Brand: Diplomatico, Distillery Collection series
Origin: La Miel, Venezuela
Age: 8 years
Diplomatico is not a brand of rum that I would typically spend money on, knowing some of their dosing practices (adulteration, typically with sweeteners post-distillation) in some of their expressions, as well as wanting to try more interesting rums. Previously, the only Diplomatico bottle I've bought was their Mantuano expression, which is characterized as a bit drier than the well-known Reserva Exclusiva. I enjoyed it in the cocktails that I made at that time (read: rum & coke), and since then I have not purchased another Diplomatico.
That is, until I stopped in a Cost Plus liquor store in Pensacola, FL, that had a few cases of this Distillery Collection No. 3 bottle on display. At the time, I confused these with the more sought-after Diplomatico Single Vintage release, but was still intrigued; after a quick check of the sticker price against Google, I decided to take it home.
My bottle, number 357 of 5000, is part of the Distillery Collection, which, according to the informational tag hung around the bottle's neck, is…
[…]a special release showcasing Diplomatico Rum's alternative distillation processes.
Given that this is release No. 3, the other editions in this series include No. 1 Single Barbet Column Rum and No. 2 Single Batch Kettle Rum. After purchasing this bottle, I found reviews for all 3 editions, with No. 1 and 2 receiving consistently poor remarks, and No. 3 being pretty well-received.
Despite some mixed critical reviews, I think the project is a really cool idea from one of the larger producers of rum, and features equally well-designed bottle and scotch-style cylinder packaging.
High clairty, deep burnt orange, high viscosity
Cherry cough syrup, ripe fruit, ethanol, oak, vanilla, muddled orange and cherry
More cherry syrup, faint vanilla, savory, bitter coffee, honey
Short finish; airy, tannic, heavy alcohol presence giving way to lingering cherry syrup notes
This is definitely an interesting rum from an interesting series. As one can see from the notes above, a presence of cherry/cherry syrup (somewhere between cough syrup and Cherry Heering, perhaps) permeates the experience.
It is the first recognizable note on the nose, followed by fruit, ethanol, some touches of vanilla, and muddled orange and cherry– as if someone made a candle out of the essence of a half-constructed Old Fashioned.
The palate continues down this path, presenting cherry syrup notes, then a whisp of vanilla, finishing with some bitter coffee (which I was excited enough to finally pinpoint what that note was, after several sessions with this dram). The finish is short and not-so-sweet: airy, tannic, and revealing the alcohol burn, ending with a cherry syrup note.
This is not a particularly exciting distillate, but definitely not a bad rum. The prevailing notes of cherry are interesting coming from a rum aged for 8 years (while there is no age statement on the bottle, I did some searching to find the aging information), while the finish is shorter than I would expect.
To revisit the comment on dosing/sweetening in Diplomatico, this Distillery Collection is not doesed with any discernable levels of sweeteners, according to the Fat Rum Pirate's hydrometer test records. This is nice to see, and makes me curious about where/when the typical dosing comes into play for their other bottlings.
One highlight I want to call out is the packaging: the bottle itself has some great information about the still, batching, the month, and year it was distilled, as well as the bottle number and total bottle count. In a world where distilleries and brands are slowly getting more transparent on their labelling, Diplomatico goes an extra step in this regard.
All-in-all, this is just an OK rum: not too much to complain about, but not much to write home about either. The 94 proofing is a nice bump up from the strength of the more available Mantuano and Reserva Exclusiva bottles, and it being a part of an interesting conceptual project are really the hightlights of this release.