Diplomático Reserva Exclusiva
Diplomatico Reserva Exclusiva (94.5 pts/100)
Review by Chip Dykstra (Aka) Arctic Wolf
Revised December 2014
In the late 1950s, the main companies involved in the production and distribution of alcoholic spirits in Venezuela were grouped into one organization called Licorerias Unitas S.A. by the initiative of Seagrams who owned 51 % of the new entity until 1992. After a series of mergers and acquisitions involving Seagrams, Diageo, and Pernod Richard, a decision was made to divest in facilities and to instead concentrate on brand commercialization. The result was a group of local investors who purchased the manufacturing assets of Licorerias Unitas S.A. and formed Distilleries Unitas S.A. (DUSA) on August 22, 2002. Although this company is relatively new, the tradition of making quality rum in Venezuela using the these facilities which is not. In fact sugar cane has been cultivated in Venezuela perhaps as early as the 16th century. Systematic rum production in Venezuela can be dated to 1896.
In 2009 when I wrote my original review for the Exclusiva Reserva, the Distilleries Unitas S.A. (DUSA) website states that the rum they produce is distilled from “honeys derived from sugar cane” and fermented molasses. Additionally, all of the stills and distillation kettles were made from copper. The website also made it clear that flavouring and aromatic agents are used in the production of their rum, as this statement on the website attested:
“Only high purity distilled alcohols and rich aromas and flavours are used to manufacture rums…”
Interestingly, today (2014) the DUSA website no longer makes any mention of kettle stills or of any flavouring and aromatic agents used in the production of their rum. I doubt that they have changed they rum, more probably they have decided less information regarding their production methods may be wiser in the long run from a marketing prospective.
For the record, I have no objection to the use of flavouring agents in rum, as this is a tradition which dates back to the very origins of rum distillation and production. In fact, this practice is recognized in the regulations which govern what can legally be called rum in both Canada and the United States. (See What is Rum?) My feeling when completing a review is that the spirit should be judged in the bottle rather than prejudged by what I believe should be in the bottle.
The Diplomatico Exclusiva Reserva is a premium rum which is produced from both column still rums and pot still rum. Within the blend are rums which are aged up to 12 years. (I should note another change in website information here which now claims al of the rum is at least 12 years old.)The combination of tropical aging, batch still production, and those rich aromas and flavours which I mentioned above yields an exquisite rum which has long been one of my favourites:
In the Bottle 5/5
I really like the green canister which houses the rum and the nice green bottle which displays the rum. The ‘postage stamp’ label is original, and the corked top makes this perfect.
In the Glass (9.5/10)
The Diplomatico Exclusiva Reserva has a stupendous bouquet. The smells and aromas coming from the glass are so rich and luxurious that I can hardly keep it from my mouth. I detect a good dose of caramel with nice hints of cinnamon, allspice, nutmeg and walnuts. The rum displays a nice soft oil on the sides of the glass when I tilt and twirl it indicating that the rum should have long finish as well.
In the Mouth (56.5/60)
All the scents and smells from the nosing come through in spades when I taste the rum. There is a nice underlying nuttiness (walnuts and hazelnuts), some sweet caramel and some very delicious baking spices (vanilla, cinnamon, nutmeg, and brown sugar). As the glass breathes, The richness of the rum builds and I taste even more brown sugar and cinnamon with butter. Mmmmm!
One of my very first rums I reviewed was Ron Zacapa 23 Anos. I find that this rum has a lot of similar components although in my view, the Diplomatico Exclusiva is just a bit sweeter, and just a bit richer. The only detraction is a tiny bit of burnt caramel at the very back of the palate.
In the Throat (14/15)
What a nice finish. My throat is coated with caramel, cocoa and the nuttiness of walnuts. However, this is not so sweet that the finish could ever become cloying.
The Afterburn (9.5/10)
This is so good! At that tasting event I mentioned at the beginning of the review, the Diplomatico Exclusiva was the stand out rum. When I polled the 34 persons in the room as to which was their favourite rum of the evening fully one half of the rum lovers present chose the Exclusiva (17 out of 34 persons). About one half of those remaining chose it as the second favourite rum of the evening making this by far the most popular rum at the tasting. This is definitely a favourite of mine for sipping and for mixing, and still two years after my original review, still one of the best rums I have tasted.
If you are interested in comparing more scores, here is a link to my other published Rum Reviews.
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)