The final stop of the 2009 cachaça tour was Magnífica Cachaça.
Every destination on this tour had more than just great cachaça to share -- each had it's own unique story as well.
As to Magnífica, I found their operation to be a miracle of conservation and efficiency:
- The cane is crushed twice, extracting every bit of juice.
- The conveyor belt then moves juiced cane (the bagaço) to a bin that fuels a steam engine. After this point, the process uses little to no electricity.
- The steam engine not only runs the pumps that ferry the juice to the fermentation tanks, but also feeds a hose that allows the crew to steam-clean the equipment.
- The still is a rare, tripartite alegría still, pictured above. This process, once again, allows Magnífica to get every possible drop of usable product. Only two alegría stills are currently known to be in use.
All of this is in service of, well, a magnificent product. I came home with two of their oak-aged varieties, including a small flask of their Reserva Soleira, which spent three years in oak. My host, Laudimar Freire, also introduced me to ipê, a native wood that imparts minimal color and flavor characteristics, much like the amendoim barrels I found at Coqueiro.
They have a special label that's sold to UK-based Latin restaurant chain Las Iguanas. For various reasons, the alcohol content for this bottling is 36% ABV as opposed to Magnífica's usual 39%. (This, my readers from across the pond, is exactly why you guys lost the Revolutionary War. Well... that and the preference for tea over coffee.)
Lots more information in the video, which concludes the six-part series. Now that I have a few months' perspective on all of this, I'll be able to look at the entire 22-minute product a bit more objectively. Look for that cut in the coming weeks.