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A company that truly reflects the global village: Dictador is a Polish operation blending Colombian rum and selling it worldwide in Japanese bottles. Known for their striking bottle design and use of the solera system, Dictador have exploded on the scene in recent years, winning fans and plaudits.
Dictador’s producers are based in the beautiful location of Cartagena, a UNESCO World Heritage site. The rum producers of the region have been creating beautiful spirit for hundreds of years. The area is bordered by the Caribbean Sea and the Bay of Cartagena. Sugar cane grows along the fertile banks of the Cauca river which courses through the region. The weather brings plentiful rain, sunshine and warmth – the necessities for perfect sugar cane growth. Indeed, Colombia is one of the world’s top three sugar producers, and produces cane in both a great quality and quantity. Yet, as the government maintains a monopoly over hard liquors in the country, Dictador is largely unknown within its own nation, and is a 100% exported product.
Dictador’s source distillery, Destilería Colombia distils its rum from fermented freshly pressed sugar cane juice extracted from Colombian sugar cane. The distillery uses a rare copper alembic, in addition to a continuous steel column. The majority of the distillery’s rum is matured in Maker’s Mark Bourbon barrels, but Dictador also use ex-Sherry and ex-Port casks. Their 12 and 20-year-old are aged in a solera system, meaning that every time a bottle is drawn from the oldest cask, the same amount from the next oldest cask is added, and some on and so forth across the warehouse. The 12 and 20-year-old are blended from rums between 8 and 14 years, and 14 and 24 years respectively. The rum is then diluted with demineralised water drop by drop over 28 days.
Dictador went into the industry looking to shake things up, to step away from the reputation of pirates, buccaneers and the old Spanish Main. In this endeavour they have been successful, presenting a delicious rum, rich in flavour and style, presenting beautifully and succeeding in award shows across the world.
Severo Arango y Ferro arrives in Colombia as a representative of the Spanish crown, with plans to improve the tax collecting in the region. He was stern and harsh, and quickly gained the name Dictador.
Yet, his nature changed when he tasted rum for the first time. He quickly fell in love with the spirit and became an advocate and exporter of Colombian rum, which was used as a currency at the time.
About 180 years after Ferro, the Dictador, first arrived, his descendent Don Julio Arango Y Parra created Destilería Colombiana, the distillery that now produces Dictador rum.
At the time, the distillery run by Parra’s relative, in the third-generation to operated the distillery. It was producing Baluarte, a rum sold mostly in restaurants and hotels, which also gave out free samples at popular tourist sights to drum up business. This proved to be a fateful marketing decision, as it was here that two tourists, a Pole and a Swiss, tasted the rum, deeming it to be fantastic.
These two tourists would be key investors as the distillery expanded its scope and business overseas. Between they decided on the brand name Dictador, and to change to virgin cane honey as the main material, not molasses. Dictador struck gold at a rum fair in London, securing 12 international buyers to represent their rum, and instantly expanding their business to over 50 companies.
A string of awards followed the subsequent years, and Dictador became a recognised brand on the shelves of spirits shops and bars alike. The meteoric rise of this company has been quite something to witness, and at FineDrams we are excited to see what they have to offer next.