Saturday, 7 February 2015

Review 28 - Dictador 20 year old Solera

Photo copyright © H.Kristoffersen
A gentle liquorice bomb, straight out of Colombia.

Bring out the heavy marketing machine!

The Dictador 20 year old Solera is a part of the rum lineup from Columbian company Dictador.
Visiting their webpage will bombard you with heavy advertising and marketing. Beautiful people doing sensual things. Vivid colour schemes. Matte black products. And all sorts of social networking tools.

The hyper modern expression makes it hard to conceive that we are dealing with a company which has been around for 100 years. But that is none the less the case.

The basis for this piece of rum is virgin sugar cane honey, which seems to be quite popular among the heavy advertising rum companies, as this is also the case with Ron Zacapa.

(Virgin) Sugar cane honey seems like a very luxurious ingredient, but it is actually just a form of sugar cane juice, which has been reduced down to a thicker, less watery substance.
However it does sound quite nice.
Marketing shenanigans aside let us see what this sexy little beast can do.

The package presented includes a black card board box, which unfortunately didn’t survive the trip home from the store. So no points for box quality here. The destruction of the box also has the unfortunate side effect, that I can’t remember if the box held any useful information.

What a shame…

The box it self is a really sexy thing.

It is covered in some sort of matte black silicone or rubbery residue, which really makes it stand out among more regular bottles. Nice.

It has the Dictador and ”D” trademarks embossed in the sinister blackness.

There is no label per say. More like a print directly on top of the blacktop. On the front we are treated with a blue rectangle (blue is the colour of the 20 year old. The younger 12 year old is red) which only tells ud, that it is a 20 year old solera rum.

Other information on the front is printed with white letters. These tells us more about the origin of the rum, as well as the 40% ABV and the year of establishment.

The seal is made by a natural cork with a plastic stopper.

In the glass the rum sports a light copper colour.

Twirling creates slow moving droplets leaving thick lines down the inside of the glass

Comes out hard with heavy, thick, salty liquorice and butterscotch.
After the initial spanking, more subtle underlying notes of oak spice, smoke and vanilla comes out.

A lighter profiled acquaintance, presenting it self as very soft and smooth.
A taste of thick, salty liquorice shots takes the entire stage. 

In the background you can sense some oak, vanilla and even some of the light smoke displayed by the nose.
I also detected some indistinct roasted coffee beans, but time and time again the more subtle flavours were overshadowed by the massive salty liquorice.

With each consecutive sip the rum seems to become more balanced out. The oak spices and vanilla starts to make more of a statement and tries to subdue some of the liquorice.

But at the same time it becomes increasingly sticky and feels a lot more like a liquorice liqueur than a rum.

For some strange reason all synapses in my brain try to convince me that this is an awesome rum. I find it strangely pleasing although it displays some of my least favourite thing: The insane overdose of one single flavour and the stickiness. However my rational self doesn’t seem to agree.

The finish is short. It has a nice warmth to it, and even more liquorice, which you will continue to taste long after you have forgotten that the taste came from a glass of rum.

Rating and final thoughts
Liquorice, liquorice with liquorice on top, along with sticky sweetness. Perhaps I have dumbed it down too much, but that is the feeling I was left with.

I can taste the potential very clearly, but it somehow falls short of it, and overdoses on the liquorice flavours. Furthermore I find it very strange, that my experience in no way at all correlates with the official tasting notes from the Dictador website.

I can’t say that I am a huge fan, but it is never the less a good sipper and I am sure that a lot of people out there will love this rum.

Even though the purist in me doesn’t allow me to regard this product entirely as a rum, there is no denying the effort from Dictador. They clearly set out to do something a bit differently that their competitors.

I don’t think that I am going to choose this over many other rums, but on certain days this could  actually be what I would be going for.

It is not a bad rum, but not superb in any way either.

However I can’t ignore that despite the fact, that I want to hate this rum for being too sticky and taste of almost nothing but liquorice, I actually like it.

It does have a lot of room for improvement, so even though I rationally don’t want to be so kind, the liquorice experience deserves a…

Rating: 63/100
This review contains 12 iterations of the word ”liquorice”.



  1. I've only tried the 12 wasn't that impressed. La Hechicera another Colombian rum is great though

    1. "Unimpressive" is a quite accurate description of the 20 y.o. as well. I tried to 12 once, and as I remember it the 12 was actually more exciting than the 20. But my memory may be off.

      I'll have to try to get my hands on La Hechicera someday :)