Cihuatan Nahual Legacy Blend review

The origins

Cihuatán rums are manufactured in the El Salvador valley of the same name, in a relatively young distillery, which was founded in 2004 and is the only distillery in the country. The legend has it that many centuries ago, a goddess arrived in the Cihuatán valley and blessed the soil with abundance and fertility. She made the valley bloom and turned it into fertile fields of sugar cane, with the purest water. And these are the main ingredients of Cihuatán rums. 

The distillery has a female Master Blender, Gabriela Ayala. She rigorously oversees each step of the production, from planting sugar cane, fermentation and distillation of cane syrup and molasses to bottling. The blend contains three rums from private reserves of the distillery. Each of them is different and has its unique character, which demonstrates the variety of local tastes and smells. The colour is honey-like, almost caramel. 

1st rum: Nantli = The Mother – a light, 14y.o. rum, the oldest in the distillery private reserves.

2nd rum: Tajtli = The Father – aged for 12 years in American white oak bourbon barrels. 

3rd rum: Single Vintage 11 Y.O. – light, 11y.o. “single vintage” rum. Aged in American white oak bourbon barrels. 

Cihuatan Nahual

The smell

Gentle, sweet smell with dominant vanilla and caramel notes. Very intense and pleasant aroma. I can smell subtle spicy notes and a hint of coconut. 

The taste

Mid-strength, sweet, interesting. Sugar cane (caramel), vanilla and cacao are the most pronounced. Slightly woody notes in the background, shows some age. The finish is fairly long, sweeter, with subtle nutty notes. The rum is quite aromatic and it is not easy to distinguish all the notes at once. There are sweet, woody, spicy and floral components mixed in. This is not a commonplace taste and I dare say you recognize this rum in a blind tasting. The rum has 47.5 % of alcohol but it is not overly strong or harsh. 

The bottle

Design-wise, this rum is a work of art. Particularly thanks to a local artist, Gabriel Granadino, who is famous for his works celebrating the local Mayan heritage. That is why both the bottle and the tube I got it in, is mostly decorated with Mayan symbols and imagery. All in golden and turquoise tones. You can find the number of your bottle on the bottom (mine was 4678/6336, batch I). This is a limited edition with 6000 bottles released for the whole world, speaking of Batch I. 

Front and back view of Cihuatán Nahual with gift tube

The price

Approx. CZK 1700. I have tried many rums with a way higher price tag. This one is worth it. 

The verdict

First I would like to point out that the image contains yet another member of our animal family. And it is not a coincidence. It is a Plumed basilisk, native to Central and Southern America (Honduras, Guatemala, Costa Rica,…), i.e. to the area where this rum is manufactured. 

The rum catches your eye at the very first sight. It is a gorgeously designed tube, evoking Mayan culture and colours. The bottle is designed in the same way. The smell and taste are very distinct, unconventional, interesting. It makes you desire to explore more and more components of the complex aroma. For my taste, the woody notes might have been stronger, this being a blend of fairly aged rums. But the taste will certainly stay in your mind. 

It is definitely worth it checking their website. You will find explanatory notes regarding the particular symbols and other information related to the rums and the brand itself. You may also discover your own Nahual (a spiritual guide of every human, in the form of sacred animals). I got Nahual XOLO, compounded of a dog (loyalty), jaguar (strength, courage) and snake (protection). To be precise: Ambitious in everything he does. Courageous and strong on the outside, gentle on the inside. Fair and loyal. Their website certainly makes for an interesting read. 

I am glad this rum made it to our country and we do not have to hunt it abroad. I recommend trying this rum in the near future. 

Jiří Naller

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