The two worlds of Lalique’s and Dictador’s come together to offer an exquisite decanter of unique rum.
The world of luxury, collectible spirits adds a new name to its illustrious ranks with the unveiling of Dictador Generations En Lalique. For the first time, the incomparable French designers and craftsmen of Lalique’s acclaimed crystalware have entered a groundbreaking collaboration with the family of master blenders and distillers that create Colombia’s Dictador, pioneer of exclusive, exceptional aged rum.
BY JOHN BRUNTON
As Lalique crystal has been guided since its earliest days by the innovation, elegance and commitment to excellence of founder René Lalique, so have three generations descending from Dictador founder, Don Julio Arrango y Parra, striven to create a precious rum that is at the pinnacle of taste, rarity and collectability. And today the two worlds of Lalique’s historic ateliers, deep in the countryside of Alsace, and Dictador’s rum distillery by Colombia’s Caribbean Sea come together to offer discerning connoisseurs of fine spirits a strictly limited series of 300 uniquely designed crystal carafes, filled with a golden liquid treasure of remarkable aged rum blended from a singular selection of 1976 vintages.
The story of Dictador rum begins more than a century ago in the Parra family’s original distillery, at the edge of the Colombian rainforest, where a tropical ecosystem meets the turquoise waters and maritime breezes of the Caribbean. This region was the first part of South America to produce sugar cane, but the creators of Dictador took an innovative path spurning the common sugar molasses used to make most rum, preferring to create a secret recipe selecting only the pure virgin juice obtained from the first pressing of the cane, known as ‘sugar cane honey’. Distilled in traditional copper alembics and continuous steel columns, then patiently stored in oak barrels, this produces an exceptional quality rum perfect for ageing. Today, Dictador owns the world’s largest stock of vintage rum up to 45 years old, allowing Hernan Parra, one of the world’s acclaimed master blenders, to release a range of rare, unrivalled collector’s editions, inaugurating an entirely new luxury category for prestige rums alongside cognac, armagnac and whisky.
Collaborating for the first time with his father Dario – tasting, swirling, discerning the subtle aromas from a selection of American oak and port casks that have been slowly aging and maturing since 1976, the year he first started work in the distillery – Hernan Parra has created an unprecedented rum; Dictador Generations. Soft and smooth on the palate, it is a golden elixir with tasting notes of caramel, cocoa, roasted honey and coffee.
“AN EXCEPTIONAL AGED RUM LIKE THIS MERITS AN EXCEPTIONAL DECANTER.”
“An exceptional aged rum like this merits an exceptional decanter,” explains Hernan Parra. “I am proud that we have entered a privileged collaboration with Lalique, the world’s most respected crystal producer. The bottle they have created and the rum inside it represent not just a lifetime of work by myself, but also by generations of my family before me.” The man behind the dazzling design of Dictador Generations En Lalique, is Marc Larminaux, Lalique’s artistic and creative director. He travelled to Cartagena in Colombia to witness first-hand Dictador’s distillery on what as a very personal journey. “I was inspired by the magical and mysterious beauty of the Caribbean Sea with its glinting reflections and calming soundscapes of beaches lapped by crystalline waters,” he enthuses. “To me this is what I call the Crystallized Caribbean Spirit, a mood that I have tried to capture using Lalique’s signature clear and frosted crystal to sculpt the light as it passes through the decanter.”
International collectors, experts and investors in luxury spirits will recognise that this emotive, exquisite crystal carafe designed by Lalique for Dictador is as much a work of art as a vessel for exceptional, vintage rum. Particularly the ‘proof bottle’ of this 300-piece series, with the unique hand-engraved number 0/300, which was donated and auctioned for charity as part of a lot for the Sotheby’s 2021 wine and spirits sale. The lot achieved the stunning price of £30,000, a testament to the commitment to excellence of both Dictador and Lalique. And the money raised will be donated to the charitable Dictador Art Masters Foundation, which boasts both artistic and ecological ambitions. Initially, funding supports Dictador’s unparalleled ongoing project to transform the company’s original 1913 distillery, now abandoned and overgrown by equatorial jungle, where street artists from around the world take up residence to transform disused distilling tanks and equipment into an outdoor museum spectacularly decorated by urban art. Participating artists donate works to the foundation, and when the museum is complete, the aim is to auction all the creations to raise funds to preserve the vulnerable flora and fauna which make up the fragile biodiversity of the ecosystem surrounding the distillery. The Foundation’s motto is ‘For the love of Art and Nature’, a philosophy that epitomises both Dictador and Lalique.
Freshly polished wood with hints of leather, ripe plums and a touch of clove. Cocoa powder opens to layers of black cherry, nutmeg, cinnamon and a touch of deep mahogany, finishing with griddled pineapple and a hint of rose petals
The palate opens with a deep note of dark chocolate, a hint of flamed orange peel and clove spices. Next up is Nutmeg, followed by oak dryness, rich leather and Madagascan vanilla pods. High quality coffee and a hint of star anise add an additional layer of complexity. A wonderful balance of ripe fruit sweetness rounded off by earthy spices.
Smoky toasted cigar tobacco notes are underpinned by oak spices and a light sweetness of plump raisins, rich stewed prunes, medjool dates and fig leaf. The finish is completed by rich dark chocolate notes, and more dry, earthy oak spices.