GSN Review: Avuá Tapinhoã Cachaça

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Launched in the United States in 2013, Avuá Cachaça’s mission is to challenge the perception of the cachaça category as a one-trick caipirinha pony through a terroir-driven artisanal product that expresses the 500 years of traditional production in Brazil. Distilled by one of Brazil’s only female distillers using a family recipe honed over three generations, Avuá Cachaça begins in the single-estate sugarcane fields of a small, family-owned farm situated in the hills of Carmo near Rio de Janeiro. Avuá Cachaça’s small-batch expressions can be traced to a combination of distilling mastery and thoughtful wood selection, using only exotic woods native to Brazil and South America.

Avuá Cachaça, recently ntroduced a new, limited-edition expression to its range of hand-crafted cachaças – Avuá Tapinhoã Cachaçathe first cachaça aged in Brazil’s native Tapinhoã wood available in the United States. In the first batch, just 600 bottles of this rare expression will be available in select markets nationwide.

The spirit is aged for up to two years in Tapinhoã wood, an uncommon hardwood found only in certain regions of South America. The Tapinhoã large vertical barrel was initially used by the distiller’s father on the family farm decades ago and after a lengthy recommissioning process and up to two years of aging, Avuá Cachaça restored it in 2013.

“Cachaça has a deep history of wood aging in French Oak and a variety of indigenous woods – 28 in all – far more than any other spirit category – which impart unique flavor notes and applications to each,” says Pete Nevenglosky, co-founder of Avuá Cachaça. “Avuá Cachaça celebrates that history with Tapinhoã, which very few people in Brazil, let alone the United States, have ever experienced. After the excitement from the trade community around our Amburana expression, we expanded our line-up to reflect the diversity of the category and offer a second rare and unique Brazilian wood offering, to show off what the spirit is capable of.”

Avuá Cachaça is organically produced with only renewable energy, with water piped from a natural source to grind the sugarcane, and a boiler for the still that is fired by the residuals of the sugarcane pulp, known as bagasse. The cane, composed of three specifically chosen varietals, is hand-cut, ground with a waterwheel, and fermented for less than 24 hours using airborne wild yeasts, before being distilled in a copper-crafted alembic still.

Avuá Tapinhoã Cachaça joins a unique selection of cachaças that reflect a pioneering approach in wood ageing, including Avuá Prata Cachaça (the unaged 84 proof version), Avuá Amburana Cachaça (the only cachaça available in America aged in Amburana wood, found only in the forests of South America), and Avuá Oak Cachaça (aged in French Oak casks for up to 2 years following Brazilian tradition).

Avuá Tapinhoã Cachaça (80 proof)
Visual: Clear.
Nose: Grassy, rhum agricole scent with slight butterscotch and spearmint notes.
Taste: Quite dry and slightly tannic with a lot of high, tight bitter flavonoids coming from the wood. As some time passes, the flavors spread out into a peppery and somewhat minty wash on the back palate. A powerhouse of intensity that seems to grow with successive sips.
Finish: Long and with a somewhat numbing sensation.  It tastes like some newly discovered, yet ancient South American tribal spirit.  Nothing else like it.
Overall: A unique artisanal cachaça that will surprise you.  Definitely not a blending spirit, but one that is to be slowly sipped and meditated upon. Almost mystical in flavor and effect.
GSN Rating: A-

For more information go to: Avua Cachaca

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