Diplomatico Tasting

There’s brands within a certain category that create a consistent buzz. Brewdog does to ale what Hendrick’s does to gin and Grey Goose to vodka. But to have a portfolio that not only creates a buzz from birth, but also wins time after time is something of an achievement, something that Diplomático have down to a tee. I say this with enthusiasm and excitement as the hype of this brand was rewarded with what can be described as a sell-out tasting at The Liquorist’s HQ #22Redbank a few months back. Literally packed to the rafter with bartenders coming from all over the North West to try not only the Diplomático portfolio, but to shake hands and listen to the words of the Rum Master Tito Cordero.

So why is Diplomático regarded so highly to have bartenders willingly travel far to hear this story?

Don Juancho Nieto Meléndez had a passion to explore and source flavours for the traditional beverages that were known back in the 18th Century, particularly interested in the artisanal production methods that could produce a huge variety of interesting and unique flavours. He also took notice of a commonly forgotten variable in climate. Understanding variables such as weather, humidity and altitude that can drastically effect the rum-making process, as well as sampling many a flavour liqueur and rum to truly experience what the land offered, he used his knowledge to refine his own product.

In the 18th Century, Jamaica was at the forefront of manufacture, which Don Juancho Nieto Meléndez studied alongside the distillation secrets from the islands of Antilles. With this he came across the sugar mill – a traditional method of crushing sugar cane. This tool became a staple to Nieto Meléndez as he was able to create variations of combinations in the different cane juices available.

With this knowledge and understanding, he was able to create a rum that he thought was the perfect craft. Ron Diplomático was born.

Production of Diplomático started in 1959 and produced in La Miel, Venezuela. Chosen due to its unique climate conditions of being 173 metres above sea level, its fresh nights and high humidity which influences both the sugar cane growth and the rum aging process.

Fermented for 24 hours, and using a total of seven stills (three pot stills and four column stills) with a minimum aging process of 2 years in ex Bourbon American white oak barrels, for 45 years the rum has been perfected for consumption, and the Diplomático range is testament to this.

So how does it all fare? Well below I give to you my tasting notes on each –

Diplomático Blanco – 40%

Six year old white rum. Slightly heavy on the nose with aromas of soft fruit and coconut cream. Soft chocolate notes on the palate, slightly sharpened mid-way but mellows quickly into a long offering. Leaves a slight burn but again mellows.

Diplomático Añejo – 40%

A mix of continuous still and pot still rums aged for an average of four years. A fruity nose with a sweet aroma dominating, but a slight light wood scent. Very soft on the palate with flavours of tropical fruits creating a warmth during its long experience.

Diplomático Reserva – 40%

A higher proportion of pot still rums aged for an average of eight years. Sweet and rather thick on the nose with notes of vanilla, wood and dry fruit balancing well. Again very soft on the palate with a mouth-watering sweetness of chocolate and spice structuring well.

Diplomático Reserva Exclusiva – 40%

Blend of copper pot still rums aged for twelve years. An orange zest on the nose with bold, dark sugar aromas dominating soon after. A long offering of toffee and tropical fruits blend to create a silky texture that’s soft and easy-going. Sweet.

Diplomático Single Vintage 2000
Diplomático Single Vintage 2000

Diplomático Single Vintage 2000 – 43%

After a fantastic sugarcane harvest in the year 2000 in Venezuela, this particular batch was aged in the best single malt and bourbon casks the distillers could find for 12 years and finished in Spanish Sherry casks.
Thick vanilla notes on the nose, with sherry and sugar balancing nicely. Soft and sweet upon the palate, with the sherry oak coming through to create a slightly dry, yet long finish.

Diplomático Ambassador Selection – 47%

Finished in Pedro Ximénez barrels. Bold, deep dry fruit aromas on the nose with notes of vanilla and slightly smoked wood. Dark chocolate flavours on the palate creates an incredibly smooth texture that includes coffee and traces of port. Very long.

A fantastic range and experience, one that can be shared on its own or in a sophisticated mix –

Savoy Daisy
Savoy Daisy

Savoy Daisy

Glass –

Gimlet / Coupette

Ingredients –

15 ml Ruby Port
10 ml Diplomático Reserva Exclusiva
2 bar spoons Diplomático Reserva
3 bar spoons Muscovado sugar
1/4 Fresh lemon juice
3 dashes Grenadine

Method –

Shake well and strain through a sieve into a chilled cocktail coupette. Decorate with an orange twist.

Elegant and luxurious – both the drink and the rum. Diplomático have also won recognition – 56 overall and counting. These include such titles as Ministry of Rum’s ‘Best Premium Gold Rum 2011’ and Spirits Business Rum Masters Competition ‘Master Medal 2009’ for the Diplomático Reserva Exclusiva, Silver at the San Francisco World Spirits Competition 2007 and Gold at the 2007 International Rum Festival again in 2007 for Diplomático Reserva, San Francisco World Spirits Double Gold Medal in 2007 and 2011 for the Diplomático Añejo and Gold Medal at the 2009 Ministry of Rum and 2009 Monde Selection Bruxelles for ‘Grand Gold Quality Award’ for the latest addition of Diplomático Blanco.

Not bad for a family of rum. A family of rum that you really need to experience.

© David Marsland and Drinks Enthusiast 2015. 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.

The Liquorists Belvedere Trail Review

Ever feel like having a night of luxury? A night of sophistication? Well last week Manchester showcased themselves with a brand that oozes these qualities and more with the ever elegant Belvedere and the ever knowledgeable and glamour of The Liquorists. The usual trait of five bars. five samples and five cocktails to indulge in, with a gathering sporting a mix of bloggers and consumers set the tone for a night that despite there only being the one brand on offer, an excitement rippled through as we met in The River Bar & Restaurant in The Lowry Hotel. I knew from past experience what Belvedere has to offer, but am yet to really see what it can do when mixed with cocktails and food, so when Tom Sneesby gave us a history of Belvedere, I eagerly caught the eye of the Belvedere Polish Zephyr being handed out with a base of Belvedere Pure, pink grapefruit, almond and Fever Tree tonic water that came complimented with passionfruit jelly cubes. Heaven.

