Tasting Cachaça

A Tasting Guide: How to Evaluate Quality Cachaça

Evaluate unaged cachaças as if you were tasting silver (100% agave) tequilas - the similarities abound. Aged cachaça comparisons can be similar to ‘anejo’ tequilas or even scotch due to the familiarity of wood notes.

Regions of BrazilI have just returned from guiding Food & Wine Magazine Senior Editor, Ray Isle on a cachaça, food & wine tour of Rio and Sao Paulo, for this trip I created an evaluation sheet for scoring and organizing my notes. I encourage you to taste as many as you can, learn about their story, their passion, see if the spirit is quality driven or just marketing. There are world-class spirits being made in Brazil, you just have to do a little research. To learn more about what differentiates Beleza Pura® click here.

Judging Guidelines

Appearance - if the product is perfectly clear and bright with no sediment, it should score a 10.

Aromas - if the aromas are clean, complex and pleasant score up to 20 pts. I list some of the descriptives I often find when tasting, note that strong notes of petroleum and rubbing alcohol are negatives. I also list aromas associated with wood contact.

Palate - how does it feel in your mouth? Is it clean/rich/vibrant and balanced? Upon entry, at the mid point and finish? Is it clean, soft, warm and rich or is it hot, harsh and burning. Only evaluate what happens in your mouth - a spirit that is clean, rich and warm (not hot/burning) should score very high - up to 25 points.

Finish - what happens in your mouth after you sip, swish or spit? Is it a clean flavor? Does it last a long time? Is it hot? A long, warm, clean and balanced finish should receive a very high score, up to 20 points.

Tongue - only think of how your tongue feels (after you swallow or spit) - does it burn? Is it sweet? Great cachaça producers do not add sugar! Just like the best tequila, scotch and vodka producers. High scores are given to products that are warm and soft - low scores for spirits that are hot/harsh/burning and/or sweet. Hence a spirit that is warm, soft and smooth rates up to 25 points; with 10 points being awarded if there is no residual sugar, 5 points if it is lightly sweet and zero points if sweetness is very noticeable. Heat factor values at 15 points - with warm and soft given up to 15 points and down to zero points for a spirit that is hot and burning.

Printable Cachaça Tasting Guide

For your convenience, we now offer a printable tasting guide & scoring sheet. This sheet helps you record your tasting experience with cachaças and ensures that you accurately assess the key points.

The tasting guide is available in a standard single format & a double-form format (with smaller text).

www.theodora.com/maps used with permission

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Quality Cachaça