Avua Cachaça  Aged in Amburana Casks

Avua Cachaca-RG1

Product of:  Brazil 
Aged:  up to 2 years
Price:  US$45
Alcohol: 40% ABV 
Sugar: 0-5 g/L (estimate)
Context: Cachaça
RG Rating: 8.5

Tasting Notes
Avua displays an off-white, pale yellow color similar to  fumé blanc wine, and appears more viscous than most cachaças, with vaguely defined fat legs running down the inside of a tasting glass.

The aromas are this spirit’s best characteristic, exhibiting sweet, fresh-pressed sugarcane juice, deeply grassy and green-smelling, exactly like the free nectar that flows out of a cane crusher.  More subtle are resiny scents and vanillin of the amburana wood from the cask.

The initial taste takes over from the aromas, delivering stronger flavors of earthy sugarcane and hardwood, not overly complex but certainly pleasant.  The bodyweight is fresher and lighter than the visual clues indicate, whereas the finish lasts a considerable length of time, remaining integrated with cane and wood flavors fading slowly on your tongue.

Anecdotes
Avua Amburana Cachaça is a
ged up to 2 years in casks made of Amburana, a hardwood indigenous to Latin America with distinctly different porosity and flavor characteristics from the more commonly used American White Oak or French Limousin Oak.  Please understand that casks are an active participant in creating the flavor and aroma of an aged spirit.  Wood adds color, aromas, flavor, acids, and usually improves a spirit.  Less vanillin than American oak and less floral than Limousin.

Packaging is entertainingly uplifting, with a uniquely shared rib-textures bottle and slant-top cap and synthetic stopper.

Amburana vs American White Oak
Amburana wood has a specific gravity of 0.60 and density of 42 lbs/cu.ft (dry), slightly less dense and less “heavy” than the American white oak (Quercus alba) used in the ubiquitous ex-Bourbon casks, which havea specific gravity of 0.68 and density of of 47 lbs/cu.ft (dry).  In any case, the two woods impart different aromas and flavors to the spirits aged in casks made of them.  

Opinion
Avua’s Amburana is simply a better tasting spirit than most of the Cachaça’s available in the USA.  It asks nothing of the sipper other than to be received gently, and rewards with a refreshing personality true to its sugarcane foundation.  In addition to evaluating Avua Amburana neat, I sampled it in a basic ‘Ti Punch. Instead of the obvious caipirinha, I wanted the spirt to stand above the extra lime and sugar that go into Brazil’s staple cocktail.  The results were wonderful, adding a healthy measure of sugarcane rum flavor somewhere between that of a rhum blanc agricole and a rhum vieux.  And in a classic Daiquiri with a two or three red raspberries muddled in before shaking, Avua’s amburana wood flavors make a perfect compliment.  Let’s have more like this, please.

Reviewed: November 2016 at the Rum Gallery, USA.

© Dave Russell 2017