Reserva Exclusiva Bottle on Wood Table

Having recently reviewed the Brugal 1888 Gran Reserva Familiar, one of the top-shelf Rums by one of the most renowned Rum distilleries in the Caribbean, I couldn’t help but break out a bottle of an old favorite to reminisce.

Ron Diplomático’s Reserva Exclusiva, with its discernible frosted green bottle and distinctly sweet aroma, has for decades been making rounds in bars around the entire globe. And for good reason! If you haven’t had a chance to savor this rum, I highly recommend you get yourself a bottle, particularly if you are just recently becoming familiar with the spirit.

For many, the Reserva Exclusiva (“Exclusive Reserve”) has become a standard to measure other rums against. This is not to say that it’s the best out there – Diplomático (DUSA) themselves offers higher echelon varieties. But it’s a great starting point, particularly due to its agreeable taste and widespread availability.

Today, we will be reviewing this rum on the following points:

Feel free to jump around using the links above, or continue reading through for our complete take on this uniquely delectable spirit.

Manufacturing Process – Copper Pot Stills & Small Oak Casks

Ron Diplomatico Reserva Exclusiva

Ron Diplomático has been producing many varieties of Rum since the late 1950s. Their distillery resides in the small town of La Miel, which rests at the foothills of the Andes Mountains, and also borders a National Park from which water is obtained and used in the rummaking process.

In making the Reserva Exclusiva, sugar cane honey is used rather than sugar cane molasses to develop its complex flavor. DUSA also utilizes a propietary strain of yeast to ferment the rum. This step of the process even takes about 2 days.

Once distilled in copper pot stills, the raw spirit is ready to be aged. In the case of the Reserva Exclusiva, the aging process takes up to 12 years in Ex-Bourbon White Oak casks.

There is one final step in the production of this spirit, which is the blending. This is performed by Tito Cordero, Ron Diplomático’s Maestro Ronero.

Previously named the world’s best Master Blender (Madrid International Rum Conference, 2014), Tito and his team supervise all of the products distilled in La Miel.

They ensure that the balance, flavor, and aroma of the finished product upholds the tradition and standard of quality that has come to be expected by palates across the world.

Presentation: History & Certificate of Origin

Ron Diplomatico Label Close-up

The Reserva Exclusiva’s presentation is unmistakable. Once you’ve had the pleasure of tasting it, the frosted green bottle is sure to stick around in your memory. Its textured front label is reminiscent of a postage stamp. Furthermore, it is emblazoned with the face of a moustached individual whom we come to know as Don Juancho Meléndez.

A rum aficionado from the late 19th century, Don Juancho is reputed as having traveled the world collecting the best spirits. Although never directly involved with the modern distillery, his adventurous spirit and lifelong search for the finest ingredients is proclaimed to be the inspiration for Ron Diplomático’s spirits today.

For what its worth, the label also possesses a small logo certifiying the product as a “Ron de Venezuela”. This is accompanied by a brief description of the process and product.

Don Juancho is perhaps loosely based on a once-living individual or yet another fabricated character conceived in a conference room. Nevertheless, I found the character and the overall appearance of the bottle to be engaging.

I almost want to believe that this bottle, with its seemingly aged label and green glass hue, could have been pulled off a pirate ship moored to a Caribbean port a couple centuries ago.

It’s valuable to note that Ron Diplomático is also marketed under the name “Botucal” in some countries. The spirit is the same, as is the packaging, but the name has been changed due to registered trademark conflicts in specific regions.

I’ve also encountered this Reserva Exclusiva being sold in a cylindrical packaging within which the bottle is cradled; this presentation in particular makes for an ideal gift for the rum fanatic in your life.

Diplomático Rum, Reserva Exclusiva Flavors & Experience

Diplomatico Reserva Exclusiva In Glass with Bottle

Ron Diplomático Reserva Exclusiva‘s Rum Profile

  • Robe: Rich mahogany/amber color
  • Nose: Distinct caramel, butterscotch, and orange
  • Palate: Velvety smooth, full-bodied texture with a slight spice and prominent notes of chocolate and candied fruits
  • Best Enjoyed: Sipped neat, or as the foundation for sweet & fruity cocktails

In the glass is where the Diplomático Reserva Exclusiva really starts to shine. I have previously heard the experience be described as sensual – and I have to agree. The bouquet is luscious, with bold tones of honey and chocolate, in addition to some brighter notes of citrus, particularly orange.

Once sipped, the rich texture of the spirit coats the entire palate. This stuff is really smooth. And sweet! I detect significant notes of fudge and vanilla, followed by candied oranges. The finish is particularly long lasting, with a previously undetected bit of spice imparted by the Bourbon past.

Pairing Diplomático Rum and Final Thoughts

Over many years of experiences with this particular Diplomático rum, I have found that it serves beautifully as a digestif. I have a particularly sweet tooth, and often feel the need to end a meal with some kind of sweet, a void that this rum fills perfectly. It’s essentially dessert in a Glencairn glass.

Ron Diplomatico In Glencairn Glass

I have also enjoyed the Reserva Exclusiva with a couple of ice cubes; the notes of citrus are more evident, as is the spicy finish. What I’m coining here as the “honey factor” is dampened when the spirit is chilled, an effect that I can see as being desirable to those who may find it too sweet when presented neat.

And although this is not my preferred method of serving, by no means does it stop one from enjoying this memorable rum.

Alec Bradley Black Market Cigar With Diplomatico Rum

Charles-Philippe is also a big proponent of what the Reserva has to offer, having previously suggested it as an adequate comapanion to an Alec Bradley Black Market cigar in his review.

Yet another recommendation of CP’s, albeit a bit more unorthodox for the uninitiated, is to employ it when cleaning cleaning your tobacco pipe.

It may sound insane now, but check out his extensive Pipe Cleaning Guide and you too will understand the method behind this perceived madness.

Overall, the Ron Diplomático Reserva Exclusiva, with its full-bodied nose and palate, comes highly recommended not only by myself but by most connoisseurs you may encounter.

For neophytes, it will serve as a great foundation upon which to build a base of knowledge of premium rums. For the more experienced, it’s sure to remain a classic. And with its widespread availability, it’s almost a crime not to keep a bottle of it around.

Further Reading

Thirsty for more libations? Check these out:

Diplomático Rum Reserva Especial
Reviewed by Rafael Dominguez, on .
"An iconic offering from the Diplomático distillery in Venezuela. The Reserva Exclusiva is an opulent rum that can, and should, be enjoyed by all."
Rating: 5.0 ★★★★★

About the Author:

A watch nerd with experience in the industry, Raf's contributions to BespokeUnit's mission orbit mostly around Horology. As many of BU's readers, he also shares a passion for style and rum, niches which he's ever more open to experience.


  1. Harry Hellman February 26, 2020 at 1:22 am - Reply

    I enjoyed your review. I drink Diplomático over ice with a chocolate bar close by.

    • Charles-Philippe February 26, 2020 at 2:21 am - Reply

      Delighted to hear that you enjoyed it! Sounds like a very pleasant pairing indeed.

  2. zack November 26, 2020 at 1:29 pm - Reply

    i ejoy it with a ice cube of cocnut water. cant find anything I like better.

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