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Cachaça Calabró aroeira

The Cachaça: Calabró
Origin: Arinos – Minas Gerais
Distilled: n.i. – pot still
Bottled: ca 2017
Maturation: Aroeira wood
ABV: 40%

calabroThere’s always a first for something. In this case, it’s my very first cachaça matured in aroeira wood, a timber tree native from Argentina, Brazil, Bolivia and Paraguay, and typical for Caatinga, Cerrado, and Pantanal vegetation in Brazil. Tannins isolated from the stem bark have anti-inflammatory and antiulcer potency, showing a strong antioxidant property for possible therapeutic applications. The species has shown some efficacy in therapeutic use and may turn out to be of benefit to neuro-disease patients. In popular Brazilian culture, an extract from the wood is also used against fever. So let’s drink this one to our good health!

Normally I don’t talk about the colour of a cachaça or rum. I find it totally irrelevant which of the 50 shades of yellow a cachaça has. It says absolutely nothing about its taste nor its quality. Today I make a little exception though. This must be the darkest cachaça with natural colour that I’ve seen, with a nice red glow.

I actually hadn’t heard of the Fazenda Maiza distillery in MG, where this cachaça comes from. I found it in a small shop annex restaurant along the 040 highway in Paracatu – MG. Since it was matured in an unknown type of wood (for me) and would set me back only around 8-9 euro…why not!

The Nose starts, as expected, on vegetal sugarcane notes, albeit rather soft and delicate with a slightly sour undertone. The second impression reminds me of a delicate woman’s perfume of white flowers accompanied by a touch of sea breeze.

The Taste is herbal with very well integrated wood tones, that never become bitter. Its vegetal side is again subtle and soft, with a little sweet touch. A round and easy cachaça, but rich and full with a very pure taste. I can imagine whisky drinkers to like this cachaça. The alcohol is well integrated.

The Finish is rather long, with an undefined fruity taste and just like in the mouth a subtle sweet touch.

Our Score: **** Considering its price this is definitely worth every real!

 

More on the distillery and their products on this site and on this Facebook page

Santa Terezinha carvalho

OK, let’s do just one last Santa Terezinha…ST

The Cachaça: Santa Terezinha Carvalho

Origin: Espirito Santo
Distilled: n.i. – pot still
Maturation: 3 years first fill American oak
ABV: 45.7%

The Nose: soft vegetal with a very pleasant floral perfume. I have sultanas, a bit of bourbon vanilla, coconut and a cognac like flavour. Nice and elegant, soft and easy. A really inviting nose.

The Taste: medium sweet with lots of wood – this really seems to be a distillery signature. The taste actually contrasts a lot with the nose. Where the nose indicates a floral, soft and easy going cachaça, the taste is firm with big wood.

Finish: again very woody and bitter, quickly dropping.

Santa Terezinha Serie Artes – cerejera

In the relatively small State of Espirito Santo near the Atlantic coastline, the Santa Terezinha distillery started production in 1942.  Santa Terezinha is an artisan distillery working with respect for the environment. We’ve seen it all before with other distilleries: manual harvesting without burning the fields, swift pressing of the cane, the bagaço that is being used to heat up the copper pot stills (direct heating), and so on. But what makes Santa Terezinha really different is the particular way of fermenting the calda.

Once the juice or calda has been extracted, an equal amount of boiled sugarcane juice is added. To that mixture, the distiller also adds roasted and grinded bagaço (the dried sugarcane stems) as well as cornflower. To bring this mixture to the right temperature, a big stone is heated and then dropped into the mixing tank. In the meantime leaves of oranges and tangerines are being burned over a fire next to the tank, to clean or to purify the air. After four to five days, the mixture is all ready to go into the fermentation tanks. There it still takes an exceptional four to five days of fermentation to get the garapa ready. Once distilled, 80% of the spirit is used as coração.

All this means a very complex and time consuming method, combining the old traditions from back in those days when slaves made the cagaça with traditional European methods from the viniculture, brought to Brazil by European immigrants.

The Santa Terezinha cachaça is then matured in casks or tuns of oak,  jequitiba rosa, bálsamo, umburana, or sassafras. Labels and boxes are often designed by famous Brazilian artists like Hélio Coelho and Haroldo Bussotti, making the bottles also real collector’s items.

977-cachaca-santaterezinha-500ml-prata-vilavelha-serieartesThe Cachaça: Santa Terezinha Serie Artes

Region: Espirito Santo
Distilled: pot still – lot 2017
Matured: amburana, 6 months
Abv: 43%
 

The Nose is rather elegant with soft vegetal aromas of fermenting most and a pleasant and again rather soft herbal touch. Also hints of sweet hay in good balance with a touch of white pepper and fresh sugarcane. Give it a good 15 minutes in the glass and it becomes more floral (rose petals)

The Taste is a bit sweet and rather vegetal on the first impression. As it was with the sassafras version, the second impression is more woody, but this time not as bitter. Some very subtle cinnamon (I suppose these amburana casks are really old, not giving much flavour anymore). Firm sugarcane and a delicate fruitiness reminding me a bit of sweet red fruits.

The Finish is rather woody with a sweet note, and is medium long. Slowly drying towards the end with soft-bitter wood but no aggressive tannins.

Wild Tiger Special Reserve rum

Wild-Tiger-tilpasset-størrelseLet’s turn away from Latin-America and the Caribbean for a moment, and turn our eye and tastebuds towards India. India is a big rum producing country, making so much more rum than Old Monk alone. In fact, in terms of volume, India is the biggest rum producing nation worldwide – not taking Brazil and the cachaça into account that is. In the old days of rum, India produced an Agricole style rum, nowadays they mainly use molasses.

The Rum: Wild Tiger Special Reserve
Origin: India
Raw material: Molasses with some fresh sugarcane juice spirit blended
Distilled: mainly column still, small part pot still
Matured: 2-4 years in charred American oak
ABV: 40%

The Nose: The first impression is a rather closed and shy nose, with some grassy vegetal notes. Secondly comes lots of vanilla and lots of the good light brown toffee caramel. A third wave of aromas provides more sour vegetal notes and even some light iodine. Overall, the nose promises a rather sweet rum. Give the rum 10 minutes in the glass, and it becomes intensely perfumed. Not really fruity or floral, but a more synthetic kind of perfume. I do like how the aromas keep changing in the glass; that’s what makes it more exiting.

The Taste: sweet, with lots of vanilla and tangerine juice, strong hints of mocha and almond. It’s a bit liquor-like, but without being extremely sweet or artificial. Imagine a much improved and much more elegant version of Don Papa. The mouthfeel is rather creamy.

The Finish: The aftertaste starts with an explosion of mocha and toffee. It stays rather sweet in the mouth, with once again lots of vanilla and almond. Reminds me a bit of marzipan. The finish is medium long.

Our Score : ***

Well, this kind of sweet vanilla rums aren’t really my favourite style of rum. But it’s not too extreme. Plus the fact that 10% of sales goes to the preservation of the wild tiger in India makes this rum a 3-star.

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: ***