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Diplomatico Reserva Exclusiva

For as long as I can remember I've had a thing for Venezuelan rums and you could say I've never had rum from Venezuela that has disappointed me.

Since learning about Diplomatico Reserva Exclusiva I just knew I had to get my hands on it but this had not been possible until Rum Fest 2008, where I finally had the opportunity to get one from the Whisky Exchange stand.

I also wanted one of those cool Diplomatico posters they had hanging on the wall, but, unfortunately, by the time I was making my purchases it had been taken away.

Diplomatico Reserva Exlusiva Ron Antiguo is produced in Venezuela by Destilerias Unidas S.A. or DUSA for short, the same company that makes several other rums including Cacique rums and the majority of the spirits for Ron Pampero, Aniversario being one of my favourite rums from that range.

Different varieties of green sugar cane are used to produce both sugar honey and molasses, which are fermented for 30 hours before being distilled in column- and pot stills.

80% of the rums used in Diplomatico Reserva Exclusiva are heavy rums from pot stills and the remaining 20% are light rums from the column stills which are aged in small American White Oak casks for up to 12 years before bottling. It should be noted that some "sugar reserve" is added in the Reserva Exclusiva prior to blending, which might explain the sweetness of the rum. As far as I know the sugar reserve is aged in a barrel, presumably with some form of distillate?

The roots of Ron Diplomatico rum can be traced back to the late nineteenth century Venezuela where a man named Don Juancho Nieto Melendez of Hacienda Botucal, an enthusiastic traveller and connoisseur of fine beverages, started developing a rum of his own using a set of special skills acquired on his travels, during which he had carefully studied the techniques and processes of making liquor in different cultures.

Taking advantage of his acquired knowledge of spirits manufacturing he gave birth to a rum, which was named Ron Diplomático in honour of the statesmen who brought order and balance to the restless era in Venezuela during the 19th century.

Another quality of Diplomatico Reserva Exclusiva, that originally caught my attention, was its esteemed antique design of the bottle reminiscent of the ones used in apothecaries. It’s made of green frosted glass and has a label that looks like a very old stamp featuring a gentlemanly character that can only be the founder, Nieto Melendez, or perhaps the gentleman in the stamp is a diplomat or an ambassador.


Reserva Exclusiva has an extremely deep copper colour that’s almost brown or even bronze and it has an alluring sparkle of amber when you tilt the glass in the light. 


The bouquet of this rum is warm and redolent; it is heavy and rounded with intensely rich notes of toffee that are diplomatically escorted up from the glass with almonds. There is a slight tingle from the alcohol, honey notes and hints of copper as well as very delicate banana aromas, which I did not notice on the first day of evaluating. 


This rum is very sweet and round, possessing a velvety body that coats your mouth nicely. There are notes of toffee, honey and hints of wood and cognac like fruitiness. Though it is good I think that perhaps it is a bit one dimensional and the sweetness obscures some of the flavour. Regardless of that I’ve already enjoyed my way to the top of the label on this bottle. 


The finish is warm and sweet, with rich notes of coffee and caramel in the palate. It is slightly nutty and honeyed and has a subtle tinge of tobacco lurking somewhere in the back of the throat and palate. 

Final thoughts

Diplomatico Reserva Exclusiva Ron Antiguo is simple and enjoyable liqueur like rum that will most likely appeal to friends of Ron Zacapa Centenario 23 or to those who just want to enjoy an easy and comforting sipper without necessarily having their palates challenged.

Reserva Exclusiva could also work well served alongside a dessert or paired with chocolate and cigars.

Buy from The Whisky Exchange or Master of Malt.

  • Details at a Glance

 Single Blended Rum

Details at a Glance

Country: Venezuela 
Aged: Up to 12 years old
Barrel(s): Ex-Bourbon
Style: Single Blended (80% Pot and 20% Column)
Distillery: Destilerias Unidas S.A. (DUSA)
Annual Capacity: 500,000 cases of Diplomatico
ABV: 40%
Hydrometer Reading: ~44 g/l sugar added

Legacy Silver Award

Other rum reviews:
Diplomatico Rum Blanco

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