The Top Cachaça For The Olympics

The 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio are almost upon us. What better way to prepare than by getting to know Brazil's most popular spirit!
May 23, 2016
  • 10
    10 Avuá Prata Cachaça
    87
    One of Brazil’s only female cachaça distillers, Katia Espírito Santo, oversees a sustainable distillation process that begins with the sugarcane that’s grown without pesticides and hand-harvested at her farm, Fazenda da Quinta in the state of Rio de Janeiro. The cane is crushed by a spring-fed water wheel and the fermented juice is distilled in copper pot stills. Avuá Cachaça Prata is rested in stainless steel tanks for six months before being hand-bottled.
  • 9
    9 Avuá Bálsamo Cachaça
    88
    Released in late summer 2018, this aged cachaça is part of Avuá's Native Wood Aged Collection. Made from single-estate sugarcane, using four chosen varietals, Avuá Bálsamo Cachaça is aged for up to two years in bálsamo wood. This burgundy-colored wood is native to Central and South America and large vertical casks are produced for aging.
  • 8
    8 Yaguara Cachaça Ouro
    88
    Ouro is Yaguara's aged expression, launched to coincide with the 2016 Summer Olympic games in Rio. It is the brain child of Master Blender Erwin Weimann and is a blend of fresh sugarcane distillate that was aged in several types of wood--two Brazilian woods, Amburana and Cambreúva, and American oak. It is bottled at 42% ABV. Note: The bottle is designed by UK-based glass artist Brian Clarke.
  • 7
    7 Avuá Oak Cachaça
    89
    Launched in the U.S. in October 2014, Avuá Cachaça Oak is a single-sourced cachaça distilled by third-generation distiller, Katia Espírito Santo at her farm in Carmo, Rio de Janeiro. The sustainably-produced cachaça is aged for up to two years in carvalho (French oak), the most commonly used wood for aging cachaça in Brazil. This oak previously aged white wine before its use here.
  • 6
    6 Leblon Reserva Especial Cachaça
    91
    The Reserva Especial is a limited edition aged cachaça that builds on the popular flagship release from Maison Leblon, which is rested in XO cognac casks for up to six months. This special distillate is aged up to two years in new Limousin French oak casks, then blended by Master Distiller Gilles Merlet.
  • 5
    5 Avuá Tapinhoã Cachaça
    92
    With around 16,000 known tree species in the Amazon Rainforest and Brazil being where 60% of this lush jungle sits, the country's national spirit has a variety of native woods to choose from. While other categories like whiskey and tequila may typically only use the same few wood types for barreling, by comparison, cachaça, has access to an almost limitless selection. Released in September 2016, Avuá Cachaça Tapinhoã is barrel-aged in a rare type of wood, indigenous to South America. The tapinhoã cask was reclaimed and repurposed from vintage barrels kept in the distiller's family, and used to age this cachaça for at least 2 years. It is bottled at 40% ABV.
  • 4
    4 Novo Fogo Single Barrel 86 Cachaça
    92
    Novo Fogo is uncommonly serious about terroir. Their estate-grown organic cachaça is harvested and produced according to traditional methods, by hand, in small batches (130 liters each) in a zero-waste distillery in the state of Paraná, Brazil. Single barrel cachaça is also uncommon and they have aged barrel #86 for one year in used barrels from Four Roses Bourbon. These barrels are taken apart to sand down and reassemble with a new medium toast; this is all in an effort to let the sugar cane show through. Only 186 bottles produced, released in 2016.
  • 3
    3 Avuá Amburana Cachaça
    92
    Named for trees that are indigenous to South America, Avuá Cachaça Amburana begins in the single-estate sugarcane fields of Fazenda da Quinta, a family-owned farm located about four hours north of Rio de Janeiro. The hand-cut sugarcane is ground with a waterwheel to extract the juice, which is fermented for less than 24 hours using airborne wild yeasts and distilled in an alembic copper pot still. The cachaça rests for up to two years in casks made from Amburana wood.
  • 2
    2 Novo Fogo Barrel-Aged Cachaça
    92
    This Barrel-Aged Cachaça is made from certified organic sugarcane that is crushed within 24 hours of harvest at the Novo Fogo estate in Morretes, Paraná. It is fermented over 18 hours, distilled once in copper pot stills and aged for 2 - 3 years in Four Roses bourbon barrels that have been taken apart, sanded and lightly re-toasted. Fun fact: The distillery is built into a hill so that gravity naturally lets the cachaça travel from fermentation to distillation to barreling to bottling.
  • 1
    1 Novo Fogo Tanager Cachaça
    95
    Novo Fogo cachaça begins with freshly cut, certified-organic, estate-grown sugarcane that is crushed within 24 hours of harvest and immediately fermented for no more than 18 hours. The Tanager (Portuguese for "little bird") is an expression that is aged in two different types of barrels. First, it is aged one year in Four Roses bourbon barrels that have been disassembled, sanded out and lightly re-toasted. Then that distillate is finished for 2 to 3 months in arariba (Brazilian zebra-wood), which imparts its red color.