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Dictador 12 Year Solera

Review: Dictador 12 Year Aged Solera Rum   90/100
a review by Chip Dykstra (Aka Arctic Wolf)
Posted December 2020

Dictador Rums are produced in Colombia on the Caribbean coast at Cartagena de Indias City. Rather than being produced from molasses, the rum is produced from the virgin honey of sugar cane which has been distilled upon a stainless steel alembic, and aged using Dicatador’s unique take on the solera-style aging system. Although the rum is produced upon a stainless steel alembic, the inner workings of this still contain more than enough copper such that it functions in basically the same manner as a copper pot still.

Dictator’s solera aging system is a cascading process where younger rums are aged in oak casks and then blended with older rums. The aged rum are arranged in different flights with the oldest distilled rum on the lowest levels of the Solera. The younger rums are placed on the upper levels with the very youngest rums at the top. As the rum is pulled from the lowest barrels for bottling, the barrels are not fully emptied, and those barrels (about half full) are then topped up with rum from the levels just above. This marrying of old and new softens the fiery younger rum and provides the final blended rum with a refined smoothness and flavor not found in ordinary rums.

A unique feature of the Dictador Solera System is that in addition to the younger rums being married with older rums, the barrels of similarly aged rums along one level of the solera are periodically consolidated to keep the barrels as full as possible to maintain fuller contact with the wood, and to inhibit the acceleration of the evaporation within the barrels.

The Dictador 12 Year Old Rum, is a solera aged rum which is taken from the solera at the point where the age of the rum within that solera row is at least 12 years of age.  Some older rum is certainly within those barrels as well.) This rum is bottle at 40 % alcohol by volume.

In the Bottle 5/5

The Dictador style attempts to meld European marketing trends with a Japanese designed bottle presentation for their Colombian rum. The product exudes style and luxury and practically has your mouth-watering before you even open the bottle. In my opinion, it is just plain sexy!

I have actually heard complaints from some quarters that the bottle design and presentation is too sexy and tha tit seem unsuited to the humble rum spirit.  To those persons I can only remind them that this is Rum may have the same depth of character as any cognac or whisky. A sexy bottle just reinforces rum’s new image in the twenty first century.

In the Glass  9/10

Colour: Copper

Legs: Thickened legs running with moderate quickness down the sides of the glass back into the rum.

The nose is very pleasant, full of rich baking spices which include a brown sugary toffee rising from the glass as well as cinnamon, and vanilla. There is a light accent of marzipan which reminds me of toasted almonds and charred marshmallow. I also sense fresh and dry fruit and a complex oak profile.

In the Mouth  54/60

The Dicador Rum is well balanced and very complex. There is a light oak smokiness present which seems to help carry the other elements in the spirit forward. The rum is not as sweet on the palate as it was on the nose. It is however, very soft with a slightly oily mouth-feel. There is a good amount of oak tannin and citrus zest which makes for a lively mouth feel. This sensation is quickly followed by flavours of dark toffee which have turned slightly to treacle, and a dollop of vanilla oak. A yummy marzipan which reminds me of toasted almonds smothered in roasted marshmallows is nestled nicely under the oak and spice.  A touch of coffee, a hint of ripe cherry, and more charred flavours  (perhaps some toasted coconut) seem to arrive at the end with a sherry-like smokiness which also brings nuances of dry fruit and cocoa to the fore.

In the Throat  13/15

The complexity seems to taper in the exit which provides a firm but soft landing for the rum. The dry fruit flavours and oak tannins have the last say in a finish which builds towards a touch of bitterness.

The Afterburn  9/10

It has been several years since I last tasted the Dictador 12 Year Rum. This time around my scores have dropped just a little. Don’t let that dissuade you though as my overall score still reaches that coveted arena in the 90s.

If you are interested in comparing more scores, here is a link to my other published Rum Reviews.


You may (loosely) interpret the scores as follows.

0-25     A spirit with a rating this low would actually kill you.
26-49   Depending upon your fortitude you might actually survive this.
50 -59  You are safe to drink this…but you shouldn’t.
60-69   Substandard swill which you may offer to people you do not want to see again.
70-74    Now we have a fair mixing rum or whisky.  Accept this but make sure it is mixed into a cocktail.
75-79    You may begin to serve this to friends, again probably still cocktail territory.
80-84    We begin to enjoy this spirit neat or on the rocks. (I will still primarily mix cocktails)
85-89    Excellent for sipping or for mixing!
90-94    Definitely a primary sipping spirit, in fact you may want to hoard this for yourself.
95-97.5 The Cream of the Crop
98+       I haven’t met this bottle yet…but I want to.

Very loosely we may put my scores into terms that you may be familiar with on a Gold, Silver, and  Bronze medal  scale as follows:

70 – 79.5    Bronze Medal (Recommended only as a mixer)
80 – 89.5     Silver Medal (Recommended for sipping and or a high quality mixer)
90 – 95         Gold Medal (Highly recommended for sipping and for sublime cocktails.)
95.5+            Platinum Award (Highest Recommendation)


2 Responses to “Dictador 12 Year Solera”

  1. Fat Rum Pirate said

    This is a stunning rum. Complex and full of flavour.

    Definitely up there with the Pampero Aniversario for me. I’m definitely looking at the scores you are attributing to rums as I’m finding that we seem to have a similar taste in the older rums. I think perhaps like me you enjoy something a little different.

  2. Jack said

    I just tried this rum for the first time, as well as the 20 year, which was also a treat. Wow! I was thoroughly impressed, as was I with your accurate review. Whether before or after, I come to your site for advise and knowledge, and learn from your expert impressions and evaluations. I know this posting was a while ago. I simply wanted to acknowledge your hard work in appreciation. Thanks for your help.

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