Diplomático is a super-premium rum brand from Venezuela that was introduced in world markets less than 15 years ago. Made with sugarcane cultivated in the surroundings of the Venezuelan city of La Miel, in the heart of Terepaïma National Park. Today the Master Distiller for Diplomático rum is Nelson Hernandez and his mission is to ensure that each rum has a perfect balance of flavours and aromas.
About Diplomático Rum
The brand has been built slowly, with the help of family members and a small passionate team patiently developing its presence in the world’s best bars focusing on introducing people to super-premium sipping rum.
Brown‑Forman Corporation announced in January 2023 the acquisition of the Diplomático Rum brand and related assets from Distillers United Group S.L. (Spain). Now present in more than 100 countries and recognized for its quality, it has become one of the key players in the growing super-premium rum segment.
“Diplomático has been among the pioneers of a renewed category perception and of an energized cocktail culture, with a very positive impact on premium rum category growth internationally. Its quality and versatility have made it a favourite choice for bartenders worldwide and encouraged them to develop a wide range of Diplomático cocktails offering new premium tasting experiences,” says Nelson.
Hernandez on sustainability
“At Diplomático we believe in sustainability principles, which are made up of 3 pillars: streamline our process, protect the environment and care for our people. This commitment is translated into what we call, ‘Distilled consciously,’ which includes a complete waste management system, where 100% of the liquid waste is reused as organic fertilizer to grow our sugar cane and support local farmers. We are also developing local initiatives to fight against food waste. In Canada, we support Second Harvest in their efforts to combat food waste in the country,“ says Hernandez.
Diplomático also reuses 100% of its liquid waste as organic fertilizer. “This is just one of the many ways in which we make our rum processes cleaner and more efficient, for the good of the planet,” shares Hernandez.
What is rum?
Rum is a distilled alcoholic beverage made from sugarcane byproducts, such as molasses or honey, or directly from sugarcane juice, by a process of fermentation and distillation. The distillate, a clear liquid, is then usually aged in oak barrels. Most of the world’s rum production occurs in the Caribbean and Latin America. There are 3 main categories: The French style rums, written Rhum and also known as “Agricole rums,” the English style rums, written Rum and sometimes called Navy Rum and the Spanish style rums, written Ron.
Hernandez knows how rum has changed over the years. “The rise and development of the cocktail culture in the past years has had a very positive impact on the premium rum category growth internationally. Rum is an incredibly versatile ingredient and new trends show that consumers are looking for quality over quantity and particularly enjoy experimenting. Consumers are looking for products that have an interesting story to tell in terms of provenance, ingredients, craft credentials, and complete transparency in terms of good practices with the environment. They also value the attractive flavour profile, smoothness and complexity found in rums such as Diplomático,” he explains.
About Diplomático’s distillery
Environmental conditions are key in the production of high-quality sugar cane. Terepaïma National Park is blessed with a unique climate and soil rich in nutrients combined with the purity of the water from its mountains. Diplomático’s distillery is located in a pristine area of Venezuela (at the foot of the Andes Mountains, very close to Terepaima National Park), with fertile lands (sandy and clay soils), abundant pure water and favourable weather (warm days, cool nights and high humidity). All these elements help sugar cane grow, concentrating the sugars in the cane and favour the aging process.
Hernandez and his background
Hernandez studied mechanical engineering and soon started to work at Lagoven, one of the most important oil companies in the country at the time. After a short time later he decided to change his professional path and moved to Licorerías Unidas (LUSA), today Destilerías Unidas (DUSA), which, at that time, was part of the international group of spirits Seagrams. His first job at LUSA was as Maintenance and Project Manager, from 1986 to 1990, a period in which he focused mainly on improving processes to expand the production capacity of the distillery. “Since the very beginning, I fell in love with this industry.”
Hernandez on his blending philosophy
Hernandez says that any rum master must have a very good memory of smells and flavours. “I have learned much about the rum-making process, noting that distillation is a science, and blending is an art—the combination of both is what creates an excellent rum. Once the rums have been aged, the elaboration process ends with the blending to create unique expressions. The Maestros Roneros are experts in the art of blending, supervising production and masterfully selecting and blending the rums to find the best combination of flavours and aromas.”
He expresses that the global shift to cocktails is an exciting one and one that Diplomático is well positioned to lead. The category has seen the emergence of many smaller players which have showcased the diversity and quality of rum which had been associated with large volume brands. This has been supported by consumers’ increased interest in a category filled with expert know-how, authentic heritage, and unique provenances.
You can find Diplomático Rum at an LCBO near you.