Novo Fogo Barrel Aged Cachaça

Novo Fogo Barrel Aged-RGX-USE

Product of:  Brazil
Aged: 2-3 years
Price: $35
Alcohol: 40% ABV 
Sugar: 0-5 g/L 
(estimate)
Context:  Aged Cachaça 
RG Rating:  9

Tasting Notes
Novo Fogo Barrel-aged cachaça shows a light, bright gold color, like refined honey.  S
wirling in a tasting glass results in a few well-structured fast running legs before a crown of beads form, and some of them become slower moving legs, most not making the full return journey to the spirit below.

Novo Fogo Barrel-aged cachaça displays a bit of its pot-distilled origin, with some copper smell on the nose and dry sugarcane grassiness, then reveals its youth with fresh oak, scents of heavy flour pastry and some dried fruit.

Sipping, the initial taste is a little sweeter, hotter and spicier on the tongue than the aromas suggested, with flavors of mild oaken vanilla and caramel delivered on a medium weight body.  The spirit finishes slightly spicy with white pepper and residual oaky sensation left on the palate.

Comparatively, the Gold of circa 2011 was a little brighter, younger tasting, with more sweetness to the sugarcane grassiness, slightly thinner of body and finish.  The difference between that expression and the one review here could be due to nothing more than the contributions of different barrels.

Anecdotes
Novo Fogo Barrel aged c
achaça is a package update from the brand’s earlier release, then called “Gold” and reviewed here.  But the new moniker is no bait-and-switch, it’s still the same consistently good juice as it always was.  According to Novo Fogo spokesperson Katy Romdall:  “The Gold cachaça actually is our Barrel Aged, they’re the same product. It’s aged 2-3 years in ex-bourbon, American Oak barrels. For a while we were calling our Barrel Aged expression “gold” but realized that we were going to carry a lot more aged cachaças (that are usually gold in color) and didn’t want to be limiting ourselves with names of colors.”


“We’ve also only recently adopted a new font and label to read “Organic Cachaça” in English versus Portuguese, “Cachaça Organica”. This decision is purely about design and readability. Our old cursive font is pretty but somewhat tough to read. Combine that with the fact that many consumers still don’t know what cachaça is, and we thought it a good move to make it easier to read and put it in plain English.”

In my opinion, cachaça is an under-appreciated spirit outside of Brazil, and certainly here in the USA.  Pity that, because great expressions such as Novo Fogo really deserve to be in your bar and tasting glass.

Opinion
Novo Fogo Barrel aged holds a central position among the aged cachaças available in the USA.  It is consistent year after year, balanced, possessing enough flavor to be enjoyed neat or mixed. I find the aromas of Novo Fogo’s two year barrel aged cachaca to be its most appealing characteristic, among several notables.  It is delicate, with sufficient aromatic complexity to hold my interest to sniff between sips.

Reviewed: November 2016 at the Rum Gallery, USA.

© Dave Russell 2017