Rum Review: Diplomatico Reserva 8 Anos 90/100
a review by Chip Dykstra (Aka Arctic Wolf)
Posted June 20,1010
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 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 the 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.
Pictured to the left is my bottle of Diplomatico Reserva, and its cardboard display container. The bottle was given to my by Paul Charabin of PB Beverages who are responsible for bringing the Diplomatico products into the Alberta marketplace. I like the rich dark green bottle capped with the orange foil over the screw cap. The labeling is colourful, and the bottle stands out nicely on my rum shelf. I can quibble a little about the plastic diffuser and the plastic cap, but the presentation is quite nice based upon its price.
In the Glass 9/10
I gave the glass a little tilt to allow some rum to accumulate on the sides. My reward was long slender legs which ran quickly back into the rum. Eight years of aging in a tropical climate has allowed the oak to impart some of its oils into the liquid.
I discovered that this is a rum which should be properly decanted to reach its full potential. The initial nose is slightly sharp with possible medicinal overtones. However, as the rum decants, rich complex aromas of oak tannins which smell of freshly fallen timber begin to rise. These are enriched by dark brown sugars mixed with cinnamon. And under it all I sense a delicate fruity accent with a developing nuttiness. The difference between the fully decanted aroma and the initial aroma is well worth waiting for.
In the Mouth 54/60
The initial entry into the mouth feels rather viscous with the oils in the rum not appearing as firmly as I would have suspected. The first flavour I notice on my tongue is a rather sharp oak tannin disguised as an orange peel zest. This is followed quickly by rich toffee and vanilla flavours that envelope the sharper flavours from the oak. Next, although they are indistinct, I believe I taste ripe cherries and perhaps a hint of dry fruit. (I am thinking prunes and raisins.) This fruitiness was more apparent on the nose than in my mouth, and it is possible that the flavours are mirages conjured up from my memories of smell.
There is a nice balance achieved between the sharper oak tannins and the smoother rum flavours of toffee and vanilla. I find this to be complex, full of character, and filled with artistry and style.
In the Throat 13/15
Just as I noticed on the nose, the rum must be allowed to fully decant to realize its full potential in the finish. A freshly poured glass which is drank quickly will seem harsh and full of orange peel on the exit. However a fully decanted glass is much smoother with lingering flavours of rich toffee and praline cream.
The Afterburn 9.5/10
Listing the flavours like a checklist doesn’t do justice to the richness and complexity that I tasted. The melding of all of these flavours into each other was grand. The oak timber tannins and orange peel zest punctuates the rum with tartness; the rich toffee and vanilla provides a strong beating heart which melts the sharpness of the oak into a flavour profile that is more than the sum of each individually. Beside it all, is a style of presentation which allows the rum to ooze class and distinction. This is a great rum which perhaps does not get he attention it deserves as its older sibling, the Excusiva Reserva garners all of the attention. But next time you have a gathering of friends, pour yourself a Diplomatico Reserva. You will not regret it.
If you are interested in comparing more scores, here is a link to my other published Rum Reviews.
I found a nice recipe for Diplomatico Reserva on the Distilerias Unidas, S.A (DUSA) website called The Golden Boy. It uses honey as a sweetener and mixes Diplomatico Reserva with grapefruit juice. The website does doesn’t actually give the measurements, or a method of construction, I suppose to allow the mixer to make the drink according to his own taste. So I played with the ingredients a little and came up with my own suggested recipe for the Golden Boy:
1 3/4 oz Diplomatico Reserva
1 ounce grapefruit juice
1 Tsp of liquid honey
dash of Angostura bitters
Mix with ice in a metal shaker
Shake until frosted
Strain into a cocktail Glass
Garnish with a slice of lime
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)