Category Archives: Cachaça

Cachaça Patrimônio

patrimonio
Pirassununga (São Paulo) is not only home of the biggest cachaça distillery in Brazil (the famous industrial ‘51’) and home of one of the best artisan cachaça distilleries of Brazil (Sapucaia); but there are many other small artisan cachaça producers in the area.

One of them is the Fazenda Guadalupe. Not really a name you want to put on your label if you don’t want to confuse your consumers with Guadeloupe rhum, so good thing their cachaça was baptized ‘Patrimônio’

The cachaça is bottled in a rather a-typical bottle of 600 cc – almost like a beer bottle – with an alcohol percentage of 44%. Matured in bálsamo casks, but only for a very limited time (3 months). Normally bálsamo matured cachaças tend to be very herbal and punchy, and often used in blends.  Now let’s find out what a short maturation in bálsamo does to a cachaça.

The Cachaça
: Patrimônia
Region: Pirassununtga, São Paulo
Distilled: 2013/2014
Bottled: 2014 (lot 1401)
Matured: Balsamo wood – 3 months
ABV: 44%

Nose:  extremely pleasant aroma with a perfect balance between the sugarcane and the herbal  wood aroma. Despite its youth and alcohol content very smooth.  Fresh, with hints of ozone and even some iodine. This is very, very promising indeed! Give it a few minutes in the glass, and out pop the sweet ricola-herbs accompanied by delicate white flowers. Herbal honey!

Taste: there are many cachaças that attack on the first taste to get smoother after. This is the exact opposite. The first impression is delicate, with sweet herbs and fine wood, all of a sudden getting hotter and much more spicy. Rather sweet for a cachaça, but who cares, this is just superb pinga!  Now let’s see what a drop of water does. Oh boy…adding a drop of water makes the floral notes that were camouflaged by the spicy peppery flavors  coming right out now. If the nose was very promising, we can only say that the taste delivers all the good things that were promised!

Finish: again a perfect balance between herbal and woody flavors, with the typical grassy sugarcane almost all gone now. Seems to linger on forever. What a long finish this-one has! Retro-olfactoric some cinnamon and all-spice.

Our Score: **** Oh yeah.. This is so delicate, so well balanced, and with a finish that seems to go on forever. Kudo’s to the distiller, this is what makes good cachaça great!
If we really have to say something negative, it would be : why isn’t this available in Europe yet???

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Cachaça Armazem Vieira Safira

armazem

The old armazem or warehouse of the isle of Santa Catharina, dating back to 1840, was being restored in the years 1983-1984 and is now part of the historical heritage of the city. Besides the bar-tavern Armazem Vieira it also hosts the cachaça distillery with the same name.

Armazem Vieira cachaça is being distilled in the tradition of the 18th and 19th century distillers on Santa Catarina. Together with researchers from the local university they try to create or recreate a cachaça doing honor to the old methods. Because the cachaça of the isle was rather special, with particular organoleptic qualities thanks to the climate and the soil condition on Santa Catarina, but also because of the variety of cane used : Saccharum Syneensi. After a rather short fermentation (depending on the ambient temperature between 12 and 14 hours) distillation happens in a small copper pot still of around 600 liter. In order to obtain the ideal fermentation, the distillery uses a biological filter, keeping all unwanted wild yeasts and bacteria out. For the very first fermentation of the season, yeast of last season is used, enriched with sugarcane syrup rich on vitamin B.

Armazem Vieira Safira ( matured for three years in grápia and ariribá wood) scored the 13th place in the Cupula da Cachaça ranking 2016-2017. So let’s see what the fuss is all about!

The Cachaça: Armazem Vieira Safira
Region: Santa Catharina
Distilled: ca 2012 in copper pot stills
Bottled: ca 2015
Maturation: Grápia and araribá wood – 3 years old
ABV: 40%

The Nose: Yes, this is cachaça all the way. Sugarcane juice, most, the distillery in full action. But all this accompanied by sweet notes of honeydew. Hints of white flowers. A round nose with firm aromas, but without being aggressive or overpowering. Very cachaça like indeed, but with a nice balance. After 15 minutes subtle hints of roasted grains.

