Diplomatico Single Vintage 2001

Diplomatico Single Vintage 2001 rum review by the fat rum pirateA 2001 single vintage from Diplomatico who should need little or no introduction.  Their Diplomatico Reserva Exclusiva is regularly cited as one of the worlds greatest rums. For many rum lovers their rums are staples in their rum cabinets.

Venezuela, has from has its own economic problems but the countries rums are globally recognised.  Brands such as Pampero are owned by Diageo.

In Germany Diplomatico are prohibited from selling their brand as “Diplomatico”.   Due to a dispute with discount supermarket ALDI who market products with the Diplomat branding.  In Germany Diplomatico is known as Ron Botucal.  The name Botucal comes from the local indigenous word “Botuka”, meaning “Green Hill”. The reference is to the rolling hills of the national park.  Which is situated in front of the distillery and indicates Diplomatico’s/Botucal’s ties to the traditions of the area.

On the brands own website and that of importer Speciality Brands much is made of the freshness of the sugar cane and the rolling countryside that the distillery is housed amongst.

This 2001 vintage has been blended and aged for 12 years in bourbon barrels.  It is then finished for a further 12 months in Spanish Sherry Casks.  From Diplomatico’s marketing it seems this rum is rather special due to the “terroir” as well……

“During this year, a number of factors contributed to rare conditions for sugar cane growth. High daily temperature variations, high humidity and lo.wer than average rainfall all contributed to one of the best sugar cane harvests ever seen”

In the UK a bottle of this rum set you back around £80.  Considerably cheaper than the Ambassador.  Twice the price of the DRE.  The ABV is 43%. Following publication of this review I have been given some further information on this rum

“The 1997 edition was the first to be made. It was according to DUSA made because that year had the perfect conditions for sugarcane and hence produced the best molasses. The barrels were marked accordingly and later used by Tito to create the Single Vintage.

Following years (2000, 2001 and 2002) was based on the decision to release a vintage rum every year. DUSA uses two types of melasses – normal “molasses” and Sugar Cane Honey. They use the normal molasses for light rums (fermented for about 24 hours) primarily on their coloumn stills.

The Sugar Cane Honey is used for the medium to heavy rums (fermented around 48 hours) and primarily on the batch kettle and pot stills.  Each resulting distilate is aged seperately until ready for blending ( light rums for teh shortest amount of time, though min. 2 years according to Venezuelan law).

The blend of the Vintage series consists of 90% pot still and 10% kettle – this is apparently the same every year.  They sweeten their rums using a rum liqouor they also produce at DUSA called Hacienda Saruro.”

Diplomatico Single Vintage 2001 rum review by the fat rum pirateAs to be expected from “Premium” rums such as this, the presentation is excellent.  You get a great decanter style glass bottle and a very stylish blue and grey box for storage.  The cork stopper is large and gives a very satisfying pop.  The stopper top is also very impressive and quite ornate.  No doubt some of your £80 is going towards this lavish presentation.  The box also gives us the Diplomatico marketing pzazz.  Sadly no information on what is actually in the bottle though.

Fortunately for those who haven’t tried what is in the bottle.  I will now attempt to tell you exactly what lurks beneath all this fancy presentation.

As you can probably make out from the photos the rum in glass is a pretty dark/reddish brown colour.  Slightly viscous but nowhere near as gloopy as Diplomatico Reserva Exclusiva (DRE).

To review a Diplomatico product without mentioning the g/L of added sugar (or additives) would be a bit of a sacrilege for me.  When I dipped the Hydro it revealed an ABV of 38% which gives us likely added sugar (or other additives) of around 20 g/L.  This is slightly lower than the Ambassador and a lot lower than I have seen the DRE measured at.

The nose is quite sweet but not overpoweringly so.  I’m getting brown sugar and some stoned fruits such as dark cherries.  A touch of cinnamon and surprisingly quite a lot of nice spiced oak and barrel ageing.

Diplomatico Single Vintage 2001 rum review by the fat rum pirateSipping this Single Vintage rum is quite an interesting experience.  Initially its very sweet and you think it may overpower you with wave after wave of sugar.  It doesn’t.

It leads into a spicy mid palate containing quite a lot of complexity.  Again the oak spice is there though it is slightly bitter, there are hints of raisin, all spice and an almost Christmas pudding like note, zesty orange and cinnamon.

The most redeeming factor for this rum is the oak spiciness which stays right through the rum.  This makes it feel more like authentic rum than perhaps any of the other Diplomatico’s I have tried.  This is more in keeping with their Anejo.  The finish is long and spicy and quite more-ish.

Having said all that its still a pretty sweet rum and will have as many detractors as it will fans.  The sugar has the usual rounding effect on the rum which has probably removed some of the “rough edges” but also  likely masks some of the more complex notes. Despite the sweetness it does at least still have some “rum” lurking beneath though

I personally wouldn’t be chucking £80 for this anytime soon (it’s very handy having a rum friend who likes the opposite to what you buy) but it isn’t one of the worst “Premium” rums I have tasted.  Not by a long shot.

It’s easy to drink and whilst on the sweet side not at all unpleasant apart from a slight bitterness in the middle of sipping.  Its markedly better than the Ambassador (for half the price).  However in the overall scheme of things I would still only rate this as slightly above average.  At the price I couldn’t really class it as being good.

2.5 stars

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