Steve Leukanech is a rum and bourbon enthusiast from Florida who I respect very much. He's incredibly knowledgeable, experienced and has a palate I rate very highly. I've learned a lot from him over the years and I've always enjoyed his rum reviews. Until now, he only posted these reviews on Facebook, where they get lost in space after a while. I thought this should change, as they are worthy of being in a spot where people can easily find and go back to them.
Two years ago I asked Steve if he was interested in publishing his reviews on the Rum Revelations site. Luckily he said yes. It's taken a while to get it going, but here we are with his first contribution. I'm hoping there will be many more.
He won't write about the history of the distillery or anything like that. It will just be his impression of the spirit. When people do this, I usually don't find it interesting enough, as tasting impressions only really matter when your palate matches the reviewer's palate somewhat. But in Steve's case, I always find it valuable to read his expert opinion.
All of his reviews will be in a separate section of the site, called Steve's Rum Ruminations, and will also show up on the main/front page. Here goes:
El Dorado 15yr
An approachable and enjoyable nose of burnt caramel and smoke precedes a palate characterized by a thinnish watery character that shows gentle dryness with subtle sweetness. The dryness of the palate turns to subtle spice on the finish that stops just short of showing tannin while it retains some sweet vanilla. It's all just a little watery and subdued tasting throughout.
Gorgeous nose of fresh milled white oak, burnt caramel, candy corn and damp earth. Complex and without any ethanol burn. There is something weighty and settled about it. Very nice. Rich mouth feel that is initially sweet but quickly progresses to dry tannin. A little heat shows later as the palate reveals tannin that gains momentum as it progresses to the finish. The sweetness fades while the tannin and spice amp up a little. It settles down to a lingering and very enjoyable drying spicy finish.
Gregarious Grump Guyana 16yr
Dense nose that requires work to get much from but eventually shows as surprisingly floral and herbal supported by oak and damp earth while hard candy and anise drift through as well. Buttery and substantial flavors of oak and burnt sugar candy greet the palate that slowly give way to sharp tannin. Just when it seems like the tannin will overpower it completely, the sweetness returns. The finish is a rum mullet - sweet in the front, dry and tannin spice in the back. Interesting and very nice.
This new El Dorado 15 is much better without the added sugar found in previous iterations. While I found it a couple clicks too thin and a little simple, I'm guessing a beginning spirits sipper would find this an enjoyable easy drinker, as there is virtually no heat. Pusser's 15yr is a really enjoyable pour and one of my current favorite go to. The nose is wonderful and worth taking your time with. It punches way above its proof in flavor and character. Well worth the effort to find one. While the nose of the Gregarious Grump 16yr is something of a challenge, the burly flavorful palate and complex finish are the stuff spirits enthusiasts get excited about. At last look, it's about $130 a bottle and only available in Texas but IMHO worth the dosh and the effort. Top shelf rum to be sure.