|El Dorado is made by Demerara Distillers Limited (DDL) who are based just outside Georgetown in Guyana. Guyana is located in the North-East corner of South America, between Venezuela and Suriname. Despite being situated in South America, Guyana has always had closer links to the Caribbean than it’s Hispanic neighbours; not only do they make up part of the West Indies cricket team, but they are also one of the founding members of CARICOM: a body (based in Guyana) whose role is to promote economic integration of its Caribbean members.
Much like the rest of the Caribbean, sugarcane was planted by European settlers. By the 1700s there were over 300 sugar estates and every estate had their own still to produce rum from molasses, a by-product of sugar production. Each of these stills was unique and produced a range of different styles or “marques”. By 1971, after centuries of consolidation, there were only three estates left: Enmore, Uitvlugt and Diamond. Today only the Diamond Distillery remains and it is owned by DDL, who have kept all the old stills and moved them to the Diamond Distillery. This policy of transferring the stills has led to them being in the unique position of having several old stills that are capable of producing many different “marques”.
Their range of stills begins with the more common copper pot still and copper column still. They also possess a Wooden Coffey still, known as the EHP, after the founder of the Enmore Sugar estate – Edward Henry Porter. The piece de resistance comes in the form of the last two original Wooden Pot stills in the world, both of which are over two hundred and fifty years old! One of them is a single wooden pot still (originally from the Versailles sugar estate); and the other is a double wooden pot still that began life on the Port Mourant estate and came to DDL via the Uitvlught estate. Finally, to complete the set they use an original four-column metal French Savalle Still (a column still with adjustable plates) which was also inherited from Uitvlught.
DDL have used their range of “marques” to ship rum for blending by other companies all over the world, but in 1992 they decided to launch El Dorado 15 Year Old, a prestige sipping rum which was one of the first of its kind. The bottle that contains this rum is a nod to the ceramic flasks that were used by Dutch sailors in the 18th Century. The El Dorado 15 year old is made up from a combination of rums that have all been aged for between 15 to 25 years. The blend is mainly drawn from the EHP Coffey still, the Port Mourant double wooden pot still and the Versailles single wooden pot still.