Dictador Amber (100 Month Aged)
Review: Dictador Amber (100 Month Aged) 84/100
a review by Chip Dykstra (AKA Arctic Wolf)
Posted March 15, 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 Amber 100 Month Aged rum is the flagship of the series. It is a continuous column still rum which was aged in ex-bourbon oak barrels. The final rum is said to be decanted by gravity to preserve its rich colour, and then bottled at 40 % alcohol by volume.
In the Bottle 3/5
I am going to be very critical her of what I see as a tragic flaw in the presentation of the Amber Rum. It is not the bottle, nor the label, both of which are quite nice and would deserve a very good score. It is the closure. When I first received the samples of the entire 100 month series, I could not wait to open the first bottle and give the rum a try. However, I was not prepared for the task of opening my rum. I turned the metallic screw cap, I was met with a little resistance, and then the cap turned … and turned … and turned. The bottle did not open, instead the screw cap had stripped and cap would not come off of the bottle. I tried the next bottle and had exactly the same experience, and then I tried the other two with exactly the same result.
Believe it or not, I had to get a screwdriver out of my cupboard drawer and pry open the metal perforations which held the screw cap to the metallic ring which sealed the bottle. I am not sure about you; but I do not believe that screwdrivers ought to be a necessary utensil needed to open a rum bottle. When I was able to get the cap off, it would no longer re-seal the bottle and I had to find a suitable cork .
This design flaw in my opinion is 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 8.5/10
The Amber 100 Month Aged Rum shows me a dark bronze colour in my glencairn which seems to be a few shades darker than what I would expect from a rum aged for 8 years in an ex-bourbon cask. Perhaps some sherry barrels were used in the aging of the rum, or perhaps we have a rather liberal use of caramel colouring.
When I gave the rum a tilt and a twirl in my glass, I saw that the spirit had imparted a light sheen of liquid on the inside, the crest of which dropped medium-sized legs which ambled quickly back to the rum below.
The breezes above the glass reveal a nice mixture of oak and butterscotch with spicy accents of cinnamon, orange peel, and tobacco. Fine oak spices build up just a little, and soon vanilla and other baking spices (allspice, cloves and nutmeg) have joined in. The rum is pleasant to nose, it is moderately complex and everything seems in balance.
In the Mouth 51/60
When I take my first sip, I am pleased to encounter a rum which is both lightly sweet and lightly dry. Caramel and toffee flavours are melded into oak with a firm spicy orange peel following. Vanilla and baking spices (cinnamon and nutmeg) keep things interesting rounding out the flavour profile are hints of dry fruit and chocolate as well as underlying grassy tobacco and bitter walnut flavours.
I am pleased that the Dictador rum is lightly complex, pleasant and very sippable. When I add an ice-cube to my glass the sweetness is dampened with more lightly bitter flavours of cocoa and walnut coming forward. I mix a few cocktails including a Rum Old Fashioned, and I am pleased by the spirit’s versatility.
In the Throat 13/15
The exit has a bit of a spicy bite which heats the palate and leaves it slightly dry. Wood and baking spices (in particular vanilla and cinnamon) linger as does a pleasant brown sugar sweetness.
The Afterburn 8.5/10
The spirit is exactly as advertised, an entry-level sipper with great mixing potential for classic cocktails (see recipe below). It will be very interesting tasting the next three spirits in the series, the Claro, the Orange, and the Cafe, all of which will be reviewed here in the coming months.
If you are interested in comparing more scores, here is a link to my other published Rum Reviews.
The Brooklynite Cocktail comes to us from the 1940s Stork Club Bar in Manhattan, New York. (It appears in the 1946 edition of the Stork Club Bar Book.)
The original recipe calls for dark Jamaican rum nixed in a daiquiri style with lime, honey, and bitters. I have substituted out the Jamaican rum for the Dictador Amber Rum and use honey syrup rather than straight honey. (Honey syrup is less sweet, and easier to mix in a cocktail shaker.)
2 oz Dicatador Amber 100 Month Aged Rum
1/2 oz Honey syrup (1:1 ratio honey and hot water)
1/2 oz Lime Juice
dash of Angostura Bitters
Twist of Lime
Add the four ingredients into a metal shaker with ice
Shake until the outside of the shaker begins to frost
Double Strain into a cocktail glass
Garnish with a twist of lime
If you are interested in more 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 and for sublime cocktails.)
95.5+ Platinum Award (Highest Recommendation)