Category Archives: Cachaça

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

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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.

Cachaça Brasiliana Gold 12 yo

brasiliana

Cachaça Brasiliana by the Araxa distillers is the kind of cachaça you can pick up at the tax free zones in Brazilian airports. And that’s exactly what we did when I saw this bottle for sale at Brasilia DF airport. A commercial cachaça, but according to the label artisan and 12 years old! So let’s try it.

The cachaça: Brasiliana Gold 12 yo

Region: Minas Gerais

Fermentation: indoors, with corn flower

Distilled: n.i. – copper pot stills of 1500 litres

Maturation: oak, for 12 years

Bottled: november 2013

ABV: 39%

 

Nose: the first impression is very soft and gentle. I’m looking for that typical vegetal cachaça notes but no… Vanilla and soft oak shavings confirm the maturation on oak. Also some dried fruit and a soft mineral touch. After a good 10 minutes I finally start to notice some fresh sugarcane juice, together with a slightly perfumed aroma.

Taste: Now this is rather sweet for a cachaça. When cachaça producers add sugar, they have to mention it on the label (cachaça adoçada), but nothing mentioned here. Still I have the impression that a good amount of sugar was added here. This is very un-cachaça indeed. Maybe one for the true rum drinkers? The mouthfeel is very soft, with fine hints of white fruits, but it lacks depth and complexity. Especially for a 12 year old cachaça. Again I have the feeling that the 12 years old might be a bit exaggerated on the label. I guess there’s some 12 yo in it, along with a big quantity of much younger cachaça. It’s either that, or they are using some very old, exhausted casks to mature their pinga.

After about an hour, the taste becomes very flat with astringent bitter tones.

Finish: Sweet and short, with – yet again – surprisingly little wood influence and almost no vegetal cachaça flavours. Fruits? Yes, a bit: overripe pears mainly.

In short: there’s absolutely nothing wrong with this cachaça. No off-notes. But it’s an a-typical cachaça. Not vegetal enough. Too sweet (again, I might be mistaken, but I suspect added sugar) and ..well…disappointingly flat for a 12 year old (is it really?)

Our score:  ** – despite the fact it’s from tax free… around €30 (1 litre bottle) is simply too much for this cachaça !

Cachaça Vale Verde Prata

prata

The Cachaça: Vale Verde Prata

Origin: Minas Gerais (Brazil)

Distilled: october 2014

Bottled: october 2014

Abv: 40 %

Maturation: unaged

 

From the award winning distillery at the ecological park of Vale Verde comes this white, unaged cachaça. Unaged is often about the same as undrinkable, only suitable for mixing. But…can we expect more from a prestigious distillery like Vale Verde? More over: can we expect more from a white cachaça with the same price tag as a young matured cachaça (€27-30)? Let’s find out !

Nose: When pouring in my glass, the first very pronounced aromas  already enter my nose. Still, the nose is rather soft and very pleasant. Lots of fresh sugar cane juice of course, but without that very typical nose of acid fermented juice that sometimes is so typical for very young and unaged cachaça. I even get some milled grains and a mineral touch (wet slate). After a good 10 minutes, a slight acid note pops up.

Taste: A very fresh first attack, without any alcohol bite. Slightly sweet with a fresh citrus touch. Also some more grassy notes and floral influences. Is that rosehip I taste? After a while, it evolves to that rather typical cachaça taste of lychees on syrup.

Finish: Again soft and sweet, and warming without becoming too alcoholic. On the cheeks it ends with sweet white fruits. A rather long finish!

Our Score: *** – a pleasant cachaça, ideal for mixing but also more than good enough for sipping. For the fans of cachaça or agricole who want to taste ‘the real thing’ : a good quality cachaça without any cask  influence