Diplomatico Reserva Exclusiva review

Diplomatico Reserva ExclusivaWhat is it? Rum made from sugar cane honey (not quite molasses, but not sugar cane juice either) in Venezuela. Pot and “batch” distilled, blended from light, medium and heavy rums and then aged for up to 12 years or so in small oak barrels.

40% abv, coloured, filtered.

Sugared? Ooooohhh yes, we’re verging on a liqueur here. On-line data shows around 40 grams per litre.

Nose: Big caramel, toffee, butterscotch (you get the idea). Vanilla and dark fruits, maybe some orange skin. Tiny prickle of spice from the oak. The combination is not complex but it is certainly very hedonistic and smells wonderful.

Palate: Big caramel, toffee, butterscotch. Vanilla and dark fruits……oh wait. Nose, taste and repeat. Very viscous and mouth-coating, actually quite cloying. Yep, it’s a liqueur. Delicious though but a “rum” this is not. It’s very sticky indeed.

Finish: Actually surprisingly long, didn’t expect that. Lashings of vanilla and a bit of oaky bitterness but I get the impression that the finish is just there because my mouth is still coated with the sticky rum and I’m still getting “palate” and not an actual “finish”.

Thoughts? Waaaayy too much sugar (and various other flavourings, including vanilla no doubt). It’s simply not possible to get something this viscous and sticky from distillate and cask. Let me be clear; rum is made from sugarcane (or its derivatives such as molasses) but through distillation no sugar passes from the wash through the still and into the end spirit – it’s a clear, sugar free mix of ethanol and water (as well as certain fatty acids called congeners that provide flavour from the fermentation). It does not have any sugar in it! Any sugar in the bottle is added later by the distiller.

……putting that aside, it’s very, very tasty – but I guess that’s the point. It’s not rum, it’s rum based liqueur. A very good one, but a liqueur non the less. One for the alcopop generation me thinks. If you are getting into rum and have a sweet tooth then this is probably a good rum for you to try, it’s very tasty, easy to drink and has very little character to upset anyone. If you want a real true rum and want to taste what rum should be like then stay well clear of this.

17 responses to “Diplomatico Reserva Exclusiva review

    • Thanks for your comment. Naturally, and as I’ve stated elsewhere, these are my opinions and the best thing about opinions is that they are varied. However, stating this is The best rum ever met by human kind may be a slight overjudgement, and as a liqueur…well yes; there are 10 teaspoons of added sugar in every litre of this stuff and that doesn’t include the additional flavours they are likely to add. Tastes nice though, but I suspect most things would if I sprinkled several teaspoons of sugar on them 🙂


    • The review is spot on. Rum is produced by fermenting molasses or sugar cane juice, distilling the mash and aging the distillate in oak barrels. If you dump large quantities of sugar as is the case of Diplomatico Reserva Exclusiva, it’s no longer an honest rum, it’s a liqueur. It’s mostly adored and defended by people who would rather drink liquid candy and whose perception of what rum is good is heavily skewed by their conditioning to sweet taste.


      • Very well said, probably Jorge considers real rums like Mount Gay, Appleton and Foursquare “too strong and sharp with alcohol taste”. These “premium” sugar rums are the reason why people don’t have idea what real rum should taste like.


      • Hi Bruno.

        Indeed the European legislation states that figure, but the Oxford Dictionary says that a liqueur is a strong and sweet alcoholic beverage. Yes, it’s not “legally” defined as a liqueur under European standards, and I don’t mean the statement to be literal, I think we all know what I mean by it; it’s really far too sweet.

