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  • Writer's pictureStuart Pearce

Neisson Bio - red hot or red herring?

An interesting little experiment today, a bio-off if you like.

Regular readers might remember from my 'big Neisson tasting' last year (here) that I'm a huge fan of the fresh, lively, beautifully exciting unaged rhums from Neisson distillery in Martinique.

Today I shall answer a question that has been niggling at me for some time - better for the environment, considerably more expensive to produce but do the 'premium', higher priced, bio versions of these unaged rhums taste better than the originals?

Summer appears to be finally making an appearance here in the south of England so after taking my usual photos I've brought the laptop and glasses out into the garden for tasting. Wonderful :-)

Without further ado, 4 rhums, 20ml of each, left to open up for 15 mins. Nosed first, then tasted. Starting with the 52.5 pair, then the massive L'Esprits - in both pairs, the standard then the bio. Assisted today, following a re-watch last night of the spectacular "Seaching for Sugarman", by the poetic Rodriguez. Top Tip: Watch this film!

Order - whatever you like. Crystal clear. They look good, and smell great

Rhum Neisson blanc, 52.5% vs Rhum Bio Par Neisson, 52.5%

Nose: Both are beautiful, fresh cane-forward scents. The standard botting is a warmer, and more rounded nose. The bio has added sherbet notes and is a little sharper with more citrus.

Mouth: The standard is spectacularly clean and balanced, even a little buttery. Good thickness and a long fresh cane fruit finish. The bio is much sharper - citrus sherbet from the nose steps up even more on the palate. It's a completely different rhum and nothing like as complete or enjoyable. Slightly poorer alcohol integration on the bio too. It's much more lively, with a different fruit profile - more quince & grapefruit skin with a touch of bitterness which could work very well in cocktails but sipped neat it's not as enjoyable.

Rhum Neisson blanc - 88pts

Rhum Bio Par Neisson - 84pts

Rhum Neisson L'Esprit 70% vs Rhum Neisson L'Esprit BIO 66%

Not an exact lineup. There is also a 70% BIO that would have been ideal, but you can only work with what you've got :-)

Nose: A much more even match here. Both are jumping out of the glass to slap you around the face. But in both cases, you come away smiling. If anything the BIO is a little more complex on the nose.

Mouth: Small sips here, and even then they're predictably fiery. But a little patience rewards you with layers and layers of flavour. Spectacular. A blend of salty olives with sweet creamy slightly rotten fruit. The standard 70% is a bigger, wilder rum. More saline and more rotten stuff.

While still offering the salty, mushy fruit profile, the BIO is more approachable. A little more fruit than veg. Also, late in the finish, there's that bitter grapefruit skin from the standard abv bio. On balance, I prefer the dirtier, crazier standard version. If you're going big, you might as well go the whole hog.

Rhum Neisson L'Esprit - 91-pts

Rhum Neisson L'Esprit BIO - 89pts

Conclusion: The L'Esprit could have gone either way. Both are outstanding. But the standard version was a clear win for the standard. Now for a much-deserved Neisson daiquiri after all this hard work ;-)

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Edward Hamilton
Edward Hamilton
Apr 26

The bottles of L'esprit sold in the US are liter bottles which was the only size available for import when this rhum was first bottled. I can assure you that this is the same rhum as is sold at the distillery and in Europe. As the importer, I could now import 70cl bottles but the cost/ml would be more. Considering the US offering is nearly 43% more volume than the smaller bottle there is more efficiency in shipping and warehousing which also reduces the carbon footprint of this rhum.

The Organic rhum is sold in the US in a smaller 750ml bottle with a synthetic cork.


May 24, 2023

Nice side by side. I've been wanting to try these. Weirdly, in the US we get different and rather janky looking screw top bottles for both expressions. Off putting for a $70 L'esprit. May give the regular to try though this weekend.

Stuart Pearce
Stuart Pearce
May 25, 2023
Replying to

Agree, screw tops are a bit less sexy. Especially with beautiful Rhum like this. The standard release is definitely worth a go. Makes a stunning ti punch. If you do get one, let me know what you think 👍

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