Taste:  A nice sweet touch and firm sugarcane influence. Soft wood influence that gets firm and bigger with some water. The flowers of the nose don’t proceed in the taste.  Tasty, but a bit one-dimensional.

Finish: nice but rather short. Too short even, for my likes. Pleasant woody bitter touch at the very end.

Our Score : *** . This is a very pleasant ad easy-drinking cachaça. In my humble opinion, it lacks a bit of complexity though, so there’s better and richer to be found in this price range. This being said, it makes me very curious to try its older brothers!

Cachaça D’Salinas Reserva Especial

D'SSalinas, a relatively small city in Minas Gerais is well known for its flourishing cachaça production.  Especially the use of balsam and umburana  wood for maturation is a signature of the town, which also hosts a cachaça museum.

Let’s try one of the lesser known umburana matured cachaças from cachaça-capital.

The Cachaça: D’Salinas Reserva Especial
Origin: Salinas – MG
Fermentation : Fuba de Milho
Distilled : column still – ca 2012
Bottled : ca 2014
Maturation: Umburana – 2 years old
ABV: 40

The Nose: The aroma is pleasant, round and soft, with a more delicate vegetal sugarcane touch and a hint of cinnamon. Also wet hay and soft herbal notes. The sugarcane juice is unlike most cachaças rather hidden, but also the umburana influence is very discrete. I guess the original spirit is already very soft itself.  After evaporation of the alcohol we have some new leather, and some toasted grains – strangely enough. Due to the fermentation with cornflower (fuba de milho) maybe?

The Taste: Again very soft without any alcohol bite. A nice sweet note and again a rather subtle vegetal side. Soft without being too flat – although the 40 abv might be the limit. I would love to try this cachaça at let’s say 42 or 44 % ! Tasty and easy going, but without evolution.

The Finish: Soft cinnamon slowly fading away. The sweet touch stays until the end of this medium long finish. At the very end some light metallic notes that blend perfectly in.

Our Score : *** – a very nice cachaça with only subtle umburana notes. But it lacks evolution – it gets a bit boring.

Cachaça Authoral

authoral

The Cachaça: Authoral
Origin: Brasilia DF
Distilled: n.i.
Bottled: ca 2016
abv : 40%
Distillation: pot still
Maturation: blend of amburana (cerejeira), balsamo and solera system oak

Authoral is a new (2013) micro distillery, situated in residential Brasilia DF, the country’s capital. Master-distiller Eduardo Moreth literally distills the cachaça in his own home, using modern sustainable techniques (solar powered installation f.i.).

Very important is the  short time between harvesting the sugar cane and pressing the juice: maximum 3 hours. After that fermentation happens with local yeast strains only. Maturation is a mixture of large tuns of balsamo and cerejeira (amburana) and solera-stocked American and French oak.

With around 7000 bottles a year, production is very limited; and for the moment only available in Brasilia DF and through the company’s website.

The Nose: a very cachaça like nose with subtle vegetal notes of sugar cane and aromas that indicate a certain sweetness. The fresh cane is present but definitely not omni-present. The amburana cask is dominant in the aromas with firm hints of cinamon. Also some herbal notes (thank you, balsamo tun) and bourbon-y spicy vanilla (and thank you, oak casks). On the background also some maraschino cherry (thank you cerejeira, again?). Very funny: I even have some fresh maritime notes like a salty sea breeze. Not really what one would associate with hot, dry Brasilia DF. After 15 minutes more earthy notes like wet leaves and ferns.

