Yes like us you know this is a bit special. One of El Dorado’s finest, the El Dorado 21 Year Old Demerara rum and Montecristo’s Limited Edition 55 ring gauge 520 cigar. The anticipation about this pairing has been big at Cut The Cap towers and today the day has finally come!
First let’s explore the rum…
The 21 year old rum is a blend of three stills – a column still, the world’s only wooden Coffey still & a unique wooden pot still. This rum showcases a very special body, one developed from the blend of different stills, such as the Enmore Wooden Coffey Still, the Versailles and the Albion Savalle still.
El Dorado 21 year old rum scored the highest mark ever to be awarded to a rum (98/100) at the 2007 Beverage Tasting Institute of Chicago & has won ‘Gold Best in Class’ at the 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011 International Wine & Spirit Competition alongside a Gold Medal at the International Rum Festival in Canada – so its safe to say that this isn’t a bad drop.
The rum is part of a family of luxury cask aged rums which also includes a 12-year-old rum, a 15-year-old rum and a 25-year-old Rum.
“El Dorado rums are blended selections of different ‘vintages’ or batches of rums from different stills – aged in oak barrels. Importantly, the age statement specifically indicates the youngest rum in the blend, even though the oldest may be many years older. This rule is the same as the one for Scotch Whisky and is used for rums produced in English-speaking countries…“ http://theeldoradorum.com/
This age statement is quite different from those rums which feature a solera style age statement which highlights the oldest rum in the blend and usually includes a high percentage of rum which is much younger in the blend. This in itself is one of the main reasons is the El Dorado 21 Year Old Rum is set far apart from its counterparts and finds a in a unique position in the marketplace.
Now lets get down to business… the tasting and the pairing!
Swirling the El Dorado 21 year old rum in the glass your sense of smell gets an instant hit of brown sugar, molasses, vanilla, and toffee with rich oaky overtones. As it sits in the glass with we breathe in for a second and it reveals the complexity of the drink with distinct notes of orange, spice and chocolate which had us reaching for the lighter to get our cigar lit – there were already an abundance of potential flavour matches running through our heads.
Before that though, a taste before we start… initial thoughts were how robust and full-bodied this rum is and how surprisingly dry. There are layers upon layer of flavours and absolutely no burn, just spice, chocolate and date-like toffee lingering in the mouth. Later there is an aroma of leathery tobacco left on the glass, just another reason to get that Montecristo 520 lit!
First Third with El Dorado 21 year old rum:
The first couple of draws offer the cocoa, coffee and sweet cedar taste we’ve always associated with this cigar and as we take our first sip of rum the flavours start to marry.
The orange and spice mixed particularly well with the cocoa notes of the rum whilst at the same time there is instant heat and warmth you get from the drink that begins to carry a dates and toffee. This is almost immediately followed by an almost coffee like taste that is further intensified by the cigar itself.
As we continued there are hints of sweet wood, leather and a hint of pepper which is balanced out nicely by the spicy oak flavouring.
Second Third with El Dorado 21 year old rum:
By the time you reach the second third, the cigar really starts to opened up a bit more and come into its own. The draw loosens up a bit and the flavours became more intense giving a rich combination of woodsy and grassy notes with cocoa and coffee flavours. This profile opens the mocha, pipe tobacco and brown spice flavouring of the rum that dances on the tongue and right around your mouth.
The earthiness of the cigar was prominent at this time and gave some pleasant and rich cocoa and coffee flavours and with it. Taking another sip the rum offered a dry-yet-fruity full body of toffee, coffee and brown spice on the palate with a seemingly endless, sweet, nutty fade and evolving layers of tobacco, chocolate and spice giving a perfectly balanced cigar/rum moment.
Final Third with El Dorado 21 year old rum:
The final third offers more of the same. Primarily sweet wood, earthy and grassy flavors with the occasional bursts of cocoa and semi-sweet coffee. There is also a little bitterness that we can likened to dark unsweetened chocolate. When mixing this light bitterness with the rum there was a noted shift in taste… almost that of caramel just prior to the point of being burnt, reminding us of Crème Brûlée.
The pepper on the finish of the cigar remained and continued to pull the spices out of the rum.
These two premium products from El Dorado and Montecristo are a match that both the gilded King of Old Guiana (the homeland of El Dorado) and Alonso Menéndez (founder of Montecristo cigars) would be proud of. Each layer of the flavour profile dovetails with the next, of particular note would be the great combination of the sweet toffee profile of the rum with the coffee and cocoa flavours of the cigar creating a thoroughly enjoyable experience and one we hope to repeat again soon.