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Dictador 20 Year Old Rum

Dictador Destillery
Icon Reserve 20
Years Old Rum


By Robert Plotkin

When enthusiasts talk about a romantic spirit, this is it. Dictador is an absolutely beautiful rum with a curvaceous body, a mesmerizing bouquet and a seductive array of tantalizing flavors. It possesses every attribute you could look for in a sipping rum—grace, style and enough personality to keep you enthralled all night.

Dictador Ultra Premium Reserve 12 Years Old Rum is crafted at the venerable Destileria Colombiana Via Mamonal in Cartagena de Indias, Colombia. It is made from locally grown sugar cane that is rendered to light molasses. The molasses is then fermented and distilled in both a traditional copper pot still and a stainless steel continuous still. Afterwards the rums are placed in Pedro Ximénez oak barrels and the distillery's Solera, a system for maturing spirits and fortified wines perfected by the sherry and brandy de Jerez producers of Spain.

In the Solera system, the older rums "educate" the younger ones, enhancing their taste and character. It also ensures that the blended rums will be consistent from one year to the next. Solera aging utilizes a series of oak casks arranged in 3 tiers. The barrels on the top tier contain the youngest rums, those on the middle tier contain older rums and the barrels on the bottom are filled with the oldest rums. When deemed appropriate, the master blender will remove half the contents of the barrels from the lowest tier for bottling. The barrels are then filled to capacity with rum from the middle tier. Young rums from the barrels on the highest tier are used to fill the casks on the middle tier. And so it goes year after year. After aging, the rum is rendered to 40% alcohol (80 proof) with de-mineralized water.

The Dictador Premium Reserve spends an average of 12 years in the Solera. During its stay in wood, the rum develops a deep reddish/amber hue, a satiny medium-weight body and a lavish bouquet of toffee, honey, mocha, cinnamon and caramel. Its aromatics are irresistible. The rum has a soft entry that raises little to no heat as it bathes the palate with the bakery fresh flavors of espresso coffee, spices, honey, almonds and dark chocolate. The lingering finish brings forth the additional flavors of cherries, red plums, brown sugar, cocoa and toasted oak.

Few rums warrant being savored neat more than Dictador Premium Reserve. It no doubt would perform brilliantly served up in a fresh Daiquiri, but so much of its nuance and charm would be lost if mixed.

The same thing can be said of the elder statesmen of the range, Dictador Destillery Icon Reserve. It spends an average of 20 years in the distillery’s Soleras. The extended aging imbues the rum with a deep reddish/amber hue, a velvety textured body and an alluring bouquet of cloves, citrus zest, honey, vanilla, roasted coffee, cinnamon and nutmeg with light smoky notes. Every minute it spends aerating in a glass, the greater its aromatic display. The Destillery Icon Reserve fills the mouth with the long lasting flavors of anise, cloves, honey, toffee, baking spice, dried fruit and roasted peppers. You could spend the better part of an evening alone with this complex and elegant spirit and never tire of it.

The famed Dictador portfolio also includes Dictador XO Insolent Solera System Rum. It is crafted from virgin sugar cane honey and distilled in a stainless steel alembic still. The rum is then transferred to the distillery’s Soleras for an average of 20 years. As it nears maturation, the rum is removed and re-barreled in freshly toasted barrels.

Dictador XO Insolent is an elegant and sophisticated rum, a Solera masterpiece. It has a luxurious mahogany hue, a seamless, medium-weight body and a brilliant bouquet saturated with the aromas of dark chocolate, honey, vanilla bean and roasted coffee beans. Every additional minute it spends aerating in a glass, the more intense its aromatic display. Your patients will be well rewarded. The palate is a complex affair, proffering the flavors of steamy espresso, chocolate, brown sugar, vanilla, caramel, and tropical fruit. The long, leisurely finish sports notes of anise, bananas and cloves. You could spend the better part of an evening alone with this complex and elegant spirit and never tire of it.

We all owe Dictador a measure of gratitude. Its Reserve rums serve as tangible reminders that life is good.