The Taste: The amburana is less dominant in the taste than in the nose. A bit more of the herbal balsamo lingering through now. Fine wood, sawdust, with the oak subtle on the background. The sweetness predicted by the nose is there, albeit smooth and a bit hidden. The vegetal touch of the fresh sugar cane reveals the true cachaça nature. Round and multi-layered, and – important – in this case I feel like the 40 abv really is the ideal drinking strength: not too weak, not too punchy.

The Finish: Sweet notes and fading herbal notes dominate the rather long finish. The wood is nicely balanced without becoming dry. Retro-olfactoric the cherry-like notes from the amburanawood end the debates.

Our  Verdict: A very interesting cachaça with nice sweet and herbal notes; ideal to accomplish more spicy dishes. Beautifully shaped bottle and tasty cachaça. Too bad this beauty isn’t available (yet?) outside Brazil. But when in Brazil, worth the detour – this really is a must have for any cachaça lover!

Cachaça Magnifica de Faria Reserva Solera

faria

In the mountains surrounding Rio de Janeiro at an altitude around 800 meters we find the Magnifica de Faria distillery, active since 1985. It’s the only cachaça distillery in Brazil using the ‘alegria’ distillation : 3 pot stills, with the first one acting as a ‘chaufe vin’.

Next to the stills casks are stored in a solera system, 8 layers or criaderas high. Magnifica is one of only 3 (I think) distilleries in Brazil using the Solera method. But here the casks are stored right next to the 3 stills, absorbing the alcohol vapours that escape during the distillation process.

The Solera is labeled as a 10 years old, meaning the oldest cachaça in the mix is 10 years of age.

More on the distillery and their ‘tradicional’ ipê matured cachaça HERE

The Cachaça: Magnifica de Faria Reserva Solera – Batch 1 – 2016
Region: Miguel Perreira – RJ
Distilled:  pot still
Matured:Solera system in oak casks
ABV: 43%

Nose: A very rich nose that – strangely enough – reminds a lot of a very good molasses made rum. We find molasses and white fruit, with only subtle fresh sugarcane juice. Also fruitcocktail on syrup and violets. Slowly evolving towards more tropical fruits: mango and overripe passion fruit. Give it a good 10 minuites in the glass and some aniseed is coming through. Hardly any sugarcane juice, and no new make whatsoever. The empty glass evokes some Lapsang Souchong – better known as smoked tea.

Taste: Nice sweet taste with sultanas and a clear influence of the oak. The vegetal notes are there but on the background. The fruits are more hidden now, the wood is taking over and is slightly drying. The mouthfeel is rather pleasant and fresh. Just like in the nose, this cachaça reminds me a lot of a Spanish style rum. Lovely!

Finish: Mediumlong to long finish with fresh sweet notes and lingering oak. The debates are concluded with omnipresent wood that very slowly releases some tannins.

Our Score: *****

This is a must-have for more than one reason. It’s a great cachaça made with both knowledge and love. A  cachaça that also will convince many a rum aficionado.  The cachaça comes in a beautiful French-style bottle and each bottle has its individual number. Best part: very affordable in price. Soon available in Europe through The Cachaça Company for around €65.

Cachaça Magnifica de Faria Tradicional (ipê)

magnifica-ipe

The Cachaça: Magnifica de Fária Tradicional

Region: Miguel Perreira – RJ

Distilled: 2014 – pot still

Matured: for two years in ipê wood tuns of about 50.000 litres

ABV: 40% (This 40 abv version is for the European market; the same cachaça in Brazil has 43 abv)

 

In the mountains surrounding Rio de Janeiro at an altitude around 800 meters we find the Magnifica de Faria distillery, active since 1985. It’s the only cachaça distillery in Brazil using the ‘alegria’ distillation : 3 pot stills, with the first one acting as a ‘chaufe vin’.

It’s an artisan distillery that manually harvests the sugarcane without the use of burning techniques and without using chemicals.

magnifica-alambiEach batch of cachaça is about 2000 litres.

