Monthly Archives: February 2017

Aguardente de Cana – Madeira



The Rum: Aguardente de Cana
Producer: Soc. dos Engenhos da Calheta Ltda
Region: Madeira
Distilled: july 2016 – pot still
Bottled: july 2016
ABV: 50%

Although very famous for its exquisite wines, the Portuguese isle of Madeira also produces some excellent rum in the agricole style. It was here in Madeira that the first stills were shipped to Brazil (early 16th century) to make the first cachaça.

madeira2The Sociedade dos Engenhos da Calheta was founded at the end of the 19th century during the second sugar wave, and is a typical example of an early industrial distillery. Besides being an active distillery it also hosts a museum with ancient machinery. Do take a look at their Facebook page to get an impression :

Nose: Sugar cane juice and new make (duh…it IS new make of course) but smooth and round, softer than most cachaças and agricoles, but a tad more vegetal and grassy. The nose is very rich without ever giving the impression of high alcohol strength. I also got some hints of wet wood, pink grapefruit, broken black pepper and even some vanilla. The grassy notes get softer after a good 10 minutes, making room for a slightly sour tone.

Taste: Spicy and powerful, again rather grassy but with a pleasant sweet touch. Also some white flowers, green bananas and I even get notes of old port wine. very strange indeed! The higher alcohol volume is more present now, but the 50 abv never gets over agressive. The backlabel of the (alas…plastic!) bottle states it’s an ideal mixer for cocktails. Well, I do believe it is. It’s punchy and rich in taste, but still as a sipper this most certainly goes down very well too! That is: if you don’t mind that spicy, peppery alcohol.

Finish: A very long finish, again rather sweet with a very subtle touch of strawberry. At the very end the finish evoluates towards marzipan.

Our Score: ***

Excellent as a mixer, but also pleasant as a sipper. Too bad the bottle is plastic, the screwcap of rather poor quality and the label…well…plain ugly.

Neisson Blanc Canne Bio 55%

neisson_cbio55I’m very aware that I’ve been neglecting this blog for quite some time. Time, flue, holidays, kids, work… ‘les excuses sont faits pour s’en servir’.

But let’s get back to business with a rhum from Neisson. Their older rhums are truely magnificent, so let’s see if this unaged youngster can live up to the expectations.

The Rum : Neisson Blanc Rhum Canne Bio – 2016
ABV: 55%
Origin: Martinique
Distilled: 2016 – column still
Bottled: 2016

The Nose: A very vegetal nose, a bit cachaça like but more subtle. Bread dough and white flowers, followed by some fruity notes (hard green bananas. Yes, cavendish of course 😉 ) A very subtle perfume of lemon zeste and warm brioche. Adding water makes the vegetal side (the sugarcane juice) pop out even more. A pleasant and intriguing nose.

The Taste: Punchy alcohol, despite the reduction to 55 abv. Sweet start with a slightly medicinal touch, clove, agrum and again rather vegetal. Adding some water makes it softer and rounder, and less medicinal. More sweet now, with a touch of almond.

The Finish: oh dear… first impression is very bitter. Since this rhum hasn’t seen a wooden cask, the bitterness comes from the rhum itself. What the hell went wrong here?? The finish is rather long, but it’s especially that bitterness that seems to linger on forever. Adding some water takes away the bitterness, but makes the rhum rather flat and..well..dull too.

Our Score: ***. Pleasant nose, OK taste, disappointing finish.