Review: Ron Diplomatico Reserva Exclusiva

Review: Ron Diplomatico Reserva Exclusiva

diplomatica reserva exc

If you see a cocktail on a menu with Diplomatico Reserva Exclusiva in the ingredient list, buy it. Doesn’t much matter what else is in it. I guarantee you’re going to have a hell of a good drink.

Exclusiva is the top of Diplomatico’s “tradition” line — though there’s a pair of “prestige” rums above this, but those are crazy expensive. This Venezuela-born rum spends up to 12 years in oak casks. That’s not insanely old in the rum world, but the dense chocolate brown color of the rum sure makes it seem like it’s been in cask for considerably longer than that.

Exclusiva features heavy notes of coffee, licorice, and dark brown sugar — both on the nose and much more intensely in on the palate. Dark chocolate is heavy on the finish, with a touch of maple bar. The rum is extremely gentle and pleasant, no burn or bite at all — to the point of dangerousness. It’s simply far too easy to sip on glass after glass of this stuff without realizing quite how much you’re drinking.

Ultimately, there’s nothing much surprising about Exclusiva, but it hits all the right notes you want in a nicely aged rum — and the bottle looks like something Jack Sparrow would drink out of. Epic win.

80 proof.

Update 5/2017: To address some of the controversy in the comments below, I asked Diplomatico for more information about its production process. The company replied:

Diplomático Reserva Exclusiva is a well balanced blended rum, aged for up to twelve years, and designed to have a round and complex taste. To achieve this, we were inspired by the Champagne industry and their “dosage” method using a “liqueur d’expédition”. At the end of their production process, they integrate a wine liquor to define the profile of each type of champagne: Brut, Sec or Demi-Sec. At Diplomático this liquor combines aged heavy rums, distilled in copper pot stills, and Venezuelan refined sugar. After preparation, this liquor is aged for a few additional months to allow a perfect combination of the ingredients.

In Venezuela, the DOC (Controlled Designation of Origin) “Ron de Venezuela”, and the alcoholic beverages legislation allow the use of sugar in rum production. So it’s really up to each producer, depending on the taste profile that they are looking for their rums, to add sugar or not. What is unique and innovative with Diplomático is the  “dosage” method applied to some of our rums, depending on their profile, to reach the perfect balance that we are looking for.

Some of the requirements of the DOC “Ron de Venezuela” include:

  • A spirit made from sugar cane molasses exclusively produced in Venezuela

  • Aged in white oak casks for a minimum of 2 years


Ron Diplomatico Reserva Exclusiva




Christopher Null is the founder and editor in chief of Drinkhacker. A veteran writer and journalist, he also operates Null Media, a bespoke content creation company.


  1. Tony on September 17, 2015 at 7:24 am

    This is my favorite rum from Venezuela.

  2. Ivar on March 25, 2016 at 4:33 am

    This is that easy to drink because of all the additives, including a mountain of sugar. Cocktail in a bottle, not rum.

  3. conrad on May 23, 2017 at 12:59 am

    LOL. This stuff is barely rum. It’s a liqueur. I mean, it’s just ethanol (which MAY have been derived from sugar/molasses), artificial flavours and a shitload of sugar — in fact, they even used to claim as much on their site, albeit slightly less explicitly. I wouldn’t be surprised if this “rum” has never even seen the inside of a barrel.

    Of course, all this shit’s fine in the rum world where nobody seems to give a fuck if the stuff they’re drinking is authentic or actually rum. You could sell vodka as rum to rum “aficionados”… Just add some sugar and caramel colour and make sure to put it in a fancy, ugly-ass bottle labelled “rum”. Oh, and don’t forget to include a totally disingenuous rum age statement. Get these things right and as long as you add enough sugar to give an elephant diabetes the rum fanatics will be scoring 100’s across the board. They’re just as discerning and “discriminating” as this site…

  4. conrad on May 24, 2017 at 2:11 pm

    Matusalem is just a respected and premium a brand as Diplomatico and they put all kinds of stuff besides sugar in their rum. If you think that the Diplomatico Res is just some distillate, sugar and natural barrel flavours you might want to have your tastebuds examined.

    Here’s what it used to say on their site, btw: “Only high purity distilled alcohols and rich aromas and flavours are used to manufacture rums…”

    AND rich aromas and flavours? Pretty sure rum is just a distillate… Honestly, insisting they don’t add stuff to Reserva (besides an absolute shit-tonne of sugar, of course) is naive.

    • Christopher Null on May 25, 2017 at 8:41 am

      I haven’t “insisted” anything and have no firsthand knowledge of whether Diplomatico has flavoring agents included, but quoting something that was on their website 8 years ago isn’t really strong evidence of anything. Either way, I’m checking with Diplomatico on the issue for clarity.

      That said, whether the rum has a flavoring element included or not in the manufacturing doesn’t really impact my ability to enjoy it, though, like you, I would like to have full disclosure.

  5. B wez on June 2, 2017 at 10:21 pm

    Whatever they’re doing it’s a hit. I see it selling off shelves in NYC and I don’t mind a glass myself. It may require a new category though because the sugar is obvious.

Leave a Comment

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.