The cachaça gets its name partly from the family producing the cachaça (Fária) and partly from the fact that the lady of the house was the very first female ‘Rectora Magnifica’ of the Santa Ursula university at Rio de Janeiro.

The Nose: When you open the bottle it’s immediately very clear that the nose of this cachaça is very pronounced. The aromas really pop out of the bottle. They start with very refined sugar cane and rather fruity influences. A complex nose indeed, with hints of fine saw dust, green bananas, white pepper, stewed greens and a very light acidic touch.

The Taste: as a cachaça should be – with a strong grassy, vegetal touch. But this one is rather sweet for a (unsweetened!) cachaça. Some haribo sweets playing on the tongue. The taste is again rather fruity with a pleasant woody touch. It actually reminds me of grape seeds when you bite them. There’s also some olive-like touch in this cachaça. This is the kind of cachaça that preserves the best qualities of un unaged cachaça (the grassy side) combining it with the best qualities of an ideal natural fermentation (the fruity notes) and the best qualities of a tun or barrel maturation (the woody notes).

The Finish: is rather long and again with a pleasant sweet touch. At the very end again a bit woody and drying without becoming bitter. Especially this woody touch seems to linger on forever and just fades away very slowly. Overall a round and bit sweet cachaça with nice fruity tastes and woody underones. This might not be a Number One sipper, but it definitely is the kind of cachaça you want to make high end cocktails!

Our Score: ***

 

Cachaça Weber Haus Amburana

weberThe Cachaça: Weber Haus Amburana Matured

Origin: Itovi- Rio Grande do Sul

Distilled: n.i. – pot still

Bottled: ca 2015

Maturation: 1 year in amburana or umburana casks

ABV: 38%

 

Weber Haus…sounds German, right? Well, it actually is. Not that this is a cachaça ‘Made in Germany’ but made by a family who arrived in the south of Brazil back in the 1800s. Today Weber Haus is a well-known artisan cachaça producer that works 100% organic and that has won over 30 medals in international concours.

Umburana matured cachaça is often used in blends. The more herbal character of the wood lifts the blend to a higher level. But the cachaça we taste today is entirely matured in umburana only.

The Nose: the first aroma that really pops out of the glass is that of rich herbal honey. In the background we find this soft vegetal touch of fresh sugarcane that is so typical for cachaça. But here it only plays second violin. Round notes of cinnamon and rock sugar are also rather present. At the end some white pepper and saw dust pop out, together with a very light whiff of vanilla.

The Taste: what a beautiful well balanced cachaça this is. Again round, soft but yet rich cinnamon, in perfect harmony with sweet-sour sugarcane. A little sweet touch with loads of soft spices, and even an impression of stewed tropical fruits. The alcohol is perfectly integrated and manifests itself at the end when the more typical cachaça notes of the sugarcane start to take the upper hand.

The Finish: Medium long and sweet herbal with a very nice creamy mouthfeel. Again very well balanced, with a pleasant bitter woody touch at the very end.

 

Our Score: ***** . That’s right: 5 stars. This is a must have for every cachaça lover. Expect to pay around € 38-40

_mg_7161

Inside the Weber Haus distillery at Ivoti – RS

Weber Haus Amburana Licor

licorWe’re finally back online after a long summer break. Let’s start slow…maybe with a cachaça liquor?

Weber Haus Licor de Cachaça co Amburana

Origin: Ivoti (RS)

Distilled: n.i.

Bottled: 2016

ABV: 30%

 

Honestly, I’m not really a big fan of liquors. Too sweet, too sticky, too synthetic most of the time. But this one is made with matured (yes!) cachaça from Weber Haus, one of the very best cachaça distilleries in Brazil. Made with matured artisan cachaça, organic cane sugar and amburana or umburana infused.

Nose: Soft herbal notes and sweet maraschino cherries, accompanied by some typical autumn aromas of wet wood, quality mushrooms and soft green moss. A very slight alcoholic touch. Also some rich acacia honey.

