Monday, April 21, 2008
Lemon Hart and El Dorado showdown
A good friend brought me a bottle of Lemon Hart which is like gold in my neck of the woods. It is a very difficult rum to find and when he showed up with it, I had to compare it to the El Dorado brand that is available to me.
El Dorado makes a 5, 12, 15 and 21 year old. The 15 is of such high quality that it is rarely used for mixing drinks. Straight up or on the rocks is the best method for serving it. Mellow and smooth the taste is wonderful. I use the 5 year old for most of my drinks calling for Demerara. It's cheap, very tasty and adds the necessary molassas flavor to the drinks. There is no alternative when Demerara is called for. El Dorado is a young distiller, founded in 1992, but they use the locally grown demerara sugar and have done a wonderful job at producing a high quality rum.
Lemon Hart was founded in 1804. It has a long history of distilling, but it has become very diffucult to find, especially in the Southern US states. I was so anxious to pit these two head to head and find out if the Lemon Hart lived up to its reputation. Like El Dorado, Lemon Hart also sells gold, white, 5, 12, 15, and 21 year old rum, all made with locally grown demerara sugar. This battle is between the 5 year old El Dorado and the regular Lemon Hart. There is no age on it, but it is probably a mix of young and old making comparable to the 5 year old El Dorado.
The color test. Both are deep brown as expected with any Demerara rum. The Lemon Hart is deeper in color. Both have great long lasting legs around the glass and both are very similar in aroma. The Molassas shines in the aroma. At first taste the Lemon Hart is more complex in it's flavors. It is similar to the El Dorado, but there is just more there. Both benefit from a few chips of ice. This brings the flavors to life. The Lemon Hart takes first place, but not by much. Perhaps because I'm used to the El Dorado and the Lemon Hart is slightly more complex. I will make a Mai Tai with both later to see how they mix. Both are great, and I'm glad to have finally had the chance to give the Lemon Hart a go. Bottom line. You need Demerara in your bar, no matter what brand you can find.