A luxurious range of rums from Colombia’s Dictador has been released in the UK, finished in casks that held wine and spirits.
The 2 Masters selection of sipping rums has been developed with leading producers of cognac, whisky, champagne, armagnac, bordeaux and sauternes – the first time in Dictador’s 105-year history it has let anyone outside have influence over its rums.
The range has been launched in the UK through Halewood Wines & Spirits which has taken over distribution for the whole Dictador rum range as well as Dictador Premium Colombian Aged Gin.
The first of the 2 Masters to be released in Europe this month are rums finished in casks chosen by cellar masters and distillers at Laballe Armagnac, Champagne Leclerc Briant, Vignobles Despagne in Bordeax and Château d’Arche Sauternes.
In August, it will release a rum finished in an ex-cognac cask from Hardy Cognac and then September will see the release of a rum finished in an ex-whisky barrel from Glenfarclas Distillery in Scotland.
Each collaboration started with a unique Dictador rum dating back at least 37 years which was sent to the respective partners for further ageing in a way they felt would enhance the spirit.
Cyril Laudet, cellar master of Laballe Armagnac, chose an armagnac barrel that had been used to age an eau-de-vie for over 30 years to finish the 41-year-old rum he received from Dictador. The rum was placed in Laballe’s three-centuries-old cellar where it acquired characteristics, or “rancio”, of aged brandy.
He said: “The 1987 armagnac that was in this barrel was very round and smooth, with exotic fruit notes. The 1976 Dictador was quite powerful, so we thought that the characteristics of the 1987 would help to soften it.
“The 1976 Dictador was already marked with notes of rancio and a bit of dryness in mouth when it arrived. After three months in our 1987 armagnac barrel, the rancio notes have been reinforced and the rum has developed aromas specific from the armagnac: prune, walnut and orange. Good evolution in mouth with dryness sensation.”
Glenfarclas Distillery’s master distiller and distillery manager, Callum Fraser, put his 45-year-old rum into a cask that had held whisky twice before. “The last whisky in the cask was 15 years old at the time of emptying,” he said. “The thought behind this was to mix the young vibrant and fruity notes from the cask with the rich and intense nose of the older rum. The balance between the two with mixed fruit and apple notes should give a wonderfully balanced final product.”
The luxurious new expression, which retails at around £400 per bottle, is part of a line-up led by Dictador 12 Year Old and 20 Year Old rums as well as 100 Months Aged Café Rum and 100 Months Aged Orange Rum. Higher-end expressions include XO Insolent, Solera XO Perpetual and the “Best of” limited editions.
Along with Destilería Colombiana’s two expressions of Dictador Premium Colombian Aged Gin, the spirits have shifted distribution in the UK from Proof Drinks to Halewood whose portfolio includes Whitley Neill Gin, Rum Sixty Six and Centenario Internacional Rum.
Cesar Triana Botero, regional manager for western Europe at Dictador, said: “Having witnessed the Whitley Neill brand enjoy its burgeoning success in the UK off-trade, driven by Halewood’s first-rate marketing and distribution expertise, it was clear that the business would provide Dictador with a fantastic platform to accelerate its growth and strengthen its off-trade presence, in particular.”
Halewood’s CEO Stewart Hainsworth added: “Dictador is an incredibly high-calibre brand with a distinctive range that appeals to many discerning drinkers. With our focus on quality, the brand’s proposition of high-grade distilling provides a great opportunity to capitalise on the growth of the super-premium rum and gin categories, and we’re looking forward to supporting the brand in expanding its reach throughout the UK.”