Diplomatico doesn’t need much introduction as a brand, many of us, including yours truly, were introduced to the category via their Diplomatico Reserva Exclusiva which was often described as “smooth”, “sweet” or “easy to drink”. Some moved away from it due to its sickly sweet profile, others remained adamant fans, and so, Diplomatico managed to spark intense debates across various forums – but today we are not talking about their best seller, today I’ll have a look at their somehow overlooked Diplomatico Planas, their “white” rum of the range.
The Diplomatico range comes from Destileria Unidas S.A. (DUSA) in Venezuela, formerly known as Licorerias Unidas S.A. (LUSA). LUSA was established in 1959 from a combination of different former Venezuelan distilleries at the time with Seagram’s as the main shareholder – Seagram’s was back then one of the biggest spirits companies in the world and were using the distillery to make their rum brand, La Cacique. In 2002 the LUSA was sold to a group of Venezuelan entrepreneurs, becoming privately owned and changing its name to Destileria Unidas S.A.
The distillery is located in the plains (hence the Planas name) northeast of the Andes Mountains outside the La Miel town. It’s built over 12 hectares and is one of the largest distilleries in South America. Also, if it weren’t for Diamond Distillery’s impressive collection of stills, DUSA would’ve probably been the most versatile distillery on its side of the world – they are equipped with a range of column stills, two pot stills and a batch kettle still that was formerly used in whisky production.
They implement a one day fermentation process using molasses and the column stills to make a light distillate, while the pot stills are using sugar cane honey after a 2 day fermentation period to make a heavy rum. The batch kettle also uses cane syrup and makes a “medium” marque, all used in the blends of the core Diplomatico range. I have tasted their Batch Kettle and Pot Still distillates a while ago via their Distillery Collection range, you can read about them here and here.
Lately Diplomatico has been promoting sustainability, focusing on zero waste projects such as their USA Project Leftover whose goal is taking leftover food and redirecting it to those in need rather than letting it waste. They are also working on making their rum production more sustainable and according to their website, they managed to reduce the distillery’s water consumption to half in past 2 years.
Back to the rum, Diplomatico Planas is molasses and cane syrup based, fermented from 24 to 48 hours using their own cultivated yeast strain and distilled in a combination of column, pot and batch kettle stills. According to Venezuelan law their rums have to be aged at least 2 years, but Diplomatico Planas is aged up to 6 years in ex-Bourbon casks (in Venezuela) and then charcoal filtered up to 6 times to remove the colour and, well, some of the flavour. According to the nutritional information on their website, Planas contains 0.1g of sugar per 30ml which means less than 4g of sugar per litre – 10 times less than their Reserva Exclusiva. Bottled at a decent 47% ABV.
On the nose it feels sweet and easy. Coconut water, toffee, vanilla pods and freshly printed paper. Crisp green apples, triple sec and some ethanol vapors. Almonds, white chocolate, mixed herbs and candied bananas. Hints of ginger, white pepper and cloves, probably from the ageing.
On the palate it has a bit of a bite due to the ABV and ethanol taste. Raffaello candies, iron, biscuits, mild green peppers and toffee. Layers of mango and banana along with a strong cappuccino note. Cocoa butter, whipped cream and walnuts. Pretty easy going and sweet, yet there’s an alcohol bitterness to it. The finish is medium to long with dusty cardboard and coconut cream.
I like this although it seems the ABV is a bit too high for its thin body as the ethanol comes through quite a lot. It could’ve used a touch more complexity to balance out the alcohol burn, but otherwise this is a good “white”/filtered rum. You can find it for £32 on The Whisky Exchange which I think it’s a fair price if you consider it has been aged for around 6 years.
Diplomatico Planas score:
Value for money: 14/15