Most Americans don’t generally think of Venezuela when they think of rum-producing countries. We tend to be focused on the Caribbean. And naturally so, as most of the rums enjoyed in the U.S. come from there.
But Venezuela has a long tradition of making fine rum, and Diplomático Reserva is a good example of that. The mid-range entry in the line of rums produced by Destilería Unidas – they have the Añejo and the Reserva Exclusiva on either side of it – Diplomático Reserva is distilled from molasses and aged for up to eight years in used Scotch and bourbon barrels.
It has sweet, fruity touches on the nose, somewhat reminiscent of brandy, which is common in rums produces in former Spanish colonies. The brown sugar element, though, lets you know that you’re smelling rum. It’s a very promising aroma.
The flavor is pleasant, although initially on the thin side. I expected a little more body from an eight-year-old rum, but this one skews light rather than dark. This is not necessarily a bad thing. But it does mean that this rum works better when mixed in a cocktail, rather than enjoyed neat.
Diplomático Reserva rum has a slight oaky taste from the wood, which also gives it vanilla notes. I don’t taste much of the fruitiness that I detected in the smell, but it does have a mild sweetness that balances out the oak. There are also some hints of chocolate.
Overall, the Diplomático Reserva has a nice balance to it. It finds a solid middle ground between sweet and dry, light and dark, with none of the individual flavors dominating. That allows it to mix very well in a cocktail – try a Daiquiri or Mai Tai – by adding flavor without overwhelming the other ingredients.