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So here it is, almost the night before Christmas, and I am into the spirits - sitting before the fire sipping a seductive rum. And it isn't just any rum. Fifteen years ago, Yesu Persaud, chairman of DDL (Demerara Distillers Limited) switched from being one of the world's largest bulk exporters into producing fine, premium-aged, Demerara rums in Guyana. Ever since the launch of his El Dorado, there's been no looking back.
I have to admit that it's almost a shame to add anything to the dangerously drinkable El Dorado 5-Year Old Demerara Rum (894014) at $23.60. The gently honeyed, gingerbread-tinged flavours are prefect served neat on the rocks. As for that special occasion, Vintages lists three aged editions: 12, 15 and 21 years old, along with the deliciously sweet, creamy El Dorado Golden Rum Cream Liqueur (34421) at $25.95. The latter is highly recommended as the perfect winter warmer.
With a current $2 LTO, El Dorado 12-Year-Old Special Reserve Rum (912402) at $35.95 represents great sipping value, while the more complex (and my favourite) 15-Year-Old (705418) was the "Best in Class" Gold Medal winner at last year's International Wine & Spirits Competition in London. Here is a hint: both come in attractive, easy-to-wrap, gift boxes. The 21-Year-Old, which was the second most expensive rum in Vintages is virtually sold out.
As for the ultimate spirit of the year, it has to be The Macallan 55-Years-Old Single Malt in Lalique. At a recent Harbour Sixty Steakhouse lunch, Marc Laverdiere, Macallan's Scotch whisky ambassador, liberated a wee dram of this rare 55-year-old. This 100% Speyside malt is actually a blend of two 250 L sherry casks of 1945, along with a larger 500 L cask from 1949. It has a wink of smokiness from1945 because peat, not the traditional coal, was used due to rationing. The nose is sublime - honey with woodsy-vanilla notes. The taste much fresher than expected with elegant, rounded, caramel-tinged, lingering, ripe plum flavours.
It's amazing to learn that these three barrels yielded only 420 bottles of 700 ML. This means that in 55 years, almost 70% had evaporated. Also, no water was to be added because the cask strength had fallen to 40.1% alcohol. It comes in an art deco, perfume bottle inspired, crystal decanter and will set you back $12,000 (only 10 bottles for Canada). For availability information email firstname.lastname@example.org
Would the original distillers ever imagine that the contents of these thee barrels would fetch over $5 million? It is just the second in a series of six bottlings - a 50-year-old (470 bottles) released in 2005 at just $8,000 apiece. Sadly, none were on hand for a comparative tasting. As for actually trying it, Harbour Sixty Steakhouse has it available at $1,000 a shot!
While you are not going to find this 55-year-old in Jim Murray's encyclopedic, cryptically controversial 2008 Whisky Bible, you will discover his tasting notes for both 1945 and 1949 vintages used in making it. In fact, there are detailed notes for 82 Macallan whiskies, including the untasted 50-year-old mentioned above. More than 3,800 whiskies are reviewed, of which 811 are new and 139 updated since the 2007 edition.
With 360 pages crammed with information, the tiny font size will have you reaching for a pair of reading glasses. Indispensable for any whisky lover, it's only available at Nicholas Hoare on Front Street East at $24.99 (check availability at 416-777-2665). Bargain hunters will soon be able to order it at amazon.ca for only $20.62. If desperate, email email@example.com
As for me, I've just put on my slippers and settling in with the 95-point Laphroaig Quarter Cask Single Islay Malt (19158) with 48% alcohol. With this peat bomb, who needs a smoldering fireplace? And at only $63.95, it is a $11,936.05 savings over the 55-year-old.
To see my suggested list of top turkey wines click here.
- 2007 Tasting Note Database
use our Tasting
Notes Database: click
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