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Dictador XO Perpetual

Review: Dictador XO Perpetual   91.5/100
a review by Chip Dykstra (Aka Arctic Wolf)
Posted August 19, 2012

It was about a year ago that I was contacted by the fellows tho are responsible for Dictador Rum, and was asked if I would like to review their new Dictador XO Perpetual. This new rum sounded intriguing, and I was curious about the how the Dictador XO Rum might differ from the Dictador 12 and Dictador 20 Year Solera rums which I had already tasted and reviewed. I agreed to receive a sample and when it arrived, I found this statement on the plastic protective sleeve which slides over the box that houses the XO Perpetual.

” … The Dictador XO Solera System Rum is elaborated from the fermentation of unique virgin honey of sugar cane, then distilled in antique copper pot alembic then is aged in very high end pre-used oak barrels from 3 cardinal points… “

Additional statements on the Dictador website speak to a difference in the aging regimen used for the XO rums. Although the information is not specific, it appears that the major difference is in the oak selected. The intent seems to be to create a different flavour profile for the Dictador XO. As a result, the XO Rums (the Insolent and the Perpetual) promise to offer a new taste experience for the rum connoisseur.

The Dictador website also explains that the Dictador Rum are produced in Colombia, more exactly, on the Caribbean coast of Colombia at Cartagena de Indias City. These rums are based upon an international marketing concept, combining the traditions of Colombian Rum making with Japanese bottle designs and European packaging and marketing.

Of course you might be wondering why it took me a full year to provide my review, that answer lies in the quirky tax laws of my great country called Canada. The rum had to endure a rather tortuous journey before it legally arrived on my doorstep a few short weeks ago. My apologies to the Dictador team for not being able to provide the review any sooner.

In the Bottle: 4/5

To the left is a photo I snapped of the Dictador XO Perpetual bottle presentation. I am not nearly as fond of the packaging for this rum, as I was for the Dictador 12 Year and the Dictador 20 Year Solera Rums.

Two things jump out at me which I found detracted from what otherwise would have been a very nice presentation. The first problem was with the plastic sleeve (not shown) which fits over the protective box. This sleeve contains a lot of nice information about the rum; but it was also slippery and slides off of the box easily. This forces you to carry the boxed package with one hand underneath. If you do not, the sleeve will slide right off, and your precious rum will fall to the floor. This is cumbersome and annoying! Fitting the sleeve back over the box after you have removed it to get at the rum, is even more troublesome and not worth the effort. I threw my plastic sleeve away very quickly, and I suggest strongly that the Dictador team does the same with this part of their design concept.

The second problem I have with the overall packaging design is the large black XO written across the bottle. It is gaudy, and it makes a beautiful, suave bottle design look cheap and tacky.

In the Glass 9/10

Fortunately, when I pour out a sample of my rum into my glencairn glass, all thoughts of ‘cheap and tacky’ immediately disappear. The Dictador XO Perpetual has a beguiling quality in the glass. The initial scents are aromatic and fruity. I sense a wonderful butterscotch sweetness underneath a bouquet of oak and baking spices (vanilla, brown sugars, and cinnamon). Orange peel wells out of the glass, but if you are patient the orange peel soon melds with the butterscotch to give the air a lovely impression of marmalade. Almond-like scents are prevalent, and like the orange peel these scents also meld with the sweet butterscotch bringing a distinct impression of marzipan into the breezes. Amidst all of this aroma, old English toffee and fresh tobacco scents weave in and out as well.

As you let the glass sit even longer, the baking spices deepen adding cloves and nutmeg to the air above the glass with a nice smokiness implying a sherry-like accent on the rum. As I stated earlier the overall effect on the air above the glass is wonderful.

In the Mouth 56/60

Initially the Perpetual Rum does not seem as sweet on the palate as it was in the glass. I would describe this as a light to medium bodied rum with a soft dryness. The smoky sherry-like accents are very noticeable initially; but as the rum decants, sweeter flavours of butterscotch and toffee begin to take center stage. There is a moderate amount of oak spice and citrus zest which gives the rum a nice spicy heat. Rich brown sugary baking spices, (in particular vanilla and cinnamon) build alongside the butterscotch and toffee. Flavours of marzipan and marmalade develop as does a nice sensation of fresh tobacco and hints of new leather. I would even suggest that sensations of chocolate and cola find their way into the rum although these impressions are quiet and indistinct.

I like the XO Perpetual a lot, and what I appreciate the most is how the rum appears to be just a little better each time I return to my bottle.

In the Throat 13.5/15

The rum finishes with that same lightly dry smokiness which I had noticed on the initial delivery. Oak spices and citrus peel tickle the throat and leave the palate heated. There is an ever so light bitterness in the finish that was not apparent earlier, and the final flavour impressions which the rum leaves in my memory are leather, tobacco and old English toffee.

The Afterburn 9/10

As I said, I am really liking the Dictador XO Perpetual Rum. It seems to have  more flamboyance than the other Dictador Rums (12 Year Solera and 20 Year Solera). It is fruitier and carries less overt oak into the flavour profile. This speaks perhaps to that different aging regimen which is bringing forward new and different elements into the Dictador taste profile. The rum is a great sipper and an elegant mixer (Although I manged to restrict myself mixing only high-end classic cocktails). Of course the best praise which I can give to the Perpetual Rum, is that it is one of those rare rums which seems to taste better every time I have another glass.

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


Suggested Recipe

Rum Old Fashioned

2 oz Dictador XO Perpetual Rum
1 tsp simple syrup
1 dash bitters
3 large ice cubes
1 twist of orange peel

Add the first three ingredients to a rocks glass over the ice cubes
Rub the cut edge of the orange peel over the rim of the glass and twist it over the drink. (This will release the oil from the orange zest into the drink)
Drop the peel into the cocktail if desired.

Please Enjoy Responsibly!


My Final Score is out of 100 and you may (loosely) interpret the score 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)


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