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Rum Review: Diplomatico Ambassador

Diplomatico Ambassador Rum Review

Diplomatico Ambassador Rum

One of the reasons rum is so great is its value. Barrels age rapidly in the Caribbean, and thus there are amazing aged rums to be had for $40. Recently however, rum producers are releasing high end bottlings to spur the premiumisation of the rum category and draw in connoisseurs of rum and other brown spirits. One such producer is Diplomatico from Venezuela. Whereas Diplomatico’s popular Reserva Exclusiva retails for about $40, the Ambassador fetches a whopping $240. But is it six times better than the Reserva Exclusiva as the price suggests? Let’s find out.

A significant portion of your money is clearly going to the packaging. The Ambassador arrives in a beautiful wooden box with dual doors and a plush golden satin interior. Removed from the case, we can see the bottle has a clear thick glass base that makes the rum look like it’s floating on air. The label is simple gold leaf set off by the Diplomatico crest. The closure is cork of course, topped with a ridiculously heavy golden colored metal cap. How heavy, you ask? Over half a pound (233 grams to be exact).

In the glass, the rum exhibits a deep red mahogany color. A swirl in the snifter produces a ring atop the glass that yields thick but liberal legs. At 47% ABV, the nose greets me before I can get too close. Just past the astringent alcohol aroma is a goodly dose of phenolics followed bright ripe fruit esters. There is a bit of the Pedro Ximenez Sherry here (it is finished in these barrels after all) along with a fair amount of caramel, wood, and candied pecans. After the pecan comes a bit of lemon zest. The bouquet is decidedly different than anything else on the shelf. Let’s have a taste.

The rum enters with a fair bit of heat and spice. Right away I taste the PX Sherry, but immediately after I’m overwhelmed with pine, cedar, and floral perfume. I pause and have some water at this point. Trying again, I recognize the same flavors: pine, cedar, and flower water. There’s also a bit of pencil shavings. An ounce or so in, I push through and detect some spices: black and red pepper, star anise, cinnamon and nutmeg. After the spice comes the sweetness from the Sherry and bit of ripe cherry followed by raisins and figs. Pervading each flavor, however, is the cedar/pine mixture. The perfume note is so strong and persistent that I begin looking for external sources in my glassware and immediate environment. But I find nothing—it’s from the rum, and it’s not good.

Considering the price, this rum represents a monumental disappointment, the likes of which I have not experienced in the rum world until now. Don’t waste your money on this vanity purchase–save it for the Reserva Exlusiva.

On to the scores:

  • Appearance 1/1
  • Aroma 1/2
  • Mouth feel .5/1
  • Taste 1.5/4
  • Aftertaste 1/2
  •  Total 5/10

Glutton for punishment? Buy Diplomatico Ambassador here


4 Comments leave one →
  1. June 25, 2014 5:58 am

    Why are we not surprised? Could it be because Diplomatico is one of the prime abusers of unlabelled additives, not least sugar? Both the Reserva and the Exclusiva have been sugared, with the Exclusiva being reported as having an amazing 41 grams of sugar per liter. And neither admits this alteration, long known to anyone with a tongue, and recently proven by the ALKO and Swedish government testing programs.

    These are not rums, they are sugared liqueurs. Josh, thank you for having the courage to call out Diplomatico for a “rum” whose real distinguishing feature is its marketing. Ralfy says it best: “I’d rather that a distiller spend money on producing a fine and unadulterated spirit, rather than on the bottle it comes in” (paraphrased).

    Personally, the marketing on this one is so deep, one needs a pair of hip boots to wade through it…

  2. Steve permalink
    July 3, 2014 9:35 am

    Hi Josh.
    I had been debating buying this rum and was waiting for the reviews before doing so. I am very much into the sipping rums and at $250.00 you need to know that you are not only paying for the bottle but a good quality rum as well. Thanks for the review.

    • Josh Miller permalink*
      July 14, 2014 10:51 pm

      Happy to be of service, Steve!


  1. New Rum Review: Diplomatico Ambassador | Inu a Kena

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