Demerara Rules the Waves

Words Marco Barneveld  Photography René Koster  

Demerara Rum

Sure, it was the British Royal Navy who sailed the Seven Seas and wrecked havoc amongst its rivals for over two centuries. But if it hadn’t been for Guyana’s Demarara rum, they may not have had the “Dutch Courage” to do it, and history might well have taken a different path.

In fact, until 1970, rum was a vital part of the British Navy’s daily work. A ration of rum, called a “tot”, was issued to every sailor. On July 31, 1970 on a day known as Black Tot Day, the tot ran dry.

Demerara is a river in Guyana, that gorgeous little green gem of a country packed in between Venezuela and Suriname. Demerara county, on the banks of that mocha coloured river, has been steeped in the history of sugar and rum production since the 17th century. Where once there were over three hundred distilleries in the area, today Demerara Distillers operates the last remaining production in Guyana. They are the artists of alcohol that created El Dorado rum, a blend that begins life in the same nine century-old stills.

The traditional stilling techniques create distinctive flavours that, when blended, give birth to the distinguished taste of El Dorado rum. After fifteen years of ageing in oak barrels the blend becomes soft yet full of a sweet flavour that could make even a grown man shed a tear of joy.

“Take an epic voyage of taste to the heartland of rum.”

A full nose packed with dark coffee, candied orange, almonds, dark chocolate, pepper and rich vanilla. With hints of grilled tropical fruit with a smooth oaky spice – silky, vibrant and moderately full-bodied. Start drooling…

Oh, we could talk for hours about Demarara’s last fully working example of the Wooden Coffey Still or their rare French Savalle Still, and the eclectic tastes of each single rum. Why the climate of Guyana and its soil produce the world’s best sugarcane and the by-product, molasses. Or all its international medals. But why waste your time.

Run off to the local liquor store, grab a couple bottles of El Dorado 15-year-old Rum and take an epic voyage of taste to the heartland of rum; Guyana’s Demerara county.