Better known by its ‘DUSA’ acronym, Destilerias Unidas S.A of Venezuela has gained recognition for its Diplomático branded rums, helped by the warmth and personality of the globetrotting Ballesteros family who are behind the brand. The distillery, which lies at the foot of the Andes Mountains in Venezuela, was established in 1959 and is one of the biggest providers of Rum in the country. The DUSA plant covers an impressive 12 hectares and produces some eight million 9-litre cases a year. With the arrival of Diplomático Ambassador Selection, DUSA are proud to see the launch of their first ever ultra premium bottling, a fine addition to the current Diplomatico range: Blanco, Anejo, Reserva and Reserva Exclusiva.
DUSA Presidente, Jose R. Ballesteros Melendez commented on the launch:
“We are immensely proud of Diplomatico and the international success that the brand is achieving. This success is a real team effort and owes much to the pride and passion of the whole team at DUSA. It was our desire to create a truly international brand and it is extremely satisfying seeing Diplomatico in the finest establishments in New York, Miami, Paris, London, Sydney and Mumbai. This success inspired us to craft and now launch Ambassador Selection our ultra premium rum that will comfortably sit alongside other great rums and spirits.”
Ambassador Selection was created by Rum Master Tito Cordero, only the 3rd Rum Master in the history of DUSA. It is crafted from 100% heavy pot still rums and aged for a minimum of 12 years, the rum is aged in ex-bourbon casks before finishing for an additional 2 years in Pedro Ximenez sherry casks. Not only does it contain no sweeteners, caramel or other additives, its high strength (47% ABV) also means it does not require chill-filtration. This ensures that fatty acids which contribute to the mouth feel and flavour are not removed during the filtration process, giving an exceptionally smooth finish. October 2011 Tito commented:
“The creation of Ambassador Selection has taken many years but we are very pleased with the new addition to our family. Our current Reserva Exclusiva is a very well loved, smooth and complex blend and we always wanted to build on this. Through the selection of barrels containing only the finest, most complex of our rums and ageing these for a further period in Pedro Ximenez sherry casks, we have not only been able to create an extremely smooth rum but also one with immense character and body. I have been working with this rum for years and even now it still brings a smile to my face”
Diplomático Ambassador Selection is officially released worldwide on the 13th October 2011. It will retail for around £200 per bottle and is available in The UK from Selfridges and The Whisky Exchange www.thewhiskyexchange.com
It’s about time a fine new – and pure – rum has appeared.
At The Rum Project it’s been our sad experience to find that many bottles labeled “rum” are not pure, but are colored and adulterated with all manner of additives including sugar, glycerol, artificial and “natural” flavorings, even sherry. When this is legal or not is debatable (we think not), but no one can dispute rums like Pyrat XO, Zaya or Diplomatico Reserva are quite altered in this fashion. Some are so syrupy sweet that they’d be better labeled “rum liqueurs”.
Still there are many rum drinkers who could care less, as long as “it tastes good”. The result: rum remains a rogue spirit, especially when compared to fine single malts which contain no coloring or additives of any kind, and often are bottled at higher or barrel proof (say 45 – 60% abv) and often are not even chill filtered.
But that is finally changing.
Two rums in particular have gone public: Diplomatico Ambassador Selection Rum (at $312) and Panamonte XXV Reserva Preciosa at about $400 per copy. Both justify their high price by exclaiming their purity! The Diplomatico Ambassador is alleged to be 100% heavy pot still rum first aged in oak barrels for 12 years, then finished in Pedro Ximenez Sherry barrels for another two, then bottled at the cask strength of 94 proof. The distiller claims “…no sweetener, caramel or other additives” are used, and that the rum is not chill filtered.
That’s pretty impressive. And the $4000 Panamonte claims “…a blend of rare Panamanian aged rums…from molasses are matured for twenty five years in premium American white oak barrels once used for bourbon. There are no additives, colorings or other barrels used in this slow aging process…”.
Why is this important?
Two very expensive rums are promoting their purity, free of colorings, sweeteners, caramel or additives of any kind! This really puts the screws to the many distillers who have scrupulously avoided making such statements for the simple reason that their labeled “rum” does contain such adulterants, flavorings and additives. The Rum Project has long promoted the need for purity and honest in labeling and reviewing for some years now, a position that has not found much favor at the quasi-commercial sites.
Thus it is simply delicious that Diplomatico and Pantamonte have joined others, not least Richard Seale in promoting purity. That pot stilling, barrel proof and non-chillfiltering are also being promoted is just more icing on this new rum cake. What will be most interesting is to see the usual suspects and rum promoters pushing these pure rums on one hand, and the altered quasi-rums on the other…