I just got to know that the stocks of barreled Neissons are ridiculously low right now. I think that single sentence contains enough information for further conclusions. If not, then let me add that their yearly output is rather low. Well, today we shall have four of their aged releases in total and I am expecting quite something from this session.
Neisson Cuvée du 3éme Millenaire XO (45%): We start with an older bottling, because of the lower abv. Nose: Pretty good with plenty of spices (cloves, white pepper), nougat, notes that tell me that this might have been maturing in ex-Cognac barrels, old branches, hints of pomace, a wee bit of apple and quite some wood. Palate: Mellow and dry but not quite to the extent that I thought while nosing. The profile is shaped by the spices and wood and the majority of the rhum is probably rather old indeed. I now get some more apples (very starchy ones), starfruit, something akin to potatoes and some of those Cognac-like notes again. Very nice and complex but we are used to even more with Neisson, especially since we have been getting releases at a somewhat higher abv. Finish: Long and earthy, but not in the starchy sense now. The finish is actually excellent with more notes such as spices, nuts and old Cognac. A really good one but I am glad to have had this one first. It probably would have had a hard time in this session in a different order. (85/100)
Neisson 2012 Vieux (58,7%): You know that we have a weakness for vintage Brut de Fûts, right!? Nose: Rather sharp initially but the rhum has an interesting profile behind that. I get greek yoghurt with honey, red chocolate, light tannins, wood, pepper, nutmer, sulphur, oily walnuts and sweet chestnut. After a while we are getting more fruity elements but the rhum is clearly on the drier, more nutty side. Palate: Once again this nut and spice mix. The spices become a bit more exotic (e.g. cinnamon, cloves etc) while the nuts become more fruity/ less dry (macadamia, pecan). Then again the very prominent greek yoghurt with honey combination. The rhum is not too complex but this combination works very well. And it really shouldn’t be any older as the influence of the barrel is perhaps even a bit beyond the sweet spot of subtractive and additive maturation for me – but only ever so slightly. The finish is relatively short with walnut, chestnut, the spices and wood. It’s good, but yet again not Neisson’s full potential. (86/100)
Neisson 2007 10YO “Velier 70th Anniversary” (58,1%): Ten years is a lot for tropically aged Agricoles. Nose: Quite tannic and sulphatic. Then cereal, brandy vinegar, Tobasco, hops, old wood, pommegranate, walnut and coffee dregs perhaps. All in all, it is a bit too sharp and harsh for my liking but that might be totally different at the palate. And indeed it is. It’s now surprisingly mild and mellow with roasted almonds, toffee, caramel, walnut oil, chestnut, coffee, fat yoghurt and something that reminds me of classic Fanta. The rhum is not really weird, rather different in a sense, but I like it. Finish: Medium long to long. It’s a wild mix between fruity (Fanta, pommegranate) and dry wood, wobbling back and forth between the camps. A really nice rhum, if it weren’t for the slightly too boozy nose. (88/100)
Neisson 12YO (2005-2018) (49,7%): This is the second batch of the great 12YO. Note that I just took the label of the first batch (we’re getting lazy indeed) – the second batch should come with red instead of this pink/ purple mix I believe. Nose: Very full and rich with plenty of walnut and chestnut, most notably. Next an intense spice mix, more nuts (mostly hazelnuts), lots and lots of wood and other bitter notes. It’s extremely nice but not really complex. Some more layers would have been really helpful here, I feel. Palate: Incredibly smooth. I get caramel and caramlised nuts, cereal, milk chocolate (Kinder country), cocoa, exactly the right amount of wood, a spice mix but slightly more subtle than with the other rhums of the session and, deeper in the background, dried fruits. I don’t think this style of dry, heavy and rich Agricole gets much better than this. Finish: Medium long with nuts, spices, wood and slightly earthy notes. The first batch of the 12YO was already great, but this one is even better! A magnificent rhum. (91/100)
Neisson 2005 12YO “Velier 70th Anniversary” (51,3%): Nose: Really cool. I get a mix of apple and apple brandy, cashew, tonka and foul red grapes. It might sound a bit odd but it is really great. Next tea-like notes that cannot really decide if they want to be Rooibos or black tea, chestnut, pimento, pepper and notes akin to jalapeno. It might be worth pointing out that the rhum doesn’t really benefit from more time in the glass. Palate: Full of spices and nuts again, with a rather creamy texture. Chestnut, walnut, pepper, cereal, multi-grain bread, paparika powder, cumin and cola-esque notes are my other impressions. Finish: Medium long with spices and wood but not really interesting in itself. I must say that, even though the tasting notes are mostly in the dry department, this not-too-woody and overly mature side of Neisson is a bit more to my liking. (90/100)