Diplomatico Blanco Reserva
Rum Review: Diplomatico Blanco Reserva 85/100
a review by Chip Dykstra (Aka Arctic Wolf)
Posted October 30, 2010
In the late 1950s, the major companies which were involved in the production and distribution of alcoholic spirits in Venezuela were grouped into one organization called Licorerias Unitas S.A. This company was controlled by Seagrams who owned the majority share of the new consolidated company. After a series of mergers and acquisitions involving Seagrams, Diageo, and Pernod Richard, a decision was made finally to divest in the facilities in Venezuaela and concentrate instead upon brand commercialization.
The good news is that a group of local investors 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 these Venezuelan facilities is not. It is a matter of fact that systematic rum production in Venezuela can be dated to 1896. The DUSA facilities are at the foot of the Terepaimai National Park and from these facilities they produce the wonderful Diplomatico Rums which have garnered so much attention of late.
The Diplomatico Blanco is a very recent addition to the Diplomatico line up. Working with Blend Wine and Spirits, The Blanco was added to the Diplomatico brand to serve as an alternative to premium Vodka for bartenders and connoisseurs. It is meant to occupy the high-end niche market formerly reserved only for high-end Vodka.
It was at Rum Renaissance in Miami Florida, where I met Alex Mejido of Blend Wine and Spirits. Alex gave me a bottle of the Diplomatico Blanco to review on my blog, and although it has been several months since Rum Renaissance, I have finally completed my end of the bargain. I should point out that I have not necessarily been negligent. I have waited before publishing the review to line things up (sort of) with the release of this product in my home market of Alberta Canada.
I was informed by PB Beverages that they are about to launch the Diplomatico Blanco in Alberta so my review hopefully is timely.
To the right is a nice picture of the Diplomatico Blanco sealed in its clear glass bottle. I am hoping that you are wondering why I have placed it next to one of my mini oak barrels. The reason is that this white rum is a well aged white rum. I tried really hard to find out exactly how many years it has been aged, and the estimates I received from industry sources varied from 4 years to 12. My own inner common sense tells me to believe far more in the shorter time frame, but I will not discount the possibility that some of the rum inside the bottle has been aged for a lot longer than 4 years.
The bottle is clear to showcase the complete lack of colour which the Diplomatico Blanco exhibits. The words “Ultra Smooth and Slow Aged” appear in italics in the orange band at the bottom of the bottle. It is a reminder to the potential buyer that the rum is meant as an alternative to premium Vodka.
The orange fonts and labels seem ill-suited for the clear bottle as everything is a little hard to see and read. I like the masculine style of the tall bottle although it presents a problem for the shorter shelves on my liquor cabinet. I also like the high density cork topper. I wish every manufacturer would switch away from metal screw caps and move towards a cork style. So in the presentation we have a bit of a mixed bag of likes and dislikes. Since this is marketed as a ‘premium’ white rum I have judged this category perhaps a little more harshly that I would normally.
In the Glass 8.5/10
The rum presents as a clear spirit with a very shy, subdued nose. The aroma from the glass is of buttery caramel, baked banana with marshmallow, candy with vague traces of mint, and a gentle sweep of vanilla. A mild oakiness is in the air as well which gives scents of citrus peel (lemon and lime).
If we let the glass sit, the aromas will build in the glass and present themselves more forcefully. But when I add ice to the glass…the light scents seem to blow away in the breezes, leaving only a mild caramel ghost.
In the Mouth 51.5/60
The rum is smooth and buttery in the delivery with the alcohol bite resting very deeply in the bottom of the delivery. The rum flavours, including the light caramel, the baked banana, the lemony citrus peel, and the traces of sweet candy are all there in the initial delivery playfully dancing on my palate in a light dollop of oaky vanilla. As was the case with the aroma, the addition of ice sends most of the flavour fleeing from the palate, leaving only light caramel and vanilla behind.
The intention of Diplomatico in creating the Blanco was to create a rum which could substitute for premium Vodka for mixing in premium cocktails. In this regard, I believe they have succeeded wildly as the rum flavour seems to become firmer and is, by my taste experience anyway, pushed through the cocktail becoming more than when it was sipped neat. The Diplomatico Blanco, when mixed, is absolutely yummy in most Vodka styled drinks.
In the Throat 13/15
Super smooth and long on the finish. The flavours left on the palate and in the throat are mild and no appreciable burn is apparent. When ice is added, the flavours become phantoms slipping down the throat almost unnoticed.
The Afterburn 8.5/10
After various efforts with this rum, I found myself somewhat at odds with the Blanco when I sipped it neat. It seems to lack the flavour I want when sipping a premium rum. However, the rum eases into cocktails beautifully, adding a nice mild rum flavour and only a mild alcohol bite. This great mixing quality was the intention of the crafters of the Diplomatico Blanco. An alternative to premium Vodka, to add more flavour and zip into the cocktail experience.
If you are interested in comparing more scores, here is a link to my other published Rum Reviews.
In designing the first recipe for the Diplomatico Blanco I went to a recently discovered Vodka Cocktail that I have been enjoying recently,Electric Lemonade. I swapped out the Vodka and sugar syrup for rum and made a delicious concoction I call Connie’s Sapphire. (Connie is a good friend and member of my private rum tasting group.)
(an Arctic Wolf concoction)
15 ml Bols Blue
60 ml Diplomatico Blanco
15 ml fresh Lemon juice
15 ml fresh Lime juice
Lemon Lime Soda (Sprite or 7-Up)
Mix the first four ingredients over ice
Top with lemon lime soda.
Serve in a drinks tumbler with an optional lemon or lime garnish!
I also decided to try a ‘Cosmopolitan style’ cocktail I created called, Red Sky at Night
Red Sky at Night
a cocktail by Chip Dykstra (Aka Arctic Wolf)
2 oz Diplomatico Blanco Rum
1 oz Cointreau
1 oz lime juice
1 oz Red Cranberry juice
1/2 oz Grenadine
Lime slice for garnish
Shake all the ingredients over ice
Strain into a cocktail glass
Garnish with a small slice of Lime
Please remember to drink responsibly, the aim of my blog is to help you drink better spirits…not more spirits!
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)