as it does without being situated exactly where it is just five degrees above the equator,” said Caleb, as he credited Demerara’s soil, temperatures and native species for building an ecosystem where “the world’s best sugar cane” grows.
Caleb also raised the importance of plant—being the distillery itself – and the range of different stills on its property that produce such complex flavours of rum. “We’re the only distillery in the world that has this many and the only one to still use wood barrels,” he shared. “Lastly, it’s thanks to the people of El Dorado and the generations of tradition passed down over time that has maintained the product’s quality and variety.”
Before making a full house of eager guests wait any longer, Caleb raised a glass and commenced the first of four tasting sessions.
Top Tasting Notes
Matching the sweetness of the night’s first course—honey-glazed Tempura okra and Likkle Patties with spicy beef and mango hot sauce—the 12 Year Old Blended Rum offered a lightly spiced and fruity combination of flavours with hints of honey and dark sugar. “For this blend, we have chosen a collection of stills that are volatile, fruity and floral,” said Caleb. “The result of that combination is a delicious blend that really opens up layer by layer and sits very well on the tongue.”
The dinner’s main course was served as guests indulged in El Dorado’s 15 Year Old Special Reserve, unmistakable in its coffee and vanilla undertones. The taste is achieved from the Port Mourant Double Wooden Pot Still, which provides an earthy, peat-like finish. This blended rum enhanced the flavours of the smoked jerk chicken and braised oxtail. As for the 21 Year Old rum to follow, its cognac-like palette was a silky and smokey complement to shared plates of Nuff Nuff salad, coconut rice and creamy mac pie. Caleb shared with guests the unique qualities of the 21 and how the single wooden still used in its distillation has French origins within Guyana. “Perhaps that might have influenced the style of rum that was produced back in the 19th century,” he said. “The flavour is punctuated with notes of chocolate, coffee, toffee and caramel. So, if you are a cognac drinker, you will recognize those notes right away.”
As the night began to wind down, the Cask Strength Enmore Rum made for a perfect slow sip over the remaining bites of dinner and good conversation. The single still is a stronger variety with a smokey finish reminiscent of cedar and peach.
As TL Insiders and their guests began to settle into their seats, Master Distiller Shaun Caleb brought more of El Dorado’s curiosities to the table, including the distillery’s impressive history of sustainability practices. Guests learned that the distillery’s plant introduced a carbon dioxide treatment facility in 1986, where carbon emissions produced in the distillery process were repurposed for the production of carbonated drinks and other manufactured goods.
“Through our priority to being net zero, we are able to pair a responsibility of sustainability with the high-quality rum we share with the world,” said Caleb. “And in our continued effort as a world leader in environmental responsibility, we continue to introduce green technology to our production models.”
Celebrating a brand with as much history as it boasts innovation, the night ended on a sweet note with El Dorado’s signature Original Rum Cream served with dessert.
Don’t Forget Dessert
As much as the notes of El Dorado rum focus on spices, fruit and savoury elements, even the most sophisticated palette can appreciate a rich and creamy dessert. The fusion of Demerara aged rums with full dairy cream and a blend of natural flavours make for an unmatched richness that’s easy to sip in the El Dorado Golden Rum Cream Liquor. It made for a perfect toast to a fabulous night and Miss Likklemore’s fabulous carrot cake.