Every now and then, I gotta take a detour from the whisky routine and broaden my spiritual horizon. On June 3, I did so by attending a Botucal rum rasting at Christiansen’s bar in Hamburg. The name of the place should ring a bell for those among you, who have been aboard the MSS BarleyMania a bit longer. In the last years, I covered quite a few of their tastings here on my blog. But this year was a bit calmer. In fact, the Botucal degustation was the first event of such nature to take place at Christiansen’s in 2019. Now that the ball is rolling again, however, they will keep the pace. For the second half of the year, they have already announced tastings with Glenfiddich, Bushmills and Prineus, the German importer of renowned whisky brands like Compass Box or Elements of Islay.
Back to Botucal. If you are from abroad, the name will probably not sound familiar to you. This is due to the fact that Botucal is called Diplomatico almost everywhere else in the world. Only in Germany, Austria and Switzerland it goes by the name of Botucal to avoid confusion with Diplomat brandy, which sits on the shelves of leading grocery retail chain Aldi. We learned this from brand ambassador Peter Schütte, who came all the way from Dortmund to talk with us about rum. Calling himself a real spirits nerd, Peter was happy to share a wealth of information, anecdotes and industry insights. While doing so, he treated us to three core expressions and three limited editions by the Venezuelan brand he represents.
We started with a white rum named Planas. According to Peter, this style is so popular at the moment that every rum brand should have it in their portfolio. Full of tropical coconut aromas, Botucal’s take on the “ron blanco” is a good choice for mixed drinks and neat drinks alike. It was a fun kick-off sip. Next up was Mantuano, which ushered us into Botucal’s exquisite range of dark rums. It was very savory with a nice vanilla note. Rum number three was the most popular expression in the brand’s core range: Botucal Reserva. It was the sweetest of six bottlings we tried that evening, offering lots of toffee, raisin and milk cholocate. A lovely treat.
The Botucal Distillery Collection is a three-piece series of rums distilled in varying kinds of stills and matured for different amounts of time. Since the third part was yet to be released when the tasting took place, we only spent time with Batch One and Batch Two. Regarding their character, they both were more settled, layered and demanding than the previous trio. Batch One was made in an old batch kettle pot still from Canada and matured for 6 years. It was woody, spicy and leather-y all together. I highly enjoyed it. Batch Two derived from a so-called barbet pot still from France. Before it was bottled, it spent 4 years in oak. It was less spicy and more fruity than Batch One, but equally delightful. Up to this point, the line-up was already very good. But one last highlight was yet to come: the Botucal Single Vintage 2004 with an Oloroso finish! In this upmarket limited edition, sweetness and spiciness came together in a truly beautiful way. It was smooth, luscious, savory, sophisticated and memorable. No wonder, the attendees were more than willing to ease Peter of the last remaining bottles as soon as this highly enjoyable and super-informative tasting had ended!
Botucal Planas (Ron Blanco / Venezuela / NAS / 47% / ~25 Euro)
Botucal Mantuano (Rum/ Venezuela / NAS / 40% / ~25 Euro)
Botucal Reserva (Rum/ Venezuela / NAS / 40% / ~35 Euro)
Botucal Dist. Collection Batch I (Rum/ Venezuela / 6yo / 47% / ~55 Euro)
Botucal Dist. Collection Batch II (Rum/ Venezuela / 4yo / 47% / ~55 Euro)
Botucal Single Vintage 2004 (Rum/ Venezuela / 12yo / 43% / ~100 Euro)