Attach new bottlings as new rum ?

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Rene Rum avatar image
Rene Rum (PREMIUM) 🇨🇭 | 547 ratings Author Posted 28 Jan '23

What is your opinion ? Should new versions of a bottling be recorded as new rums ? Like the El Dorado 12/15 ?

I have a new bottling of Dictador 20 and it doesn't seem to be the same. I would approve of recording new bottlings as this is only fair to the consumer.

Paul B avatar image
Paul B 🇺🇸 | 473 ratings Replied 29 Jan '23


I know exacly what you are talking about with Dictador 20. It was once one of my top rated rums, as a 9 or 10. With the new bottling, it tastes almost exactly like the Dictador 12. All I could do was to update my existing old review on Dictador 20 to reflect this change. I refuse to buy that one any more due to this deception.

If they could be separated in these reviews, it could be Dictador 20 (old bottle) versus Dictador 20 (new bottle). They ARE completely different rums!!!

As for ED 12/15 with lowered amounts of added sugar to satisfy new rules from the EU, I cannot even get those over here in the USA. However, I would tend to think adding the suffixes of (old bottle) versus (new bottle) would be highly recommended. Then comes the problem of distinguising reviews, but dates of reviews would help.

Stefan Persson avatar image
Stefan Persson (PREMIUM) 🇸🇪 | 526 ratings Replied 29 Jan '23

Rene & Paul,

I believe that it shall be added as a new version if the content differs. Just as for El Dorado 12, 15 & 21 that's called (Version from 2020). Another example is Depaz Grande Reserve that's called White label respectively Blue label.

Looks the new one like the added picture(?), cause if that's the case the text on the bottle differs from the old one and I can add this with an image and call it a little different based on the text on the bottle.


Rene Rum avatar image
Rene Rum (PREMIUM) 🇨🇭 | 547 ratings Author Replied 30 Jan '23

Exactly Stefan, this is the new bottle, there is also nothing more written of Solera. I will soon make a comparison, still have a sip in the old bottle.

Stefan Persson avatar image
Stefan Persson (PREMIUM) 🇸🇪 | 526 ratings Replied 31 Jan '23


I googled a little and it seems like the new one is a Solera too, even though it's not written on the bottle.

Paul's impression is that it's not the same content. If you think the same, please let me know cause then you're two that thinks so which is a strong reason to add it.

But unfortunately it's not possible to move any reviews (Andy can't either). That can only be done by the authors.

Paul B avatar image
Paul B 🇺🇸 | 473 ratings Replied 31 Jan '23

On the Dictodor 20 and 12, the old bottles were both flat black and stated Solera. The new bottles in the USA are both glossy and semi-translucent, stating actual ages.

I am damn good at testing side by side, but what they have done with their Disctador 20 is an outright deception. Their Dictador 12, on the other hand, still tastes the same. I still buy Dictodor 12, but had to bid farewell to my once beloved Dictador 20. I once had the utmost faith in this company, but no more.

vomi1011 avatar image
vomi1011 🇩🇪 | 402 ratings Replied 2 Feb '23

12, 15, 20, insolent, perpetual, they are all different from the previous versions. It's a completely different rum in new bottles. I don't like it very much, I bought the old bottles at auction because of that.

Andy avatar image
Andy (PREMIUM) 🇬🇧 | 147 ratings Replied 3 Feb '23

My opinion has been 'new' content or bottle versions should not be recorded as new rums on the site IF the version has the same name on the bottle. EG if the bottle says Dictator 20, regardless of content or bottle design then the site name should be Dictator 20. If Dictator 20 1999 is written on the bottle, to me that should be a different name. 

Over the years simply avoiding confusion for the majority of users has become a common theme. Historically people have told me they search for the name on the bottle, and if both El Dorado 12-Year and El Dorado 12 (Version from 2020) appear it feels like A) most people still rate the 12-Year, B) users might wonder if (Version from 2020) might have just been bottled in 2020, C) users might assume their bottle would have (Version from 2020) written if it was their rum.

Also, it has been almost impossible to tell for sure if and when the content differs. Layer on top that often bottle designs change but the content stays the same, and having multiple names on the site becomes even more challenging. Even if there was a definitive press release saying the content was changed, most people rating wouldn't have read that press release. Even if they did read it, I'm guessing the original content version was sold in some stores after 2020 (eg there's no hard cut-off date). So basically, to rate the correct name a user would need a definitive pre and post bottle and be be able to distinguish different contents... not an easy ask.

BUT... all that said, I'm certainly happy to try and figure out how to improve the current way. 

One quick change I just made was re-phrasing the El Dorado versions to '(2020 Onwards)', which to me comes across less as a 1-off bottling version and more of a continued change. That doesn't mean I think the versions should remain separate on the site, but maybe the new phrasing helps for clarity in the short-term.

