It’s a good day when you head to a tasting, knowing that you have never tried any of the expressions that will be put in front of you. It happened to me recently as Dictador launched itself in Manchester in collaboration with wholesaler Hammond’s of Knutsford. Nine to be tried, two of those gins and the rest rum, with brand manager Cesar Triana Botero on hand to explain the ins and outs. So without further a do –

It is said that in 1751, Severo Arango y Ferro arrived in Cartagena de Indias, northern Columbia looking to control and increase the commerce between American Spanish colonies and Spain. During this time he fell in love with the local spirit of rum, and decided to produce and trade within. With his supposed strength and power, he was given the name ‘Dictador’. In 1913, one of his descendants, Don Julio Arango y Parra, established the Destileria Colombiana. Now in its third generation, lets see the range and how they compare to one-another. First, the gin –

The gin is based on a unique Colombian fruit called Limon Mandarino (Tangerine-Lemon). The base spirit of the gin is made from a neutral spirit distilled up to five times from sugar cane. 12 botanicals including ginger, black pepper, angelica, rosemary and the Limon Mandarino are added during the ageing process. This happens within oak barrels previously used for the Dictador rums for a period of 35 weeks.

Columbian Aged Gin

Columbian Aged Gin, Treasure – 43%

Subtle aromas of oak on the nose, with a citrus and soft herb mix coming through. Soft oak on the palate, with orange and a slight cocoa flavour hitting before a fresh citrus a slight spice finish that leaves it warm and lingering.

Columbian Aged Gin, Ortodoxy – 43%

Created and based on the formula of Dario Parra, former president of the company, and lover of gin who originally had this for his own personal consumption.
A spicy pepper, rosemary and smooth, rich fruit aromas on the nose. Plenty of pepper on the palate, with a citrus and herbal combination on the finish which is long, soft and dry.

Newly released, the Dictador 100 range are each aged for 100 months.

Dictador Claro – 40%

Filtered to produce a clear liquid. Dry honey on the nose, with vanilla and rich white chocolate. Light vanilla on the palate, dry chocolate flavours offering a sweet finish.

Dictador 100 Series
Dictador 100 Series

Dictador Amber – 40%

Fresh vanilla with fudge and cigar notes on the nose. Light oak, with a smoky cigar flavour on the palate creating a lingering dry finish.

Dictador Orange – 40%

A slightly dry orange nose, with subtle sweetness following. Again a subtle flavour of orange on the palate, producing a light, dry finish.

Dictador Cafe – 40%

Rich coffee nose, plenty of sweetness with fresh vanilla blending with malt and biscuit aromas. Light on the palate of dry cocoa, creating a lingering and rather dry finish.

The main expressions of the Dictador rum range are more commonly found at the moment though, with the 12 and 20yr’s made from the fermentation of virgin sugar cane honey, then distilled partly in copper alembic and partly in steel continuous column, before being aged in ex oak barrels using the solera method.

Dictador 12yr – 40%

A sharp vanilla nose, with plenty of clotted fudge creating a smooth, subtle sweetness. Slight notes of fresh oak on the palate, with charcoal, vanilla and roasted coffee creating a short yet very dry finish.

Cesar Triana Botero
Cesar Triana Botero

Dictador 20yr – 40%

Light on the nose with subtle notes of honey, dry coffee and caramel. Light on the palate too, although a thick layer of oak, butterscotch and honey offers a strong, lingering finish.

Dictador XO Perpetual – 40%

Created using the fermentation of virgin sugar cane honey, but only distilled in an antique alembic copper still, before aged in ex bourbon barrels within the solera method.
Liquorice, coffee and crème brulee dominate the nose, with hints of oak and sweetness coming through. Fresh wood on the palate, offering a smooth, slightly dry and light experience, with plenty of vanilla, butter and dark chocolate. Stunning.

A lot to take in, and such a different style offered in both the gin and rum expressions. The gin is hitting a new trend of barrel-ageing the liquids, although I’m personally not a huge fan. It offers something different, and you can get the style of Dictador rum coming through, which is hugely different to any of the Caribbean palates we are accustomed to. Like its other South American rivals, It’s great that it showing individuality, and the XO Perpetual offers a fantastic premium rum to the market. Look out for it, and if you’re a rum or gin lover, seek them out for sure. If you like to experience a different style of these two categories, Dictador is your brand to head to.

© David Marsland and Drinks Enthusiast 2014. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog/sites author and owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to David Marsland and Drinks Enthusiast with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.


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