We’d like to introduce you to the delights of premium Colombian Treasure gin from the folks at Dictador (43% ABV). This deliciously smooth, sugar cane-based gin is packed with local citrus and aged in oak barrels to give it a rich citric smoothness that makes it stand out from the crowd. And it’s well worth a try.
Coffee, cocaine and now gin
Colombia is famous for many things. Delicious, rich coffee, stunning scenery, beautiful beaches and mountains (as well as drug cartels and cocaine). But one thing I didn’t know is that gin is on the up in this part of the world. So, imagine my surprise when I received a gift of a gorgeous bottle of gin from a Colombian friend of mine. And this one’s a doozy!
In a land where rum is King, here’s something a little different
Colombia is better known for producing rum-based drinks including the notorious Aguardiente (often referred to as Colombia’s national drink). Literally translated as “firewater”, this is generally drunk neat and it might not be for everyone. But its sugarcane base gives it a smoother taste and it clocks in at a slightly underpowered 29% ABV – a little low for a proper shot!
But it’s rum that’s ubiquitous in this region with high quality brands available everywhere at very good prices. So, when we discovered that Colombia is now starting to produce some good gins, we were excited to give this one a try.
Dictador: a lifestyle brand for the good things in life…
This exceptional aged gin is from the folks at Cartagena-based lifestyle brand, Dictador. This heritage company has been producing fine award winning aged spirits for more than 100 years. Their story all began long ago in the 18th century, when a Spanish official called Severo Arango y Ferro arrived in what was to become Colombia on a mission to improve tax collection rates for Spain. It wasn’t long before his strong, powerful character was identified and he became known locally as “The Dictator”.
A taste for rum, coffee and good cigars…
But the Dictator was human, like everyone else, and he soon discovered a taste for the local spirit, rum. Fast forward to 1913 and his descendants began to research his story and established the Destileria Colombiana with a mission to produce the finest rum in the Caribbean. Since then, it has made its name with fine spirits, Colombian coffee and high quality cigars and it has a number of famous brands that sit comfortable alongside their world famous rums.
And now, they’ve taken the next step with the development of Colombian Treasure gin, delicious and rum-based, bursting with local flavour and aged in oak casks for a gentle, smooth blend.
Black, bold and beautiful: a striking bottle for your top shelf
Colombian Treasure gin bottle itself is confident and striking. With its frosted black glass and bold reverse typeface, it makes an instant impression. But it’s what’s inside that counts. As you might expect in this region, the base spirit here is made from sugar cane. But this sugar cane is distilled up to five times to create the neutral spirit base which anchors this gin firmly in the Caribbean. The good folks at Dictador then make the magic happen.
Exotic flavours, aged in oak
They add an exotic mix of botanicals, berries, citrus peels and local spices and then blend it all together in an ageing process that gives this gin its unique flavour. Then, they place the whole lot into huge oak barrels which have been previously used to store their classic rums for 35 weeks, imparting a unique, subtle smokiness to the final product. But what really sets this gin apart is the citrus flavours that give it a unique and special taste.
The secret ingredient
The secret to this flavour lies in the Limon Mandarina, known locally as the “Paraguayan Lime”. This unusual fruit combines the sweet taste of the tangerine with the sharpness of lemon. It’s an unusual looking fruit. On the outside, it’s a rough green, like a normal lime. But open it up and the inside is like a tangerine. This is a fruit that is local to Colombia, but hard to find anywhere else. It’s this combination of freshness and smoothness that makes this such an easy gin to drink. In fact, it’s so good, you can enjoy it neat (or with a few ice cubes).
But what’s Colombian Treasure gin actually like?
Well the first thing you notice when you pour it is that it has a unique and distinctive colour. The liquid is a pale gold, a hue imparted by the oak aged barrels that it ages in. And then you notice the aroma. On the nose, there’s a distinctive citrus smell. You can pick up notes of sweet lemon, tangerine and even a slight whiff of burnt orange. This is a citrus forward gin that shines through brightly on the nose. But dig a bit deeper and you’ll soon spot notes of mint and some interesting herbal fragrances that add to its subtle complexity.
