One day we got a strange text message. “We’re having a rum tasting this week. What would you recommend?” We couldn’t type fast enough. After giving him a list of our favorites he texts back, “Have you ever had Kaniché?” Honestly, we had never heard of it. A few days later he presented us a bag with Angostura 1919 (AAS, August 2016) and Kaniché XO. He said, “It’s National Rum Day this Wednesday (August 16). Celebrate!”
Kaniché XO Double Wood is produced by Maison Ferrand of Cognac, France. The company is now renowned for their exceptional Pierre Ferrand Cognac and distinctive fine spirits thanks to a young business student, Alexandre Gabriel. In 1989, he stopped by the stagnant company as part of a school project and offered his business expertise to help them expand their business. Once the project was complete, Mr. Gabriel was offered a partnership and has been with the company ever since.
Today, as CEO, Mr. Gabriel spends much of his time revitalizing artisanal spirits. Kaniché XO rum is distilled in Barbados then aged in bourbon casks before being shipped to Cognac, France. There, the rum is aged in small-cask French oak barrels for months rather than years – a technique from the 18th and 19th centuries. Maison Ferrand believes this gives their rum “even more elegance, refinement and roundness.”
The nose is interesting with toasted wood or maybe coal in a pot belly stove. The sweet notes are molasses and a very slight hint of vanilla. There is a strong alcohol note on the nose which goes away on the palate. My mouth is filled with vanilla, berry, melon and floral notes. The finish is smooth and lingers long enough for me to ponder the wood note. Knowing the producer, my gut says I should be getting an oak hint however, it’s just not there for me. I will say though, I can tell great care was taken to age this rum properly.
This rum is actually confusing me. On the nose, I immediately get a harsh alcohol burn which eventually smooths out to an inviting orangey, leather. The sip coats the palate as does a finer rum. What I smelled is what I got on the palate. It’s almost syrupy without being sweet. Another sip brings out some vanilla with a pinch of cinnamon. It’s warming, soothing and strangely enough, inviting. Unlike Clint, I get no fruit or floral. And that pot belly stove stuff, I think he’s dreaming of cooler weather.
Kaniché XO is a curious rum. It promotes the double wood but neither one of us can pinpoint the wood. Yet we keep sipping because it is actually good in its own strange way. We would share with others just to get their take. This one has us stumped but in a good way.
3.75 out of 5
Sipping Rum Scale
1 – An expensive mixer
2 – A quick celebratory shot
3 – Wouldn’t be embarrassed to share with friends
4 – Are my friends worthy of a sip
5 – Special moments rum
About Clint and Terry: We have sampled many a dram over our 33 years of marriage and quite often we don’t fully agree. Could be the difference is male/female taste buds. Or, somebody is just wrong.