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Drink Review: Cachaca 51 Pirassununga

Cachaca 51 is an unaged white cachaça. Made from top quality cane varieties in Brazil’s plantation heartland. It is the biggest selling brand of its type in the world (as of 2013), and indeed second best selling of all world spirits. This makes an excellent Caipirinha.

Cachaca 51 Pirassununga Review:

Appearance:
Golden, viscous with a thin, brown film of wax on the surface. The thick head is slightly fizzy with plenty of fine bubbles.

Golden, viscous with a thin, brown film of wax on the surface. The thick head is slightly fizzy with plenty of fine bubbles.

Nose:
Sugary as expected. Apples, wooden barrels, banana, vanilla, spices. Slightly alcoholic.

Sugary as expected. Apples, wooden barrels, banana, vanilla, spices. Slightly alcoholic. Mouth: A sweet, lingering finish with a touch of heat. Not as smooth as you might expect. Still massively sugary.

A sweet, lingering finish with a touch of heat. Not as smooth as you might expect. Still massively sugary. Closing: Medium in length but a sweet, warming, inky finish. The herbs and spices carry the day until the end. A very enjoyable cachaça cachaça.

Medium in length but a sweet, warming, inky finish. The herbs and spices carry the day until the end. A very enjoyable cachaça cachaça. Score: 16/20

Cachacas can be drunk chilled or served at room temperature. I like mine chilled, but my partner prefers it at room temperature. This is one of the very few cachaças where I completely agreed with her opinion. You can see more of my Cachaça reviews.

It is a great looking pinkish, caramel coloured cocktail with an intense fresh lime flavour. It makes a fine people-pleaser, as is often the case.

My effort here is to provide information for those who want to know and perhaps find more about this fascinating spirit. 51 Cachaca is a deceptively complex brew. It has a subtlety of flavour that will appeal to many, and while it is better as a mixer, it is still a quality spirit in its own right.

I would say the classic Liqueur Caipirinha is the drink to go for. Many have a citrus peel as garnish. A common addition to this is stalk lemon, since it is a native element of Brazil. However, as far as I am aware I have never seen it in the UK. My sister has also told me that it is not as widely available in the UK as it is for example, in Brazil. The ingredients are simple; fresh lime juice (paste, puree or fresh), sugar and ice.

The Cachaca 51 is a blend of over 23 different vintages. The 51 refers to the year this blend was first bottled. The original cachaça recipe was passed down through the family and tweaked a bit as it passed through the generations. It is a blended product using a great deal of research, and it shows. Through all the decades I have seen, a number of local spirit companies have achieved great success with their own blends in Brazil.

My own tasting notes at best are poor as I tend not to bother, but I do remember it becoming available in the UK in about 2005 (although I have seen it for some time before that already).

The Cachaca 51 is made from top quality sugar cane variety, grown mostly in the state of Paraiba at the heart of Brazil’s sugar cane fields on the eastern bank of the Rio de la Plata, which is actually a huge river. It is distilled in a small family-run distillery and then bottled here in Ynysforoedd in south Wales, UK. It is then shipped to the USA, Europe and, of course, Brazil. The Cachaca 51 is then exported back to Brazil where it is then bottled and shipped back to the UK and elsewhere.

This particular blend is one of the largest success stories, thanks to one of Brazil’s favourite exports, caipirinha, which originated in the northern state of Bahia and became popular during the colonial era.

The brand Cachaca 51 has become an expression of Brazilian popular culture. It has become a drink with great personality and can be associated with Brazilian street culture, especially in Rio and Sao Paulo, where it gains a reputation for being the “poor man’s champagne”.

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Written by Mark Adams

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