Cachaça; the Brazilian spirit

Cachaça is still relatively unknown outside Brazil. It is best known for its use in cocktails - especially caipirinha - but cachaça is currently the third most consumed liquor in the world. Nearly all consumption (99%) takes place in Brazil but we feel that now is the time to introduce it to a wider audience. First of all because of the great taste, but also for the cultural experience that it exudes: the sultry summer sun, the Brazilian spirit, and the historical macho craft of producing cachaça. There is so much to savour and cherish in each bottle. 

Cachaça and rum

Cachaça has its roots in rum, but is purer since it is made of freshly pressed sugarcane juice and not the sugar cane syrup or molasses which is used for rum. For this reason, cachaça distinguishes itself with its stronger sugar cane flavour and the specific taste of each cachaça is determined by the type of wood used in the distillation process and the maturation period.

The maturation process can use up to 25 different types of wood casks - unlike whisky and brandy that use oak almost exclusively. Each type of wood, such as amendoim, jequitibá and umburana, give their own specific qualities and flavours to the maturation process, each having a different effect on the taste - from peanuts to grapefruit, cinnamon, coffee and anise. Some cachaças mature for more than 10 years, such as our 12 year old Vale Verde, but whether the maturation period is short or long each has its own specific character.

Cachaça: two types

Cachaça comes in two variants: classic and matured. The classic is the caipirinha rum and it is easily recognized by its white colour - classic cachaça is crystal clear - and little or no maturation takes place in this process. The cane juice is distilled and bottled not long after fermentation, making the sugarcane flavour very intense with a sharp taste, hence the reason it is commonly used in cocktails. Brazilians drink classic cachaça's neat, but the strong and sharp sugarcane taste will take time for the novice to become accustomed to. If you want to drink it neat, it is better to start with the matured cachaça's, because they are softer and milder on the palate. Matured cachaça can be identified by its caramel or yellowish colour.

The colour is the decisive factor in determining what kind of cachaça you are sampling. It may be that a cachaça has been matured in wood casks for a year, without having changed its colour. In this case it would still be a classic cachaça. 

Cachaça Artesanal

During the production of artisanal cachaça no chemicals are used, in contrast to the production of industrial cachaça, and all processes are controlled manually. The big secret in making high quality cachaças lies in the distillation process and in separating the cabeça, coração e cauda (heads, hearts and tails). The best cachaças use only the purest part of the distillate: hearts. The liquor from the hearts is of the highest quality. And this is what we pride ourselves on - we use only hearts in our distillation process, resulting in our finished product being of the highest quality.

In addition, a well crafted cachaça is stored for at least three months before being bottled. Because of this the cachaças lose some of their original temperament and are considerably milder. This does not occur with industrial cachaças.

The creation of artisanal cachaça is both a labor intensive and demanding process, but it is pure Brazilian passion in a bottle. Cachaça is an ancient tradition that is inextricably linked to the Brazilian culture. First created in the 16th Century, it is now more alive than ever, and we invite you to try the bafo-de-tigre (the breath of the tiger). Or maybe you will prefer the água que passarinho não bebe (water that a bird refuses to drink)? The choice is yours. Whatever your choice, our cachaça offers you the chance to taste the genuine spirit of Brazil! 

We have asked the best cachaça producers to share their secrets with us, so that we can bring a piece of Brazil to Europe. Do you hear the music? Close your eyes and enjoy the sunbeams dancing on your face .......