Rum is the latest booze to get the premium makeover. The one-time pirate nectar now comes in fancy bottles and shares shelf-space with Grey Goose, Milagro Tequila and other high end bottles with frosted glass and uber-modern designs.
I'm no rum expert, but I've tried a number of the high end rums and haven't been that excited about them. In many cases, the oak overwhelms the sugar, giving them less of a rum character and more of a whiskey taste. And if I want whiskey, that's what I'll drink.
That all changed when I tried Diplomatico Reserva Exclusiva. Diplomatico is a Venezuelan rum made by Destilerias Unidas, a well-respected South American spirits company. The Reserva Exclusiva is the top of their line, a twelve year old rum made entirely in pot stills (as opposed to continuous stills). The other expressions are the Añejo, aged four years, and the Reserva, aged eight years.
Dimplomatico Reserva Exclusiva (Destilerias Unidas), 40% alcohol,
There is little to say except that Diplomatico is everything a rum should be. The predominant smell and flavor is sugar...thick, black molasses, maple sugar candies, oh so sweet but not cloyingly so. This is not rum pretending to be whiskey. This is rum which has reclaimed its sugar and held it up to the light. There is something beautiful about sugar and the nose of Diplomatico is similar to what you smell if you go to Hawaii and get a whiff of fresh cut sugarcane or the aroma of a newly opened bag of demera sugar.
The taste does not let you down; it is as bold and dramatic as the scent. Beautiful notes of cane sugar, dried fruit and other sweets. The alcohol weaves itself naturally into the sweetness, yo ho ho indeed.
This stuff is not yet widely available, but it seems that it is slowly becoming so. The first time I tried it was from a bottle that had been brought back from Venezuela. Now, it's available at a few specialty or on-line premium spirits shops. I got it for $32.99, quite a bargain for the quality of this rum.