The Rum Howler Blog

(A Website for Spirited Reviews)

  • The Rum Howler Blog

  • Visit My Online Memorabilia Store

  • The Rum Howler Top Canadian Whiskies of 2013

    Click the image to find the Best 25 Canadian Whiskies of 2013

  • The Rum Howler Interview (Good Food Revolution)

    Click on the Image to see my interview on Good Food Revolution

  • The Rum Howler Top Rums of 2013

    Click the image to find the Best 30 Rums of 2013

  • Industry Interviews


    Click the Image for Great Interviews with the Movers of Industry

  • Cocktails and Recipes

    Click Image for Awesome Recipes

  • Follow Me on Twitter!

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)

Photo Coutesy Prairie Boy Imports

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.


Suggested Recipe

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.

The Drumbeat

1 1/2 oz Dictador Rum
1/2 oz Drambuie
Crushed Ice
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)

6 Responses to “Dictador 20 Year Solera Rum”

  1. James said

    Great reviews! I just had some Ron Millonario Solera 15 last week, can’t find in many places in Calgary (one place downtown). But my favourite store in the South (J. Webb) and they have the Dictador 20. How different would it be to the Ron Millonario Solera 15? Or should I just buck up and by them both!

  2. rus said

    thanx ryan,…at the 2011 rumfest ,dictador did not show their product,,,a shame…….as for cardhu we found it in dutyfree and still as good as its cousins highland park.macallan.and famous grouse….had the pleasure of finally meeting chip,very personable,a fountain of knowledge ,nice guy…. cheers russ

  3. Ryan said

    I carry both of these rums in my store in Sherwood Park. I just wanted to say that Cardhu has been unavailable in Alberta for quite some time, no agency carries it.

  4. rus said

    very comprehensive review,thank you.this rum was the favorite of many of us at the miami fest and bemoan the fact it has been difficult to obtain except when we have had it shipped in caselot out of europe.we have tried to aquire it in canada but have been unsuccessful….on another topic,do you know if the cardhu product has resurfaced anywhere for us to obtain. thanx russ

    • I agree that this was one of the favourites at Miami!

      As for the Cardhu, I do not believe I have seen it for quite a while now. I do not know if it has been discintinued in Canada or just in short supply.


Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 1,202 other followers

%d bloggers like this: