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Welcome to Cachaça - THE Brazilian Rum

 
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Capn Jimbo
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PostPosted: Wed Jul 09, 2008 4:28 am    Post subject: Welcome to Cachaça - THE Brazilian Rum Reply with quote

I'm in love with Brazil. Carnival, the Samba and the Girl(s) from Ipanema, some of whom are boys, lol. I own but one bottle of this spirit - Batuque - which comes in the most amazing bottle in my collection.

I dare you to look it up. Bottle's got back!

Cachaça IS the Brazilian spirit and predates French cane juice rums by a couple hundred years. It is reported to have been created by Portuguese settlers around the town of Sao Vicente in the mid 1550's. Today this spirit dominates the country which consumes close to 400 millon gallons, per capita about a bottle a month! Less than 1% leaves the country and most of that goes to Germany.

To be fair cachaca actually qualifies as a French style cane juice rum since it is distilled from same. The term "Cachaça" is Brazilian, and in accord with their laws:

1. must be made in Brazil

2. is distilled from cane juice to no more than 38-54% abv. but is bottled at 38-48% abv.

3. may contain up to 6 grams of added sugar per liter (a very small amount, about 0.6% by weight).

4. no neutral alcohol may be added, ie cachaca is a pure product.

5. may contain "secondary products" such as esters and organic acids (like all rums) from 200-650mg per liter. This is comparable to a good Jamaican molasses based rum.

There are additional catagories including Chachaça adoçada (sweet cachaça) which contains between 6 and 30 grams of sugar per liter, and Cachaça envelhecida which refers to cachaça aged in wood. "Premium" cachaca contains product of which at least 50% must be aged at least one year in 700 liter wooden barrels. "Extra premium" must be aged at least three years.

Cachaça in the U.S. is a bad joke.

Cachaça is truly a spirit of the people. It has been estimated that over 4000 artisinal distillers produce it using classic copper pot alembic stills, along with a handful of huge "industrial" producers who distill it by the trainload. Accordingly it would be impossible to even identify what has to be tens if not hundreds of "styles".

Although most all are made with cane juice, and "aged" is defined as one year in the barrel by the government, after that anything goes. The very youngest white product is bottled almost immediately. The aged gold cachaça may spend time in one of many different exotic wood barrels or vats. These include chestnut, umburana, jequitibá, ipê, grápia, balsam wood, almond, jatobá, guanandi, brazilwood, cabreúva, tibiriçá, garapeira, or cherry. Even oak and old wine barrels. Methods and "styles" abound.

Like most cane juice rums, cachaca shares herbal aromas and tastes, with grassy and chili pepper notes often present.

Stupendous.

Cachaça, like clarin in Haiti, was and is the drink of the people. Accordingly it is widely rejected by the rhum snobs of France, the U.S. and yes, Brazil. At one time the "elite" of Brazil (and elsewhere) rejected this spirit until they realized that the "commonfolk" were just having way too much fun.

Today cachaça is consumed neat or in the delicious Caipirina (kai'-pea-REEN-ya) - the forerunner to the French ti' Punch and Cuban (Hemmingway's) Daiquiri.

The less than pitiful selection of cachaça we get in the US in no way represents the diversity, nor the best of Brazil. As for me, I'm lucky enough to have some good Brazilian friends who travel a lot.

Now I will say that cachaça, as I know it, is truly a cane juice rum and rightfully belongs in that category. As made from "fresh" cane juice it meets the historical definition of the French themselves. As noted cachaça predates the clarin of Haiti and the "agricoles" of the French Indies by a couple hundred years.

This section was requested by a former member.
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Last edited by Capn Jimbo on Tue May 14, 2013 5:34 pm; edited 7 times in total
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Capn Jimbo
Rum Evangelisti and Compleat Idiot


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

PostPosted: Wed Jul 09, 2008 6:53 pm    Post subject: What's a zero among friends anyway... Reply with quote

Oops. I meant a (rough) couple hundred years, I stand - unsteadily - corrected. And have corrected the post. It is estimated the Brazilians started making cane juice spirits, later called rum somewhere around 1530 to 1550 AD.

Carry on...
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