Since I started down this adventurous path of rum blogging several months ago, a goodly number of people have asked me, “Why, Dood? Why do you blog about rum?”
It’s a fair question. I think I started for two reasons: 1. It’s fun and 2. Because occasionally you can get free stuff. So imagine my glee when I came home from work one day to find a large package sitting on my porch! Ok, so I wasn’t quite gleeful at just the package…I’m not that easily gleed (is that a word?). When I opened the box however, that’s when the glee started, as inside was a bottle of Cabana Cachaca, along with a note from their marketing group saying that they hoped I would enjoy it.
Oh I will…oh yes, I will.
I don’t know if this quite qualifies as having “arrived” in the world of blogging. I likely received the box because I’m taking part in the Tales of the Cocktail Blog this year, and Cabana is a sponsor of said blog and related blogging activities. And while there was no real request for a review, I find it hard to imagine that they sent a bottle of their cachaca to guy that writes rum reviews without it crossing their minds that, “Hey, maybe he’ll write one of our stuff! And then the BIG BUCKS start rolling in!”
And for those who are concerned that my desire to continue to receive free booze by courier will influence my review, tssk tssk. I have integrity…or was it an Integra? The one without power steering. On to the review!!
Cabana Cachaca is a relatively new entry into the world of spirits, having been launched in 2006 by Matti C. Anttila of New York City (suddenly I find myself thinking of those BBQ sauce commercials with the cowboys…”This stuff’s from New York City!?!?!”). Don’t worry…this isn’t made in New York City…it’s made in Brazil, otherwise it couldn’t be called “cachaca”. Says Matti in the materials provided me, “We set out to introduce something American consumers had never experienced – a truly super-premium cachaca.”
A noble goal, to be sure. I do take a minor issue with the label “super-premium”. What is it with spirit-makers trying to outdo each other by saying their premium is more premium than the other premium? Listen, you’re either premium, regular, or well. The avalanche of “ultra-premium”, “super-premium”, “mega-premium”, and “premium-premium” labels is getting out of hand people. Let’s try to keep things in perspective.
Cabana is distilled, aged, and bottled in Brazil before being imported into the US with the trendy “super-premium” label (note: “Super Premium” does not appear anywhere on the label, but the phrase is used 3 times on one page in the materials provided to me). The marketing spiel says that the spirit is hand-crafted, and is double-distilled in copper pot stills as opposed to the more ubiquitous column stills. After distillation, the cachaca is aged for six months in Jequitiba barrels, bottled, and then shipped.
Cachacas tend to be “white” or clear, and Cabana does not stray from this. The spirit looks clean and clear in the glass. A swirl reveals a spirit that clings tightly to the sides of the glass, only slowly relenting and returning to the bottom.
I’m not typically a huge fan of most cachacas. I tend to find them grassy and a bit unrefined in a way that is totally different from my classy unrefinedness – almost industrial. After another swirl of the glass I held the Cabana up to my nose and inhaled. The scent was not what I had been expecting. It was fruity and warm. Notes of banana and lime, along with honey. There was a bit of a grassy hint to it, which is typical of Brazil’s national spirit, but not as strong as I’ve seen in most other cachacas. I found myself already doing a mental inventory of my liquor supplies, wondering if I could make myself a caipirinha.
As I’ve already stated, I don’t tend to be a fan of cachaca. I usually find the offerings I see in liquor stores to be harsh, grassy, and industrial-tasting…like a mix of lawn clippings, rum, and tequila (if you ever want to know what that tastes like, go get yourself the cheapest bottle of cachaca you can find and you will know pain). Cabana’s goal was to “[refine] cacaca from its overly vegetal and harsh taste to a smooth and versatile elixir.” In this effort, I think they have largely succeeded – while this is not the best cachaca I have ever tried, it is one of the better ones.
The entry is a mildly harsh, with a bit of burn on the tongue. The spirit is dry, but fruity. Flavors of overripe banana and citrus mingle together nicely. There’s a subtle sweetness here, but nothing overpowering. Overall it’s quite pleasant. There’s a tad more burn in the chest than I normally like, as well as a grassy aftertaste. Neither of these is so bad as to make the spirit undrinkable neat, but it is unlikely to become a regular sipper for yours truly.
The Long & The Short Of It
Overall I have to say….I like it. This is a bottle of cachaca I will happily keep on my shelf and offer to friends, relatives, and strangers who somehow find their way into my house. I find that the flavors are more…cohesive than other cachacas I’ve had…better blended and balanced. I, personally, wouldn’t label this a sippable spirit, but I can’t wait to try this in a caipirinha or a mojito. The number of cocktails that could use this are probably close to limitless.
The only thing that concerns me a tad is the price: $34.99 according to the marketing materials. That’s about what I pay for Ron Zacapa 23 Anos, and that’s one of the best rums in the world and something I happily sip neat. Other than that though, this seems like the kind of Spirit of Brazil that will do you right, regardless of how premium you are.
Doods Rating: 3 Bottles of Rum Out of 5