One big challenge that remains is having the original 'El Dorado 12-Year' open for ratings - it had 10 in the past month alone. The original could be renamed to (prior to 2019), but it's the 5th most popular rum on https://rumratings.com/rum, and having people discover a rum that's not available is at minimum unhelpful and at most confusing. When renaming a rum, I've frequently had users email asking 'what's going on, that's not the rum I rated' which is a lot of work to reply to. An 'extreme' tactic could be closing the previous versions for ratings, but users could easily have old bottles and legitimately want to rate the closed version.

So, as you can see - no real easy solution. Which is why I've always defaulted to the route to least confusion. If you have any genius ideas how to balance accuracy and clarity, I'm all ears!

Stefan Persson avatar image
Stefan Persson (PREMIUM) 🇸🇪 | 526 ratings Replied 6 Feb '23


 I can really see your point about people being confused, especially when the label is very similar (even though there's some minor changes) even though the content is extremely different as for the El Dorado bottlings of the 12/15/21. The old ones is barely drinkable for people not having a sweet tooth and those who have don't like the new bottlings.

About the Dictador, which I haven't tasted, the text on the bottle differs quite much except for "12" and "20" and therefore shouldn't it be so hard for the reviewers to choose the right one if we use the text on the bottle when naming them. I've renamed the old ones using text on the front of the label (sorry about that) but waiting for a decision before doing anything about the new bottlings 

But, as always, it's your decision how we should handle this case and cases like this in the future.

Rene Rum avatar image
Rene Rum (PREMIUM) 🇨🇭 | 547 ratings Author Replied 11 Feb '23

Thanks for your opinions guys.

So, I have now compared the two "dictators" with each other. The new Dictador 20 is only a shadow of its former self. It completely lacks depth and body, is still recognisable as a Dictador but not as a "20".

New bottlings / labels / bottles are usually accompanied by new recipes, sometimes for better, sometimes for worse. I therefore think these should be recorded as new in each case, as otherwise the customer is misled, as a previous version was still delicate, but the successor can no longer offer an experience, for example: Zaya Gran Reserva 12-Year. As a positive example, I would like to mention Savanna Rhum, which gets better with each new version. I also think that the consumer can tell the different bottles apart, certainly most of them. Perhaps they should be labelled with the addition version / bottling from 19XX - 20XX. In no case should old versions be blocked, because there are always some bottles to be had.  But that is ultimately Andy's decision, he is the boss ;-)

Paul B avatar image
Paul B 🇺🇸 | 473 ratings Replied 12 Feb '23


So glad to hear that our taste buds agree when it comes to rum! You summed up the new version of Dictador 20 very well as being a "shadow of its former self"  What was once my favorite rum has now gone into the toilet. I still buy their 12 Year until they change that as well.

I will be enjoying Yolo Gold while watching the Eagles win the Super Bowl. This has to be the most predictable outcome for any Super Bowl, but I truly hope that the Chiefs upset them. Football is in my blood.


Mr. Rumantic avatar image
Mr. Rumantic 🇩🇪 | 296 ratings Replied 21 Feb '23

I agree that when the recipe changes it should be treated as a new rum. When the Label has some new text it can be used and if not something like "2023 version" could work. I also think there is a lot to do with the bottles that are already in the library. For example, I divided the Bristol Classic Caroni 1997 into the bottling years. There are the vintages 2015, 2016, 2017 and 2019. Anyone who has rated the 1997 should check whether the correct vintage is currently being used.

Andy avatar image
Andy (PREMIUM) 🇬🇧 | 147 ratings Replied 23 Feb '23

What I'm still struggling with is how to decrease confusion from the average user who goes to a bar, is handed a glass of 'Dictator 20', maybe glances at the bottle, and wants to rate on RR.

If we started splitting rums, then a user searching for 'Dictator 20' would see multiple name variations, and I'm guessing would most likely arbitrarily select the first one to display. My guess is the multiple versions would still have a mish-mosh of the 'correct' bottle/liquid ratings, and that doesn't feel helpful to any of us. Then I'd get even more emails than I already do saying "they rated the wrong rum"...

I noticed for example this user https://rumratings.com/rum/305-dictador-solera-distillery-icon-reserve-20-year?review_id=115422#alt_review_115422 was served what seems like the old bottle in late 2022, so if we had listed year version (eg 2023 version) that would be misleading in many cases (eg the old bottles could certainly be in shelves in 2023).

If we really wanted to get technically complicated, we could keep the same single profile (eg Dictator 20) and ask each user to select an image of the bottle they tasted from. While not perfect, it might increase the odds of a correct rating/bottle match.

Other suggestions other than having multiple versions with a name variation (which could be confusing to many)?

