Diplomatico Reserva Exclusiva

Diplomatico Reserva Exclusiva Rum ReviewDiplomatico Reserva Exclusiva doesn’t it just roll of the tongue……. Well maybe the name might not but rum enthusiasts seem quite unanimous that the flavour of this rum is certainly something that your tongue will indeed savour. With such praise it was only a matter of time (or a bargain price) before I tried some.  I eventually ordered a Gift Pack version from the Whisky Exchange which included a large decorative box and two very nice Diplomatico labelled glencairn style glasses (one is in picture).  This came in at just under £50 which I felt was reasonable enough.  Good glasses aren’t cheap!

I’ll make a confession at this point.  I had actually tried Diplomatico prior to buying this package.  Admittedly the Anejo, which is their entry level rum.  So I knew that unless something mightily strange had happened between producing the Anejo and this – it was going to be half decent! It’s often difficult to review a rum when you have seen so much positivity about it, you don’t know if you’re going to get carried away with all the hype.

As you can’t see from the dark green bottle, the spirit once poured is a golden to dark brown.  The bottle itself is quite classy with the old postage stamp style bringing something slightly different to your drinks cabinet.  The bottle has a nice cork stopper and I understand that if you buy the bottle on its own you get a robust cylinder to store the rum in.  I recently found a half decent rum stockist in my vicinity and he stocks the rum for £37.99.  It’s pretty reasonably priced.

If you have read this review previously then the next paragraphs may not seem familiar.  This is the first rum I have actually re-reviewed.  Since originally reviewing the rum I have tried numerous different rums and I have read numerous articles and discussions around rum.  My knowledge has grown. Unfortunately, one particular comment on Inu a Kena http://inuakena.com/spirit-reviews/rum-review-diplomatico-reserva-exclusiva (it is the third comment at the bottom of the review by Robert Burr) made me re-visit the Reserva Exclusiva. Now (being English and we LOVE sweet rum’s) I’m not going to wade into the pure v adulterated rum debate, but for me the idea of adding a liqueur into a supposed premium sipping rum seems to be stretching the boundaries, even by rum’s standards.  I enjoyed the honesty of Diplomatico’s Anejo and its fiery rough “rummy” feel.  I originally enjoyed very much the Reserva Exclusiva but at the time I had tried very little in the way of sipping rum’s be they “Premium” or “Super Premium”.

Anyway, armed with this information I paid the Diplomatico website a visit to see how the Reserva Exclusiva  was described http://www.rondiplomatico.com/pages/rondetalle.php?menu=1.  No mention of any added sugar syrup or liqueur no Hacienda Sauro mentioned.  So this is just a 12 year old Venezuelan rum.  Now Robert Burr is no mug he knows his stuff, he runs the Miami Rum Fest amongst other things.  It’s likely that this was insider information he was given, so it seems strange it would be untrue.  Also Mr Burr isn’t one of the “pure” rum brigade so he wouldn’t just be trying to spread untruth’s.  He loves rum! All rum!

My reviews have always been conducted using my own palate (and a little Internet research).  So with this in mind I thought I would re-visit my review and see if I was still as enthusiastic about this “rum” as I was first time around. When poured in the glass the Reserva Exclusiva is a lovely dark to golden/amber colour.  It smells sweet, almost a little too sweet.  It is fruity, oranges, grapes and raisins with scents of chocolate and a sweet almost syrupy like scent like Monkeys Blood (red syrup for Ice Cream).  It’s difficult in some ways to compare this to many rums or ascertain its style.  In terms of sweetness the best match would be El Dorado 12 Year Old.  Many reviews cite Zacapa 23 as being very sweet – in my opinion this and the El Dorado 12 Year Old are noticeably sweeter – both on the nose and in the taste.

When sipped the rum is very smooth and feels quite viscous.  It reminds me both of Baileys (Irish Cream) and Drambuie (A Whisky Liquor).  It is very sweet.  The tasting notes on the site are very accurate vanilla, fudge/toffee sauce are noticeable as are notes of vanilla and a finish which is slightly bitter like cocoa which leaves a hit of oakiness on the taste buds.  The finish is pretty short.  It lacks the complexity of the El Dorado 12 Year Old or Rum Sixty Six (two other very good 12 year old rum’s).   There is a suspicious lack of burn or heat to this rum.  There is also a lack of oakiness which I would expect from a 12 year old rum.

The word which keeps coming back to me as I re-review this rum is syrup.  Admittedly it’s sweet syrup not cough syrup but even still it concerns me.  Should this really have so many awards as a “Premium Sipping Rum”? Is this a case of the Emporer’s New Clothes? Are we are all being conned into buying a rum which has been altered to such an extent it should really be labelled a liquor?  Why do so many reviewers note this is an excellent “after dinner” rum?  Has the haste to remove Zacapa from its previous position as the undisputed number one led to us “loving” the Venezuelan underdog all the more?

To be honest I feel that maybe the Reserva Exclusiva has perhaps went a touch too far.  I still have some of the Diplomatico Anejo so I’m going to try something.  I have some Ginger Liqueur.  Will adding a tiny drop of the liqueur even out the rough edges of the Anejo? The answer is undoubtedly yes.  It now exhibits the viscous nature of the Reserva Exclusiva.  Its not liqueur level but its definitely thicker than a standard rum.  It rounds off the rum’s rough edges as well – tastewise it was a Ginger liqueur so I can’t really compare that.

So what has re-visiting the Diplomatico Reserva Exclusiva told me? Well I’m suspicious that’s for sure and this suspicion will affect the scoring.  I don’t feel that gives the rum a high star rating is fair with such a strong suspicion that the rum has been doctored with a liqueur even if it is a very small amount.  Not being funny but the Anejo was more than acceptable and I do feel that they have crossed a boundary with the rum and to me it ceases to be very “rummy” at all.

The Diplomatico Reserva Exclusiva is a very enjoyable, sweet, easy going drink with a little complexity to it.  However, whether it is indeed the world’s greatest rum is another matter.  To me it is just a little bit too sweet and really not all that complex and very un-rum like in many ways.

3 stars






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One comment on “Diplomatico Reserva Exclusiva

  1. […] Diplomatico Reserva Exclusiva is regularly cited as being one of the best rums in the world. In all fairness it isn’t really but what it does offer is a soft, easy and very sugary entry into “sipping rums”. Having said that many will stay loyal to rums such as Diplomatico. […]

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