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Dark Rums

Gold, Brown, Red or Black how do you enjoy them?

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Old 12-17-2013, 10:41 PM   #1
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Join Date: Dec 2013
Location: Nürburgring
Posts: 67
Default Ron Botucal/Diplomático Reserva Exclusiva

Although there is a thread for the Diplomático Reserva, I could not find one for the Exclusiva - so why not start one for this fine rum.

This is my first ever review - here goes...

In Germany and other European countries this rum is available under the Ron Botucal Reserva Exclusiva name, elsewhere it appears to be known as Diplomático Reserva Exclusiva. This is a blended Venezuelan rum, the oldest rum being 12 years.

I purchased a nice gift pack that came with a decent rum tumbler (for under 30 EUR), which I used for my first taste. The bottle itself is a very nice dark frosted affair, with a cork stopper. The label depicts a stern looking fellow - it is something akin to a big postage stamp. Its only a label, but next to other rums it appears a little unassuming and old fashioned.

Pulling the cork for the first time, I was greeted by a sweet honey smell and an oaky aroma. There are no strong alcohol overtones.

Into the glass and the colour is surprisingly dark - a deep mahogany.

A quick swirl and the rum coats the side of the glass evenly, fingers running slowly back to the reservoir below. Could this be so sweet as to be sickly?

A deep sniff and I get metallic coppery tones mixed in with a pleasantly smoky coconut shell and a hint of citrus.

The first nip and the flavours seem a bit muddled. I decide to rest the glass for five minutes.

Coming back to my glass, the Reserva Esclusiva has calmed down and now reveals a lot more of its true colours.

The initial sip brings on a burst of sweetness - honey and chocolate. This subsides quickly leaving a mild chocolaty sweetness that lingers on. The doubts from earlier are gone - the liquid is smooth and not cloying. The initial burst would be too much, if it were to go on any longer.

Other flavours develop as the rum rests on my tongue - a hint of vanilla and mandarin orange. Maybe it is due to the time of year, but this feels quite Christmassy - there is a faint ghost of Nutmeg, Allspice and Cinammon. I am sure St. Nick would approve if left a glass by the tree!

A pleasant oak smokiness takes over and upon swallowing I am left with a toasted pecan, the coppery undertones and the still lingering chocolate honey.

Altogether, it is a very pleasant ride. The sweetness lingers on just long enough to be ready for another sip. There is almost no burn from this spirit, it is very smooth indeed.

My next step was to add a single cube of ice. I found this did nothing of any real note - all flavours are dampened down and I don't get anything new.

However once the ice had fully melted and the rum began to warm up again, I found it to be further improved over the initial neat experience. The burst of sweetness is mellowed down, and I get more of the mandarin, chocolate and vanilla before the nutty smokiness takes over.

The empty glass is left with a strong note of charred oak and coconut husk.

My next experiment was as a mixer with 3 ice cubes and Pepsi. The sweetness of the honey and chocolate are lost in the cola. The subtle smoke and nutty pecan is all but gone. However the mandarin and vanilla come through and the cinammon makes a stronger showing. Unfortunately this makes for a fairly disappointing experience.

Being fairly new to sipping rums, and having only sampled a few others from South America, I don't feel confident enough to give this a rating or compare to others of its kind.

What I will say is that I enjoyed the Botucal Reserva Exclusiva and there will be more late winter evenings enjoying it again.

I probably won't be buying it again soon - there are so many other rums in this price category I want to try first. This isn't really my style of rum either, although I can see the appeal and appreciate the skill and time that has gone into making it.

Maybe my opinion will change as I get through this bottle or after having tried other rums of this style - only time will tell.

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Old 12-20-2013, 07:35 PM   #2
Join Date: Aug 2013
Location: San Francisco
Posts: 24

Great review! Just bought my first bottle last night. Half way through your review I poured myself a glass. It's 2:30pm. I blame you.

This may replace El Dorado 15 as my go-to rum for newbies.
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Old 12-20-2013, 11:19 PM   #3
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Join Date: Dec 2013
Location: Nürburgring
Posts: 67

Thanks for the feedback!

Did any of what I wrote ring true for you?

BTW I'm happy to take the blame for that one - I get the blame for everything anyway, what with marriage and running my own business I soon got used to it!
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Old 05-16-2014, 05:58 PM   #4
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Join Date: May 2014
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Hate to necro an old thread - but, then again, this rum deserves it.

Illogical's description the Exclusiva's flavors is spot on. A few thoughts of my own:

-The packaging is far and away the best of any rum I've purchased. Most premium rums settle for wrapping a wicker band around a boring old glass bottle, or selling the rum in a fancy cardboard or felt package that is immediately thrown away. The feel of the Exclusiva's frosted tumbler is entirely different. Frankly, it makes me feel like a pirate when I hold the thing.

-Illogical writes: "Could this be so sweet as to be sickly?" I answer: "No." It is, however, a very sweet rum - it reminds me of Kraken or Zaya Gran Reserva, although I personally find a freshly-opened bottle of Zaya to be slightly cloying. In fact, this will be replacing Zaya as the "sweet" rum on my counter-top. As an avid desert-baker and ice-cream-addict, I think the sweetness blends well with the other flavors, and I heartily appreciate it. Some might not.

-Yeah... this isn't a go-to choice for a Rum-n-Coke. You'll want a harder (and cheaper!) rum for that.

All in all, the big takeaway is this: if you're looking for a sweet premium rum, then this is for you. If you're a whiskey-drinker looking for rum on the side, maybe not.
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Old 07-01-2014, 12:03 AM   #5
ed anger
Join Date: Jun 2014
Location: nyc
Posts: 21

absolutely delicious. one of my faves along ED 15, Zaya, 1919, Blackwell.
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Old 07-05-2014, 03:01 PM   #6
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Join Date: Jun 2014
Location: England
Posts: 163

On the subject of packaging La Hechicera (from Colombia) is also exquisitely packaged.

As are (in my opinion) the Dictador rums also from Colombia. I have reviewed both on my site. Putting links to my site seems to lead to my posts being moderated so I won't for now!

La Hechicera is also IMO an excellent "new style" sipping rum up here with Zacapa 23 and Diplomatico Reserva Exclusiva.
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