Setting: run-down tavern in or near Lisbon, Portugal
In a chapter of a novel I've been working on, my main character, A, goes into a tavern, seeking shelter from a bad thunderstorm. She meets B, a seasoned sky pirate and drinker, who orders a bottle of a very strong alcohol. My basic search of traditional Portuguese drinks gave me aguardente bagaceira, which is very strong and sometimes bootlegged, which was perfect for what I needed. The bartender knows her (and is terrified of her) so he complies. Preferably, he gives her the strongest stuff possible, 160 proof. A, who is very proper and has never touched alcohol before in her life, sees B down a straight shot of it, tries to do the same, and fails horribly.
Here's where I'm stuck. The only description I can find is that aguardente is often colorless, but almost no mention of odor or flavor. All the descriptions that do exist are for the easily-purchased stuff, nothing close to 160 proof or the home-distilled liquor. Would A be able to smell the alcohol in it? Would it be a different color? Does it have a distinct flavor to it? Does it have the same 'burn' as tequila or vodka?
Search terms used: "aguardente portuguese", "aguardente portugal", "aguardente drinks", "aguardente bootleg", "aguardente bagaceira"