Review: Diplomatico Distillery Collection No3 (Pot Still)

Most of you know Diplomatico from their flagship Reserva Exclusiva, which while it’s… well… very sweet, it’s also one of the bottles that made me have a closer look at rum.

The Diplomatico brand hails from Venezuela, more exactly from DUSA (Destillerias Unidas S.A.) which is also involved in the production of a couple other brands due to a contractual agreement with Diageo, the most well known probably being Pampero. DUSA was established in 1959 – Licoreas Unidas S.A. (LUSA) at the time. DUSA has an amalgam of different stills including a Batch Kettle still that is unique in rum production and two copper pot stills each with two retorts attached.

Diplomatico rums are made from sugarcane grown locally. They use two types of molasses, one of them being grade A molasses, also called sugarcane honey used for the heavier rums in the blend – basically molasses with a higher sugar content resulted from the inefficient extraction of the sugar from the sugarcane. Also a grade C molasses (with less sugar content) that is used for the production of the lighter rums.

The Distillery Collection was released to showcase the different stills that are used in the core Diplomatico range – similar to El Dorado’s Rare Collection. The range consists of 3 releases: No1 from the Batch Kettle Still, No2 from the Barbet Column Still and No3 from the Copper Pot Still.

My No3 Pot Still Rum is made from the aforementioned sugarcane honey and distilled in June 2010 in one of their copper pot stills. Aged for 8 years in ex-Bourbon barrels in Venezuela and bottled at 47% ABV, each release from the Distillery Collection is limited at 5000 bottles and, unlike the core range, it’s free of additives. I have tasted the range before and the No3 is my favourite from the series hands down, so I’m looking forward to sit down with it for a bit.

On the nose I get banana sweets, marmalade, dry figs and toffee. Strawberry jam, sweet plums and caramel. Dusty leather, sawdust, coffee liqueur, faded acetone and a hint of cinnamon. Quite deserty with a slight funk.

On the palate is definitely heavier. Dark chocolate, black pepper, sultanas, slightly salted caramel, strawberries and mangoes. Some toasted oak, tobacco and a hint of varnish. Pineapple, vanilla, butterscotch and a pinch of chilli powder. None of the flavours overpower the other although the thicker toffee-like texture dominates upfront then the heavier fruity-spicy elements come mid palate and towards the end. The finish is medium with some mild funk and spiciness.

This is quite “mellow” for a pot still product, definitely not a Hampden hogo monster or a heavy Port Mourant, but given its Latin American style this is actually surprisingly good. No, I wouldn’t buy this on a regular basis but it’s interesting to see what goes in one of the most well-known and “criticised” brands out there – the Diplomatico RE has mostly pot still in the blend. Just like El Dorado, I believe Diplomatico has great potential behind their syrupy products, but I guess the market dictates.

If you have a chance to try their Distillery Collection do it, but if all you know from Diplomatico is their Reserva Exclusiva be prepared for a bit of a shock. It can be found for £61 on House of Malt.

Diplomatico Distillery Collection No3 (Pot Still) score:
Flavour/taste: 47/70
Value for money: 11/15
Transparency/purity: 15/15
Overall: 73/100


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