To fit so much into a night, you have to experience and savour to the best of your abilities as you’re soon whisked off to the next venue which in our case was The Liquorists own #22redbank. Here, Jody Monteith was busy creating us a bartender favourite – Bloody Mary using the aptly named Belvedere Bloody Mary. An expression I rate well on its own, it was interesting to see it used in its primary use, and also in a traditional form – vodka, Tabasco, Worcester sauce, dash of lemon juice and a pinch of salt and pepper. Complete with celery stick, it was a smooth addition to its rather spicy self when sipped on its own. The added olives and chorizo slices completed the visit to the speakeasy style venue and we were soon whisked off to a relatively new addition to the Manchester bar scene in Kosmonaut. First ventured into on the tequila trail, I was glad to be back and also trying something new to me. Belvedere Citrus made an appearance here with a fresh nose and long, smooth offering on the palate. Perfect then for Kosmonaut’s own Amir Javaid and his trail created cocktail named the Belvedere Triangle. A mix of citrus, Briotett rhubarb liqueur, egg white, clementine juice and grenadine, it served very well with a rather unusual accompaniment, a Mr Kipling lemon slice. Genius!

Belvedere Polish Zephyr and passionfruit jelly

Driven to the other side of the city, Epernay was back into the trail loop with Belvedere Grapefruit ready and waiting with a black forest gateaux with Belvedere Grapefruit infused cream. A nod to Ernist Hemingway while we were there too as we savoured the Ayala Champagne heavy Hemingway Royale which also housed grapefruit juice and maraschino. Although not the biggest fan of grapefruit, the use in Belvedere doesn’t overpower so it resulted in a rather enjoyable tipple, especially with the nice touch of a vodka based gateaux. Last on our whirlwind tour was to be Manchester’s newest pop-up in The Ski Club.
Housed in Spinningfields, its decor, as you would imagine, resembled a ski club, complete with melted cheese fondue, meat and cheese platters and Belvedere Intense. This version in their portfolio was saved till last with its instant mouth-watering effect that seemed to last for ever. Food a plenty and a gathering that all easily got on well together made for a great ending to a night that promoted luxury, glamour and excitement.

Sound good? GET ON IT.

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© David Marsland and Drinks Enthusiast 2012. 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.

The Liquorists Tequila Trail Review

Last week I took part in the latest installment of the hugely popular spirit trails hosted by the ever knowledgeable The Liquorists, with this night focusing on that sometimes forgotten category – tequila. A ‘veteran’ so to speak of these trails (I’m now on eight and counting – living up to my Drinks Enthusiast name!) With five bars to view and five tequila brands to explore, you could sense both an air of excitement and worry as the gathering learnt about the history of tequila from Tom Sneesby, whilst having the nagging thought of ‘will he be bringing out the salt and lemon’??

Starting off at The Liqourists HQ, #22Redbank , we were treated to one of the more well-known brands of the tequila world – Jose Cuervo. However instead of the standard gold and silver liquids you find in most pubs and clubs, we were to be on the good stuff, the Tradicional. Coming with a slight harshness on the nose, it softened nicely until it hit your palate. A short, sharp but fresh blast set you up nicely for the complimenting cocktail, the traditional and classic Margarita. Served up by Jody Monteith, the simple blend of triple sec, agave syrup and a double dose of Jose Cuervo Tradicional went down as quickly as the food – barbequed sweet corn, tacos and nacho pots with lashings of salsa, guacamole and cheese.

A short taxi ride to Apotheca, a bar that is no stranger to hosting a spirits trail, had Don Julio Reposado waiting for us. The first luxury tequila to hit the spirit market gave the gathering a sense of the difference that tequila can offer between Blanco, Reposado, Anejo and Extra Anejo. As you can imagine, the ‘rested’ tequila (meaning it has been aged for a minimum of two months, but less than a year in oak barrels) had a little more sweetness to it, with a spice which went well with our Mango and Rosemary Margarita complete with a rosemary salt rim.

Tabatio Anejo Blanco at Kosmonaut

El Jimador Blanco was to be the next offering in one of Manchester’s favourite bars – Socio Rehab. Comparing the El Jimador to our starter brand of Jose Cuervo, the El Jimador created a more peppery nose but a mouth-watering palate which balanced well against the Paloma cocktail created by Manchester’s finest and involving pink and white grapefruit. Hula shook the night up though with their blanco brand Casa Herradura Plata. Complete with a Tommys Margarita that uses agave nectar for a twist on the classic, the soft nose counteracted the spice start on the palate, but re-wrote the rules on longevity.

Last but not by any means least, the new addition to the Manchester bar scene was to be showcasing Tabatio Anejo as Kosmonaut came complete with a long cocktail of tequila sweetened with the ever favourite crème de cassis.

As mentioned before, I’m a veteran of these trails, but can easily say i still get rather giddy when these approach, especially when it involves brands that even I have never got round to trying. It’s also introduced me to Kosmonaut and taken me to old haunts which make you truly appreciate that these bars really know what they’re doing on a wider scale when on the topic of spirits. As for The Liquorists though – well, 5 cocktails, 5 venues, 5 spirits with food thrown in? You’ll be foolish not too. GET ON THEM

Check out the rest of the photos via my Facebook page.

© David Marsland and Drinks Enthusiast 2012. 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.