Stefan Persson avatar image
Stefan Persson (PREMIUM) 🇸🇪 | 526 ratings Replied 23 Feb '23


As I wrote before, I understand your point that some reviewers will  getting confused.

The named Dictador 20-Year is right now named after what's written on the old bottle. The new one should in consequence be named "Dictador Colombian Rum Icon Reserve 20-Year".

If you want there to be just one, we should rename the excisting one  back to just "Dictador 20-Year".

Just tell me and I fix it.

Mr. Rumantic avatar image
Mr. Rumantic 🇩🇪 | 296 ratings Replied 23 Feb '23

I think Stefan is right. I understand the fear of confusion for a small part of the users but the added value is worth a try. Also i think it is unfair for an good old bottling with good ratings to go down because a new version is just not good enough. And to go with the Dictador 20, the bottle really looks different. And as a good example the Plantation Anniverary XO has and old and new Version. Works fine there. Yes. not every review is right. I give you that Andy. But i have rated both. And i was happy i could do that, because they have different value to me. I think it can work.

Andy avatar image
Andy (PREMIUM) 🇬🇧 | 147 ratings Replied 24 Feb '23

What happens when a bottle is updated but it's unknown (or there's not a consensus) if the liquid has changed?

It seems like many of the larger companies update their bottle every say 5-10 yrs to update the brand, one example is I believe https://rumratings.com/companies/116-flor-de-cana-rum revamped almost all of their bottles in the past few years.  In this case would we mark all the previous bottles as "(old bottle)" and create new rums (called brands in the database) for all new bottles?

The result of the above approach would lead to hundreds of "old bottle" brands - which from a database perspective I'm not sure is optimal. I'm still leaning toward somehow keeping the same brand in the database even if the bottle or liquid is updated, and then trying to find a day for each rating to designate what bottle was rated.

Paul B avatar image
Paul B 🇺🇸 | 473 ratings Replied 28 Feb '23

Folks, the solution is really quite simple while keeping Andy's nightmares to a minimum. GET OFF YOU LAZY ASSES AND UPDATE YOUR EXISTING REVIEWS AS I HAVE ALREADY DONE!!!! Dictador had been my favored rum company until they did this drastic change. I can no longer trust whatever they produce! They have taken all of my rum fire out of me!!!!

Now at the end of the month of February 2023, I have met my goal of no rum purchases for this month. I now have only 4 rums to choose from instead of my usual 14 and all are less than $30 US each!!  In the last five years, I have spent more on rum than in 33 years of collecting great music on CD and DVD's. Drinking rum has been literally pissing away money, although the first taste can often be quite good.

And as you have guessed, my rum journey has come to an end. No more reviews from me and I will only respond to direct comments for my feedback in the Discussions.

vomi1011 avatar image
vomi1011 🇩🇪 | 402 ratings Replied 28 Feb '23

Versioning is used in informatics, I could imagine it here as well. 

Mr. Rumantic avatar image
Mr. Rumantic 🇩🇪 | 296 ratings Replied 4 Mar '23

i guess if everybody would add more pictures from there tastings it would be easier to see what version they are reviewing. I think there are pros and cons with both ideas. I get the point that a lot of almost the same bottles could make chaos. I just know that i have bottles in my cabinet which i have never tasted, because i had older versions. Like the Depaz VSOP. The old green bottle looks just cooler : ) Was a little sad when it wasn't there anymore.

Stefan Persson avatar image
Stefan Persson (PREMIUM) 🇸🇪 | 526 ratings Replied 5 Mar '23

It would be very good if everyone attached good pictures of the rum they are rating, because of several reasons.

After all, I'm the one who replaces the bulk of the temporary images with correct bottles and sometimes it's a lot of detective work to find the right one due to poor descriptions when new rum is added. Over to what the question is really about, I still think that changed content should mean that a new rum should be added, especially if the shape and/or the text on the bottle also changes. I'm also pretty sure that the vast majority of us want a picture of the bottle we've tested in our cabinet.
Jimmy Cliff avatar image
Jimmy Cliff (PREMIUM) 🇺🇸 | 506 ratings Replied 10 Mar '23

Rum lovers I'm glad to see others take this serious. So far over the last 25 years, Pusser's changed both blue label and orange label 15, Pyrat one of my old favorites changed everything after being bought by Patron now it might as well be triple sec, terrible. Last year or two Kirk and Sweeney switched from exact age statements to Reserva, Gran Rreserva, and Gran Reserva Superior. IMHO they diluted the brand for profit. Was never a favorite, but better than normal bar rum. When things are changed to completely different product I believe new ratings are applicable.

wayoutwest 🇬🇧 | 109 ratings Replied 11 Mar '23

Thanks guys for all your efforts on this.

I appreciate that there is no easy solusion, but glad to hear the discusion going on.

I would certainly vote for adding photos of the rum we are reviewing.