Diplomático Reserva Exclusiva

Diplomatico Exclusiva ReservaFinally, I have time to review the last rum that I tasted at RumBa. This one was a bit of a surprise to me since it was an off-hand recommendation from the bartender. The recommendation was a bit unusual, and didn’t carry much weight considering that he sounded like he was just throwing out a name. When I pressed him, asking why he recommended this particular rum, he said something to the effect of “I dunno. A bunch of us tried it and thought it was excellent.”

Wow, that’s endearing. (And that was sarcasm.)

I did have an interest in it though, since I had seen it at Joyal’s Liquors in Rhode Island some time ago. The label caught my eye – it kinda looks like a huge postage stamp, but had an elegant old-time look to it. I was intrigued, but since I try not to allow myself to purchase rum on a whim, I placed it back on the shelf with a plan to do some research about it on the web.

The research was slow in coming – there’s just not much out there about this rum. I did find a few listings of awards they’ve received at various competitions, but little information let alone tasting notes. One person on the Ministry Of Rum forum gave it high marks, saying it found it comparable to Santa Teresa Solera. I have to assume he meant the 1796, which places the Diplomático quite high. I finally stumbled on a review of it over on SpiritsReview.com and Chris gave it fairly high marks. These awards, these two comments and the lack of bad press was all enough to make me feel comfortable spending $28 on it, so I put it on the list to buy and try.

So now when this bartender recommended it I was curious, but I really wanted to start the RumBa trials with an excellent rum. I ended up ordering the Clément XO, and after pouring that he brought over the Diplomático and poured me a small sample on the house. Who was I to refuse?

From Their Web Site
I generally try not to post direct quotes from a distiller’s or importer’s web site, since I find them to have little real information, but rather quite a bit of marketing propaganda. And I don’t always find them close enough to the truth. But Diplomático’s blurb about the Exclusiva is informational and honest.

Copper Pot Stilled, and aged for 12 years in small oak barrels. Exquisite Blend that seduces with it’s intense amber color, product of it’s prolonged aging in exclusive white oak barrels; it’s unique body and extraordinary balance are obtained by the craftsmanship of our master distiller. delivers a full-rich flavor with a silky smooth finish.

Awards: Best of Category and Gold medal Winner, International Cane Spirits, Gold Medal Winner, Beverage Tasting Institute, Medal Winner, International Rum Festival.

12-year-old rum for $28 always seems like a bargain, though I’ve been bitten before.

Initial Tastes
This is a nicely dark rum, a bit beyond gold. It smells a bit sweet, certainly from molasses, and smells a bit of fruit – particularly banana. It also has some touches that remind me of tequila for some reason – not that this is a bad thing, but I was surprised by a rum that reminded me of tequila. Overall though, it smelled a bit sweet and a bit complex, which make for a winning combination to me.

The taste is sweet and rich – it’s very thick in the mouth. The molasses comes out, as do dark fruits, and the finish is spicy with a mild burn. Another sip – the last one, so sampled with concentration – show some butter or toffee tastes, a bit of barrel and vanilla, and again the fruits. The finish on the slow sip is longer with some definite spices making the mouth tingle. Though plentiful with flavors, the balance is imperfect, being strong on molasses and the spicy finish. It’s not a bad balance, just not a perfect one.

This is a very good rum, sweet and complex, though the mild burn and lack of balance bring it down a notch from excellent. It’s still easy to recommend this rum, especially at a price tag of $28. This almost makes it cheap enough for a good mixer, but I fear it might be wasted in any drink that doesn’t really show off the rum. And since it’s a very good sipping rum I’d be hard pressed to mix it. Overall, definitely recommended.

I have to say though, that this review was done with a small sample. It is most definitely on my list of rums to buy, so I hope a full bottle finds it way to me soon. I’ll do a more thorough review, of course, and may even try it in a cocktail or two.