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Distinction without a Difference Dept: Cachaca vs AOC

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Capn Jimbo
Rum Evangelisti and Compleat Idiot

Joined: 11 Dec 2006
Posts: 3496
Location: Paradise: Fort Lauderdale of course...

PostPosted: Thu May 02, 2013 5:36 am    Post subject: Distinction without a Difference Dept: Cachaca vs AOC Reply with quote

Let's really, really be honest...

If rum was not such an abused category, we'd accept as "Rum" something that was simply distilled from cane juice, cane syrup, molasses or a byproduct like brown or - gulp - even plain table sugar. No additives, no flavoring material, but aging in a named wood, just fine - and distilled to no more than 190 proof. Labeling to include any and all additives, distillation/aging/bottling proof, age of the youngest element, column or pot stilled, and named wood(s) for cooperage.

In my book, cachaca is a cane juice rum, or rum is cachaca depending on how you interpret history.

Personally I never accepted the Preacher's idolization of the isolated and stifling AOC regulations and labeling as being little more than justification for simply outrageous prices, while cachaca was presented as a tattered and distant cousin never invited to the house or temple. This is simply not true.

Comparing a cachaca to AOC blanco...

Recently some of you may recall that Sue Sea had a bad night - the kind for which some would concoct a "toddy" - but for which she appreciates a nice cane juice, favoring Barbancourt Five Star. On that night I related how I suggested she try a cachaca, as it too is made from cane juice.

Sue Sea was quite taken with it, so the next day we decided to actually do a comparison with another CJ rum - JM Blanc - which I'd scored at $12.95 (usually closer to $40). The JM was compared to Mae de Ouro (usually the high $20's, but recently found at $8.95) - straight up, and to honor both in both a caiparinha and also a Ti Punch. Fair enough.

The Mae de Ouro was perceived as smoother, with more licorice, anisette, deeper, more flavorful and with a nice light sweetness to balance a nice hot and long white pepper finish. Nice! The JM was notable for a higher proof, and was more deeply vegetal and oily, but in sum was really quite similar. In truth these two cane juice distillates were far more alike than different.

In truth, the Mae de Ouro more than held its own against the vaunted and otherwise highly regarded AOC-labeled JM Blanc. The Preacher loves to promote that the AOC version is distilled to a flavorful 70% or so under the strict AOC regs. On this basis cachaca should be even more flavorful as its maximum distilled proof is only 54%. And as has been observed cachaca may be aged in all manner of different woods, and is not limited to French Oak. The result: even more different flavors.

The only real issue: our Diageo controlled market has not chosen to bring in this very, very long established cane based spirit. That may change as Diageo recently purchased Ypioca - one of Brazil's leading brands - for $450M. Although word is their initial intention is to improve its position in Brazil - and with Seagram already having dabbled with their "Brazilian Rum" - and with the US regulations having been recently lobbied to establish "cachaca" as an "identity" (based on Brazilian standards), well..

Well, w'all, wall...

The writing is on the wall, and I daresay cachaca is soon to bust loose...

Go to Save Caribbean Rum Petition!
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