Aguardente de Cana – Madeira
The Rum: Aguardente de Cana
Producer: Soc. dos Engenhos da Calheta Ltda
Distilled: july 2016 – pot still
Bottled: july 2016
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.
The 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 : https://www.facebook.com/Sociedade-dos-Engenhos-da-Calheta-Lda-1686351704969112/
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.