Taste: Sweet herbal notes, with a subtle bitter woody touch. Again this rich acacia honey and maraschino cherries. A velvet mouthfeel, that despite the sweet notes never gets sticky. Cane sugar, but yet very fresh and cooling in the mouth

Finish: medium long with a lasting sweetness, without – again – becoming too sugary or sticky.

Expect to pay around 22-25 euro in Europe

Cachaça Minas Brasil Ouro

minas

Naming your cachaça brand ‘Minas’…it’s a risk. Minas Gerais is the cachaça state in Brazil, so to name your cachaça after that state comes with certain responsibilities. It has to be a true ambassador of the quality, name and fame of the cachaças from Minas Gerais.

The Cachaça: Minas Brasil Ouro

Origin: Cordislândia – Minas Gerais

Distilled: n.i.

Bottled: Lot 3 – 2014

Age: 3 years old

Maturation: oak

ABV: 40%

Fermentation: 100% corn

 

The Nose: the first thing that strikes is the very pleasant nose of this cachaça. Of course, the vegetal notes are there. There’s even some most to be detected. But it’s accompanied by lots of dried fruits. I also have some warm brioche and toasted oak, together with ripe sweet fruits. A little herbal touch (Italian curry) and some soft alcoholic notes with white pepper.

The Taste: Now this a very unusual cachaça indeed. The vegetal side is there, but very subtle. This is rather sweet for a cachaça. Sweet fruits like nectarines and pineapple in syrup. I also find some acacia honey and soft sugarcane. The alcohol is fresh, with a whiff of mint lingering through. The overall mouthfeel is rather soft and creamy.

The Finish: Again rather sweet, and medium long. The same notes as in the taste are there, with a bit more white fruits now (sweet pears).

Our Score: ****

For its price (expect to pay 20-25 euro) this is a great cachaça. And truly a cachaça that will be appreciated by rum drinkers too. It’s a bit less vegetal and much sweeter than your average cachaça.

Cachaça Vale Verde Extra Premium

vale_verde

The Cachaça : Vale Verde Extra Premium

Origin: Betim – Minas Gerais

Distilled: 2012 – copper pot still

Bottled: 2015

Matured: oak wood, ex-bourbon casks

Abv: 40

Vale Verde is an exceptional cachaça in every sense of the word. First of all it’s distilled in an ecological park, using sustainable methods only, and wit hall profits going back to the park to plant trees and develop ecological programmes.

Secondly, at Vale Verde they use an exceptional method of charcoal filtering the spirit before ageing it.

Now let’s find out why Playboy elected (yes, elected, not erected) this cachaça as best cachaça for several years in a row!

 

The nose: as always, the typical sugarcane notes are very well present. But the Vale Verde extra premium (which means that all the cachaça in the bottle is at least 3 years old) is very distinguished. Dried fruits and noble wood influences go hand in hand with warm hints of vanilla and toasted bread.

 

The taste: a very pleasant and elegant cachaça, with the aroma very consistent with the taste. So once again, sugarcane juice, vanilla, roasted grains and a very fine wood influence. But also a remarkable freshness – thanks to the pinewood charcoal filtration? This may not be the richest or most complex cachaça (given its young age, that’s no surprise really), but it’s oh so pleasant and easy to drink. This cachaça might be a bit too elegant to make a good caipirinha: the vegetal tones are softer than might be expected from a 3 yo cachaça. But then again: who cares? Have this beauty straight up and you’ll be pleasantly surprised indeed. This is so very far away from all the industrial crap like Pitu, 51 and other stuff that make you go blind.

 

The Finish: well emm… consistently consistent. All the good things from the nose and taste come back in the finish. A finish that’s medium long, which is too bad because one would like this to linger on forever.

Our score: **** Yes, we always knew the fine people at Playboy had good taste. reminder: 4 stars mean: ” Great rum or cachaça that deserves a place in your collection !”

Expect to pay (in Europe) around 40-45 euro.