Several of the rums I drink regularly, seem to vary in taste, bottle to bottle, or more likely barrel to barrel. I have an good pallet and taste, the current bottle of one of my new favorites Diplomatico Family Reserve seems to have much more wine (sherry or port) taste to me. Nothing like the bottles 6 months ago. Actually not enjoyable, but I have experienced this with many rums & liquors before and think it is just barrel to barrel variances, unless the distilleries purposely change the blend. Any thoughts on this?
Good observation and you are not imagining these things. The worst offender is Dictador 20. This one had been rated near my all time favorites. Then they changed the formula. In a side by side test, I could not tell it apart from the newer version of Dictador 12. My heart sank with this finding. I now only buy Dictador 12 or any of the old bottles still found. I have two of the last bottles of their XO Perpetual that I am really hesitant to open. When these are gone, no more can be found.
As for subtle changes other than companies changing formulas, I would have to say that this is due to variations in the casks. Even though the same exact char was done for several barrels, variations in the wood could very well impart slight differences in the final flavor of the rum. It used to be that certain companies could be relied upon to have the same product year after year, but not any more.
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