No. 1 Batch Kettle Rum
The batch kettle still is an enormous Heath Robinson-esque device that was originally used by Seagram in Canada to make rye whisky. It was brought to Venezuela in 1959. Sugar honey is used for these rums and the alcohol comes off at 95% which is then reduced to 75% for ageing. This rum gives lie to the idea that high ABV equals low flavour.
New make: Strongly fruity with distinct taste of banana.
Finished product: Spends six years in ex-bourbon and ex-Scotch whisky casks; no solera system used at Diplomático. It’s dry, fresh and aromatic with that fruit coming through strongly, with toffee and nutty notes. Lightish body.
No.2 Barbet Rum
The Barbet column still is a French continuous still looking rather like an Armagnac still though the spirit comes off at a higher ABV, 95%. The rum is made with molasses.
New make: Very spicy, with notes of cinnamon and orange.
Finished product: After four years ageing, the cinnamon and orange is still there but joined by creamy notes, “like condensed milk”, according to Hernandez. The result is very elegant and aromatic like a Cognac.
No.3 Pot Still Rum
This rum is double-distilled in 6,500 litre pot stills originally used to make Scotch whisky but adapted for rum. It’s distilled on its lees (like Cognac), and comes off the still at 80%.
New make: Dark cherries, full body, fruity and floral.
Finished product: It’s reduced to 55% for cask ageing and spends eight years in oak. There’s a big meaty nose with maraschino cherries, it’s very full with notes of chocolate and coffee. Intense and complex, this is one that will appeal to Speyside whisky lovers.