Guyana's been enjoying a year of celebration, as the country marks half a century of independence from the UK. We've been able to enjoy the celebrations here too, thanks to Guyanese rum producer El Dorado.
One of the highlights - the very embodiment of the celebrations in rum form, you could say - was the release of the extremely top-end El Dorado Grand Special Reserve 50 Years. The packaging is very fancy, but the liquid inside easily lives up to it. It contains rums that are 33 to 50 years old, and the oldest rum at its core was preserved on the Demerara Distillers Limited property.
Master distiller Shaun Caleb is currently on a very rare visit to London, which made yesterday the ideal opportunity to open a bottle of 50 Years while sat around a table of rum-loving bartenders at Bourne & Hollingsworth Buildings. Seemingly against all odds, the influence from the oak was quite restrained on both nose and palate. Rather, this had some appealing funk, rancio notes, with a savoury/saline, earthy character, not to mention a minerality on the palate. Vanilla cream and demerara sugar were more expected notes, alongside some dark toffee. Beautifully balanced, and packed with complexity, it certainly serves its purpose as not only a celebratory spirit, but a piece of history.
The release forms part of a series of very special rums released this year to commemorate Guyana's independence. Earlier in the year, Rare Collection was released, containing three single-vintage rums, each made in one of the three wooden stills Demerara Distillers.
Incidentally, Caleb told the gathering of bartenders that his favourite still isn't one of these last-of-its-kind stills, but rather a state-of-the-art, five-column multi-pressure still at the distillery that he helped to develop.
The 50 Years landed on our shores recently, with a mere 30 bottles allocated to the UK. So if you've got £2,750 kicking around, or customers that do, you'll want to get in touch with Speciality pretty quick.
Speciality Drinks, 020 8838 9362