Dictador Claro (100 Month Aged Rum)
Review: Dictador Claro (100 Month Aged) 81.5/100
a review by Chip Dykstra (AKA Arctic Wolf)
Posted May 06, 2016
Dictador is 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. Interestingly, the choice of the distillery to use sugar cane honey rather than molasses is based upon a peculiarity of Colombian government policy. It seems that the country has mandated that automobiles in Colombia must use a certain percentage of biofuels in conjunction with gasoline as their fuel source. As molasses is the most readily available source of biofuel, almost all molasses produced in Columbia is earmarked for biofuel production. This means that the folks at Dictador Rum have little choice but to produce and use their own sugar cane honey for rum production.
Recently Dictador released what they call their 100 Month Series which includes four new rums all aged for 100 months. Unlike the more premium Dictador Solero Aged Rums, the 100 month series is meant to be a gateway series consisting of spirits which are meant to be embraced both as entry-level sipping rums as well as cocktail spirits.
The Dictador Claro 100 Month Aged Rum was created to be a high-end cocktail spirit. It is a continuous column still rum which was aged (for 100 months) in ex-bourbon oak barrels. At maturity the rum was charcoal filtered to remove some of the harsh flavours and to make the rum more approachable in the cocktail format for bartenders and mixed drink enthusiasts.
The final rum is then bottled at 40 % alcohol by volume.
In the Bottle 3/5
I was very critical of the bottle presentation for the Dictador Amber when I reviewed that rum about a month ago. Unfortunately, the Dictador Claro suffers the same tragic flaw as this particular bottle could not be opened at a recent tasting event. The single thread which sealed the cap had stripped and the closure just turned and turned without releasing. One of my guests finally took out his large jackknife to cut the metal perforations which would not release when the cap was turned. It was annoying to say the least, and as indicated in that previous review, knives and/or screwdrivers should not be required to open a bottle of rum.
On the positive side, I like the actual bottle and the labeling. A nice touch is the graphic of the Condor of the Andes, the National Bird of Colombia which is pictured on the long neck of the bottle. A company which shows pride in their heritage is always welcome.
However, the design flaw of the closure is in my opinion critical. I certainly would not buy a bottled spirit knowing ahead of time that I would have so much trouble opening it. This is a problem which must be fixed.
In the Glass 8.0/10
Although the Claro Rum has been filtered, it is not filtered entirely clear. In the glass the rum shows a pale hue, and when that glass was tilted and twirled I can see a lightly thickened sheen of rum the crest of which slowly gives up small droplets which drop sluggishly into the rum.
As I nosed the glass, a very gentle toffee/molasses rose into the breezes followed by a soft notes of sandalwood, ripe banana and orange peel. I allowed the glass to breathe for a few minutes, and I was rewarded with stronger oak spices coupled with brown sugar, cinnamon and vanilla spice. The overall impression I have is of a mellow mixing rum which has a very soft molasses presence and a smattering of fine oak spice.
In the Mouth 50/60
When I took my first sip, I was surprised by a lightly dry bitterness which runs through the rum. This bitterness is accompanied by a mild caramel sweetness and some fine peppery oak spices. Bits of orange peel, a sweep of vanilla and a gentle reminder of almond round out the Claro rum’s flavour. With a dash of ice I can sip the rum easily, although much of the character and flavour I would normally enjoy in a sipping rum has been filtered away. Remembering from the manufacturer’s notes that the rum is intended to be a high-end mixer, I decided to get to work making a few cocktails.
I began my cocktail exploration making a standard daiquiri and was quite disappointed. The light bitterness I tasted when I sipped the rum neat found itself with a firm expression in my daiquiri and the resulting serving was mediocre at best. I decided that perhaps the rum needed more to work with than just simple lime and so I mixed an older recipe of mine called Red Sky At Night which is basically a Cosmopolitan style cocktail which uses an amber rum instead of vodka in its construction (see recipe below). This time I was delighted as the bitterness was gone and the bar drink was very pleasing. I also mixed myself a Cuba Libre’ and again was much more pleased. The Claro Rum from Dictador does work well as a cocktail rum, although it seems to favour tall cola filled bar drinks and/or complicated cocktails with a variety of ingredients.
In the Throat 12.5/15
The Dictador Claro is a column distilled rum which has been filtered to a pale hue. As I expected when I swallowed the rum, the exit was quite crisp and short with just a touch of a lingering almond-like bitterness. Interestingly, a gentle caramel-like sweetness and some peppery oak spice appear just as the bitterness fades.
The Afterburn 8/10
The Dictador Claro 100 month Aged Rum was not quite what I was expecting. I was hoping the rum would better find that balancing point between a nice sipping rum and a spirit which would elevate my cocktails to a higher level. As a sipping rum the Claro lacked character, and although the Cuba Libre’ and the Cosmopolitan style cocktails I made were delicious, I felt that the rum needed to be more versatile to garner a higher score.
If you are interested in comparing more scores, here is a link to my other published Rum Reviews.
Red Sky at Night
2 oz Dictador Claro 100 Month Aged Rum
1 oz Triple Sec
1 oz Lime Juice
1 oz Red Cranberry Juice
1/2 oz Sugar Syrup (1:1) sub grenadine for a rich red colour
Add all ingredients into a metal shaker with ice
Shake until the outside of the shaker begins to frost
Strain into a chilled cocktail glass
Garnish with a strip of orange peel
Please remember to drink responsibly, the aim of my blog is to help you drink better spirits…not more spirits!
If you are interested in more of my original cocktail recipes, please click this link (Cocktails and Recipes) for more of my mixed drink recipes!
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
Barbados 10 Year Old Rum is a medium dark amber coloured spirit which displays bright orange flashes in the glass. A tilted glass shows a moderately oily sheen which very slowly releases a few stubborn fat legs. The initial aroma from the glass is filled with a sweet combination of butterscotch, toffee and brown sugars, some rich tobacco and woody oak spices. The melding of the oak spices into the sweet toffee and tobacco aroma is quite engaging.