Dictador 20 Year Solera Rum
Rum Review: Dictador 20 Year Old Solera Rum (93/100)
a review by Chip Dykstra (Aka Arctic Wolf)
Posted on November 18, 2010
(Revised November 2012)
According to the Dictador website, the Dictador 20 Year Old Solera Rum is the result of the fermentation of a mixture of virgin sugar cane honey which has been distilled in part from alembic copper pot stills and in part from continuous column stills. The distillate is aged in reused oak using a Solera method.
The Dictador 20 Year Old Rum therefore, is a solera aged rum with the oldest rum in the bottle being at least 20 years of age. It is bottled at 40 % alcohol by volume in a stylish black 700 ml bottle. The Dictador website also explains that the rum is produced in Colombia, more exactly, on the Caribbean coast of Colombia at Cartagena de Indias City, and is named for Arango Y Ferro who was nicknamed ‘Dictador’ by the local population of Cartagena de Indias as he rose to prominence in the trade and commerce between the Spanish Colonies and Spain (sometime after 1751). 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)
When I reviewed the Dictador 12 Year Solera Rum I wrote…
“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!”
The 20 Year Old has almost an identical presentation, the only difference being the color of the labels which are blue rather than red for the 20-Year-Old. My feelings have not changed and the presentation deserves a perfect score.
In the Glass (9/10)
A dark reddish-brown coppery rum greets the eyes as the Dictador 20 is poured into the glass. This looks much darker than the Dictador 12 year Old rum I reviewed a few weeks earlier. When I tilt my glass to allow the rum to coat the sides, I observe moderately thick legs which traverse their way at a steady pace down the side of my glass.
The aroma from the glass is heavily tainted with oak and baking spice. I smell dark brown sugars and toffee which grows stronger and deeper as the glass decants. A hint of maple sits in the breezes. And accents of cinnamon, nutmeg as well as a firm dash of vanilla rise up to complement the strong oak aroma. I detect a light smokey element in the air which seems to imply dried currants and raisins. I find the combination of aroma to be marvelous, and I spent a good amount of time nosing the glass trying to decipher all the nuances .
In the Mouth (56.5/60)
The initial entry into the mouth is smooth and suave. All the scents which were easily discernible in the glass were much harder to distinguish as flavours in the mouth. in fact, most of the flavours seem to have blended and melted together in a nice harmonious balance which makes identification perilous, but is also a rare treat to the palate.
I would suggest that oak and caramel dominate the rum, but in spite of the age of the rum, (which is apparent on the nose), the oak flavours do not attack you with sharp tannins and citrus zest. Instead, The oak flavours have melted into the rum and appear as a yummy oak and caramel syrup that slides through the palate and carries hints of other the flavours with it. If one noses the rum as one sips, it is easier to distinguish the dry fruits, the vanilla, an impression of maple, and the rich baking spices which are also part of the flavour profile.
I consider the Dictador 20 Year Old Solera Rum as an excellent example of what can be achieved through solera aging techniques combined with masterful blending.
In the Throat (13.5/15)
Although I would describe this rum as medium bodied, it has a long smooth finish which is more consistent with a heavier rum. The wonderful oak and caramel syrup I described earlier leaves a long and lingering impression on the palate and the throat.
The Afterburn (9/10)
The Dictador 20 year Old Solera Blend is extremely well crafted and balanced. I enjoyed how the differing flavours melted together with the caramel and oak. This is a suave, yet rich rum experience!
If you are interested in comparing more scores, here is a link to my other published Rum Reviews.
I will begin by stating for the record that a wonderful rum like the Dictador 20 Year Old may easily be drank neat at room temperature and this would be my first recommendation for anyone who is trying the rum for the first time. Adding a little ice adds a light creaminess to the experience, and is also very enjoyable.
Having said that, I will share one recipe with you. It came about as I was sampling the rum for this review and I began to wonder what it would taste like mixed with Drambuie similar to a “Rusty Nail” which is a Scotch whisky cocktail. I did a little experimenting and came up with a recipe that is similar to the “Deansgate Cocktail“. (A Deansgate is made with Rum, Drambuie, and Roses Lime Juice.) My recipe is made with Dictador 20 year Old Rum, Drambuie and a lime garnish. I call it The Drumbeat.
1 1/2 oz Dictador Rum
1/2 oz Drambuie
Lime slice quartered
Fill a bar-glass half full of crushed ice
Add a quartered Lime Slice
Add the Dictador Rum and Drambuie
Stir and Enjoy!
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)