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Dictador 12 Year Solera

Rum Review: Dictador 12 Year Aged Solera Rum   92/100
a review by Chip Dykstra (Aka Arctic Wolf)
(Revised November, 2012)

I was first introduced to the Dictador Rums when I convinced the local distributor to drop in on one of the monthly gatherings of my Rum Club. Two bottles of the new Dictador Rum (The 12-year-old and the 20-year-old) were brought to the club for us to taste and provide feedback. Later I also sampled the Dictador rums in Miami, at the Rum Festival. Both times I remember being taken in by the Dictador style and the rich vibrant rum inside the bottles. Dictador is a medium bodied, complex blend of premium aged rums with a full, rich flavour profile. Fortunately for me, I was promised sample bottles of each to put through the paces of my review system, and about one month ago Paul Charabin came through.

A quick note on the rum and its history. The Dictador 12 Year Old Rum is a solera aged rum with the oldest rum in the bottle being 12 years of age. It is bottled at 40 % alcohol by volume in a stylish black 700 ml bottle.

According to the Dictador website, their rum is produced in Colombia, more exactly on the Caribbean coast of Colombia at Cartagena de Indias city.  The rum is named for Arango Y Ferro who was nicknamed ‘Dictador’ by the local population of Cartagena de Indias, in early Colombia (sometime after 1751) as he rose to prominence in the trade and commerce between the Spanish Colonies and Spain. Arango apparently fell in love with the local cane spirit and became an important producer of rum at that time. In 1913, his descendant Don Julia Arango Y Ferro established the Distileria Colombiana.

In the Bottle 5/5

Dictador is a new rum which attempts to meld European marketing style and a Japanese designed bottle presentation with Colombian rum. The product exudes style and luxury and practically has your mouth-watering before you even open the bottle. In my opinion, it is just plain sexy!

I have actually heard complaints from some quarters that the bottle design and presentation is too sexy.  To those persons I can only remind them that this is Rum, not soda pop.  Let’s face it, sexy sells much better than not sexy. As well a nice sexy bottle on the top of the bar which displays the rum is better than something which looks just ordinary.

I love the bottle; I love the sleek box it is contained in; and I love this attention to presentation detail!

In the Glass  9/10

When poured, the rum has a light copper colouration with amber highlights when it is held up to the light. A quick tilt of my glass and a slow swirl reveals a multitude of swarmy legs running with moderate quickness down the sides of the glass back into the rum. The initial nose is very pleasant full of rich baking spices which includes a brown sugary toffee rising from the glass with cinnamon, and vanilla. There is a light accent of marzipan which reminds me of toasted almonds and charred marshmallow. I also sense fresh and dry fruit and a complex oak profile that is firm but not too strong.

To hold the glass and nose it for a few minutes is a wonderful thing!

In the Mouth  55.5/60

This is nicely balanced and very complex. A light oak smokiness present in the rum seems to be acting to carry the other elements in the rum forward. I liken this to a well aged brandy in its delivery and in the manner in which the oak leads out in front without devouring the other flavours.

The rum is not as sweet on the palate as it was on the nose. It is however, very soft with a slightly oily mouth-feel. There is a good amount of oak tannin and citrus zest which leads out and makes everything mildly spicy. This sensation is quickly followed by flavours of dark toffee which have turned slightly to treacle, and a moderate amount of vanilla oak. A yummy marzipan which reminds me of toasted almonds smothered in roasted marshmallows is nestled nicely under the oak and spice.  A touch of coffee, a hint of ripe cherry, and more charred flavours  (perhaps some toasted coconut) seem to arrive at the end with a sherry-like smokiness which also brings nuances of dry fruit and cocoa to the fore.

This is very nice!

In the Throat  13.5/15

The complexity seems to taper in the exit which provides a firm but soft landing for the rum. The dry fruit flavours and oak tannins have the last say in a finish which builds towards bitterness but never arrives there.

The Afterburn  9/10

I am as impressed in my tasting sessions now as I was when I received my first taste of this rum seven months ago.  This is a complex rum full of oak nuances and dry fruit which achieves a full flavour,  and maintains proper balance and complexity. This is definitely a keeper for my collection.

If you are interested in comparing more scores, here is a link to my other published Rum Reviews.


Suggested Recipes:

The complex flavours of the Dictador reminded me a little of a nice rich Brandy.   So I am going to recommend mixing a ‘Side Car’ cocktail replacing the Brandy in the recipe with the Dictador 12 year Solera.

The Dictador Side Car

1 oz Dictador Rum
1 oz Cointreau
1 oz Lemon juice
Lemon peel

Pour the Rum, the Cointreau, and the Lemon juice into a metal shaker
Shake firmly to chill the mixture.
Strain the mixed ingredients into a sugar rimmed cocktail glass
Garnish with a small strip of lemon rind



You may (loosely) interpret the scores as follows.

0-25     A spirit with a rating this low would actually kill you.
26-49   Depending upon your fortitude you might actually survive this.
50 -59  You are safe to drink this…but you shouldn’t.
60-69   Substandard swill which you may offer to people you do not want to see again.
70-74    Now we have a fair mixing rum or whisky.  Accept this but make sure it is mixed into a cocktail.
75-79    You may begin to serve this to friends, again probably still cocktail territory.
80-84    We begin to enjoy this spirit neat or on the rocks. (I will still primarily mix cocktails)
85-89    Excellent for sipping or for mixing!
90-94    Definitely a primary sipping spirit, in fact you may want to hoard this for yourself.
95-97.5 The Cream of the Crop
98+       I haven’t met this bottle yet…but I want to.

Very loosely we may put my scores into terms that you may be familiar with on a Gold, Silver, and  Bronze medal  scale as follows:

70 – 79.5    Bronze Medal (Recommended only as a mixer)
80 – 89.5     Silver Medal (Recommended for sipping and or a high quality mixer)
90 – 95         Gold Medal (Highly recommended for sipping and for sublime cocktails.)
95.5+            Platinum Award (Highest Recommendation)

2 Responses to “Dictador 12 Year Solera”

  1. Fat Rum Pirate said

    This is a stunning rum. Complex and full of flavour.

    Definitely up there with the Pampero Aniversario for me. I’m definitely looking at the scores you are attributing to rums as I’m finding that we seem to have a similar taste in the older rums. I think perhaps like me you enjoy something a little different.

  2. Jack said

    I just tried this rum for the first time, as well as the 20 year, which was also a treat. Wow! I was thoroughly impressed, as was I with your accurate review. Whether before or after, I come to your site for advise and knowledge, and learn from your expert impressions and evaluations. I know this posting was a while ago. I simply wanted to acknowledge your hard work in appreciation. Thanks for your help.


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