On Thursday, September 4, my wife and I held Cachaçagora's first blind tasting here at the Gomecile. Here were the contenders:
All of these are aged in oak barrels, anywhere between six months and five years. Two — Leblon and Cuca Fresca — are available in the United States. The other two were retrieved during visits to Brazil and, near as I can tell, are either not widely available in the U.S. or not available at all.
Each cachaça was poured prior to the guests arriving. Our tasters were encouraged to look for smoothness and depth-of-flavor, rating each cachaça on that basis according to whether it was their first, second, third, or fourth choice. I then averaged the scores (like golf, achieving a lower number is best) and unveiled the rankings at the end.
As Fred was sure to mention, no cachaça was clearly "bad". He, in particular, struggled to find a number-one choice. That said, all tastings demand a ranking of some type.
Find the results after the jump.
The top-ranked cachaça, by far, in our tasting was Barril 39 — three out of our four tasters listed it as their first choice. Adjectives like "smooth", "mellow", and "a slight coconut aftertaste" were used to describe this gift from my mother-in-law. (Obrigado, mamãe.)
Coming in second place, we have my São Paulo breakfast-counter-slash-liquor-store find, Velho Pascador. Our judges indicated it was "complex", "lighter", "just a little sweet", and "spicy with fruity notes".
Cuca Fresca Pura Gold was the unanimous third choice. The panel generally liked it, though one found it "sharp" and maybe a little sour.
Rounding out the group was Leblon cachaça, which I recently reviewed. The panel seemed to enjoy it — it was the first glass that one of our judges completely emptied — though two panelists felt that it had a "sharp" and "lingering" aftertaste. (As you can tell by the amount of product left in the bottle, this one has been in the "Tasting Lab" a little while.)
In closing, I can't help but wonder. If our panel is any indication, you're essentially out of luck if you prefer to sip your cachaça — their top two picks aren't yet exported to the United States.
Nevertheless, I plan on doing these tastings quarterly... and I already have a couple contenders lined up!
Many thanks to the panel!