        Incidentally, EU labelling of rum says that it can’t be flavoured. We all know that DRE has added vanillin, so by your own definition it’s not even a rum 😉


  1. Good review. Note that this rum is not “aged for around 12 years.” It is a blend of rums some of which are aged up to 12 years. That’s quite different. Also, the added sugar levels are among the highest measured for a rum. At 44g/L (per the Swedish Government’s alcohol control boards (Systembolaget)), this stuff has ten times more added sugar than, say, Havana Club 7. It also has far more added vanillin than comparative rums.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks for your comment Randy. Indeed you are correct. At the time of the review the information available was that it was blended from rums of between 8 and 12/14 years old. However more recently and with more disclosure in the rum world it seems that it’s younger, with the maximum age of the batched rum at 12 years old – of which I don’t think there’s much in. As you say, plenty of added naughties. A tasty drink in it’s own right but I’d like to see a labelling change (certainly in the UK) from “Rum” to a “Rum based drink”.


  2. I had to buy a bottle of this to try. Its a nice looking bottle to was to go on my rum shelf alongside Flor De Cana 18, XO and various Zacapas.

    I normally drink single malt but like a Drambuie once in a while, aside from a growing appreciation of Rum. This bottle will sit nicely with the Drambuie and i will find a Ron centenario for the Rum shelf.

    This makes for sticky fingers but having said that it is a nice drink.


  3. Honestly I found your review a bit too harsh. It might be due to my limited knowledge of English, and therefore I might have lost some nuance. Sugar? Way too much, I agree. The age it’s uncorrectly stated? Ok, this is bad, even if it seems to happen often. But at first sight, and comparing to your reviews of different other rums (Flor de Cana 18 and Zacapa), it seems to me that you underevaluated its body and its great persistance which make it at least a far more decent rum (not a liqueur, not at all).
    But then how could you be so generous, for instance with Havana Club 7? I’m not obviously a connoisseur, but I found the two reviews excessively unbalanced.
    Just my two cents


    • Hi, thanks for taking time to read and comment. Of course, everyone has personal presences and my own preference and palate has changed over the years too. I’m writing how I find a particular rum at the time I review it, and judging it against my own desires and as a rum. There is nothing wrong with DRE, it tastes fantastic, but as a rum it’s very lacking. The additions far over take whatever rum quality may be there, which is a shame. In terms of Havana 7yo, it’s a great little rum. Its most certainly rum in it’s drinking and I’ve got to take in to account it’s price and therefore it’s value for the experience you get vs the money you pay.


      • Not really agree with “as a rum it’s very lacking” (and my kind is totally different) but I got the point. Can I suggest to review a Very Old Navy or Tiger Shark? And may be a Clement XO? Thank you and keep up your excellent work


      • Hi Paolo, good you should mention those; a Velier Old Navy rum arrived at my house a few weeks ago and I’m very much looking forward to it. There are several agricoles on my list of rums to get through and Clement XO is one of those also.


  4. It is perfect for in coffee! No added honey needed. Sprinkle a little cinnamon in it and enjoy!

    Yes it is a rum-based liqueur, but a very nice one at that.

    Question. Which Rum, present day made, would come closes to what people would have drunk in the 18th century? Say around 1746? I have tried various Rums but have not yet found a pure one, they seem to be all blends.


    • It’s also nice poured over (good) vanilla icecream. Oh, it’s hard to say really, we don’t know what rum was like back then. It’s likely that most were cheaply made and probably blended anyway, but modern production methods are such now, and palates in a way, that rum is a very different thing these days. It’s much the same with whisky.


      • Having tried DRE (sipping now), what others would you recommend to someone just getting into sipping rums? I have tried Havana 7, Appleton Estate, and now DRE, but am looking into growing a palette for rum.


      • Barbados rum is probably a safe bet, the flavours are fairly straight forward on the standard bottles and they offer the nutrition of sweeter notes without having any added sugar. Something like Rum Sixty Six Family Reserve or Doorly’s XO (cheaper). If you’re supermarket buying then you may not be able to get those and may be able to find a Mount Gay XO if you’re lucky. In terms of others, El Dorado 12 year old – whilst is had added sugar it doesn’t drink as sweet as DRE and has some really good flavours, it s a good rum to transition from sweeter rums to real rums with.


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