When photos of the El Dorado Albion 2004 and Skeldon 2000 surfaced you could feel the excitement in the online rum groups. This couldn’t have been because of the previous releases in the “rare collection” series, as they have been hit and miss.
As with many things in rum, Luca Gargano has something to do with this excitement, albeit indirectly this time. When he released his line of Demerara rums many years ago, very few people noticed them in the beginning. This changed rather quickly and these bottles are now selling for high prices on the secondary market. Ones that get a lot of mention are the Skeldon 73 and 78 and Albion.
Many people, like myself, arrived too late to the rum game to buy these gems when they were available in retail stores. I was fortunate to once find a couple in the wild. A bar in Venice had an Uitvlugt and an Enmore 95. The latter became one of my all time favourite rums. Over time I’ve also received some samples from rum friends, including another Enmore 95. Even if you haven’t had any opportunities to taste some of these rums, you’ll likely know of their reputation.
So it’s only clever from the people at DDL to release two rums from marques with a distinctly “rare” reputation. 4,368 bottles of the Skeldon marque and 4,500 of the Albion marque to be precise. It made my mind go a little crazy when I saw them. But I told myself:”you have to realize these are newer releases and Luca is also not involved”.
I was lucky to be able to “try before you buy” at Richard Blesgraaf’s shop in Holland. He had both the Albion and Skeldon open. Great service! Even though a few sips only provide a first impression, it was enough for me to not buy the Skeldon. I preferred the bolder Albion. However, if only the Skeldon had been on offer, there is a good chance I would have bought it, as it is nice.
Distillery: Demerara Distillers Ltd, Guyana
Marque: AN - Albion - Continuous Coffey Still
Age: 14 Years
Other: Click here for an incredibly detailed article on Demerara rum by Marco Freyer.
The typical Demerara raisins are clearly present. A smell of crayon brought me back to a time where I wasn't allowed to drink this yet. Add some oak, orange peel and very light nutmeg. It’s a great nose. I could sit and smell that for an hour without taking a sip. Very promising!
What I found typical for some of the Gargano Demerara’s was that they really coated your entire mouth with intense flavours. It’s what Neo in the Matrix must have felt when he took the red pill, touched the mirror and had that silver liquid taking over his body. I’m wondering if this Albion will take us to Wonderland as well.
The short answer is….no, but it’s close. It is very flavourful and intense, but not at the electrifying height of the Gargano releases I tried.
I get raisins again, very spicy oak, vanilla, almonds and licorice. The intensity is high. If you prefer drinking lighter rum, this might be a bit overwhelming. It's also not comparable with anything from the regular El Dorado line. Those all have added sugar after distillation and are very sweet because of it, this Albion is not.
The finish is quite long and I feel like I’ve been eating dark chocolate covered raisins......without the feeling of guilt that usually goes with that.
No hydrometer or lab test has been done so far, but it doesn't seem sugared. Clear label, true age statement.
Level: Low to zero.
It’s a fantastic rum and a step up from the other El Dorado Rare Collection rums I’ve tried (I haven’t tried them all). It’s got a familiar Demerara signature, but with the volume turned up to 8.
Click here for info on the scoring method.