But it’s when you dive in that you first start to notice the smooth delicacy of this gin. Take a sip and you’ll spot orange and grapefruit in there, alongside an oily, lemon flavour, which becomes more prominent as you drink. You’ll probably also pick up on the herbal notes and a little spicy pepper, just to lift it a bit further out of the ordinary. This unusual gin is just packed full of character. And it’s not over until it’s over. On the finish, it moves in the direction of lemon again sitting comfortably alongside the gentle oak. This is a smooth gin without any bitter edges and the rum subtly informs the flavour, but never over reaches.
The Gin and Tonic test
As with all our gins, we think the true test is in a standard gin and tonic. We tried Colombian Treasure gin with a 1:2 ratio, poured over ice and topped with Fever Tree premium tonic water. We garnished it with a thinly sliced wedge of lime to highlight that refreshing sharpness. It was delicious. Just as we expected. All those citrus notes are agitated by the pouring of the tonic to bring to life all the playful flavours that lurk within. Smooth, citrus and herby, this gin is a worthy contender. And it’s really nice to see gin of this quality coming from South America.
Is Colombian Treasure gin a gin for cocktails?
Unhesitatingly, yes! That combination of sweet and citrus, mellowed by the oak barrel ageing and the unique citrus fruitiness of the “Paraguayan Lime” make it a perfect ingredient for citrus cocktails. We’ve done a little research and we think we’ve come up with something a little special to help you to turn this unusually smooth, citrus gin into a deliciously refreshing drink. So, we’ve done a little searching on your behalf and we’ve found a doozy of a cocktail that works really well with the smoky, citrus, smooth notes of Dictador’s Colombian Treasure aged gin. Plus, like all great cocktails, it’s really easy to make – and even easier to drink
Triple Citrus Gin Cocktail Recipe
- 1 oz Dictador Colombian Treasure gin (or your preference)
- 1 oz Cointreau
- 2 oz fresh, unsweetened grapefruit juice
- 1 tbsp fresh lime
- 2 oz Club soda or sparkling water
- 1-2 tbsp simple syrup (to taste)
- A shaker (or a jam jar with a lid)
- A shot glass
- Fill your shaker halfway with ice
- Add Dictador Colombian Treasure gin
- Pour in Contreau and grapefruit juice
- Add the simple syrup (to taste) and fresh lime juice
- Top up with 2 oz fresh soda water
- Shake until it’s all blended nicely
- Strain into a rounded Coupe glass (or Martini glass)
- Garnish with a grapefruit wheel
- Sit back, put your feet up and enjoy (preferably with a good cigar!)
Written by Steve (with a little help from Ruddles, the gin dog!)
Don’t forget to follow us on our facebook community page to join in the gin discussion.
- The rise of Canadian gin: 5 of the best from the Great White NorthCanadian gin is on the rise. This week, we thought we’d take a look at some of the best brands from the Great White North (with a little inspiration from our Barcelona Gin friend, Sylvia Short). Here in Barcelona, we’re blessed with a beautiful year-round climate. But, like everyone, we complain about the weather even … Continued
- Goodbye cocaine and coffee, hello Colombian Treasure gin!We’d like to introduce you to the delights of premium Colombian Treasure gin from the folks at Dictador (43% ABV). This deliciously smooth, sugar cane-based gin is packed with local citrus and aged in oak barrels to give it a rich citric smoothness that makes it stand out from the crowd. And it’s well worth … Continued
- UKIYO Japanese Blossom gin: is this my favourite gin ever?Banzai! I think I’ve just had the best gin I’ve ever tasted. I wasn’t expecting it. In fact it was a gift at a surprise birthday party. And I wasn’t expecting that either. But this gin has just blown my Christmas socks off! The thing is, there are so many gins around to try now. … Continued
- Merry Gin-mas everybody: 12 tips for a tipsy holiday!He’s been getting ready since January and his big moment is coming soon. The Jolly Old Elf (AKA Santa Claus) is already preparing to sprinkle holiday cheer around the world from his festive fleet of flying reindeer. Christmas is almost here and we’re all looking forward to welcoming Santa down the chimney as we celebrate … Continued