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Abelha Organic Cachaça E-mail
Tuesday, 24 August 2010 15:00

It's Like Honey To The Bee... 

Abelha Organic CachaçaTheFloatingRumShack.com has said from day one that cachaça is a welcome companion to rum on our journey to cane spirit nirvana.  It’s a spirit that passionately claims not to be a rum due to the variation in production methods and (of course) those people that are passionate about it.  But it could be said to be similar and of course as rum is a sugar cane spirit, so is cachaça – so they are at least siblings!

Abelha was introduced to us quite a long time ago.  Anthony Goh, one part of the Responsible Trading Company (Ltd) spoke to us about Abelha over a year ago and we’ve bumped into to him several times since.  So it’s remarkable that we’ve not written about Abelha before now.  The final prod came when Sarah of Love Drinks Limited, wanted to tell both us and you (the gentle reader) all about the Abelha Caipirinha.  Intrigued we sought out a bottle to see if we could tell the difference between conventional and organic farming.

Before we start I will admit, that I’ve only tried a few different cachaça’s and so my range of experience is limited.  That said, the first time we broke the seal on the pressed metal cap (which seems to be much higher quality than most) the difference was amazing and we hadn’t even got the glass to our lips.

Absolutely amazing amounts of sweet, vegetal notes hit your nose.  The word ‘intense’ is used in the official notes and it’s not wrong.

Admission: I’m still not 100% sure if I’m a cachaça fan yet.  To say I don’t like it would be wrong, it’s just that the flavour is distinctive and something I’m not yet used to.  The manufacturing process for cachaça means that the spirit is not distilled as high as perhaps a rum would be.  This means that so much more of the original flavours of the fermented ‘wine’ can come through.  The closer the distillation process takes a ferment to pure alcohol, the more the spirit loses along the way in terms of smell and taste.

Abelha Organic CachaçaAbelha is a small batch copper pot still product.  The flavour is markedly different from the output of stainless steel continuous column stills.  The thing is that whilst I know Sagatiba Pura is a volume produced cachaça, utilising a stainless steel continuous column still (which does have a small copper section for the appropriate chemical interaction) – the two are not really to be compared.  Sagatiba couldn’t produce the volume of Pura they need to maintain demand using the approach that Abelha use.  Abelha therefore have an advantage in this regard – they can make something truly artisanal.

If you’re a cachaça fan and you haven’t tried Abelha, then you really must lay your hands on a bottle.  It’s an amazing taste sensation, fresh and fruity and I’m sure that the dry finish would lend itself to being a fantastic spirit to work with in a cocktail.  It’s worth searching the web for ‘Oh Gosh!’ and ‘A Mountain of Crushed Ice’ – both sites feature Abelha and detail how they’ve crafted cocktails using this rather amazing cachaça.

I know I bang on a bit about the packaging of the drinks we feature here on TheFloatingRumShack.com, but I really do love the bottle, both visually and from a tactile point of view – spinning the high quality bottle cap seems to be a pleasure in itself – I know you’re worrying I’ve gone mad, but there you are – it’s lovely!

BTW – Abelha (pron. Ah-bel-ya) is Portuguese for Bee, hence the bottle label, but is also a reference to the amazing sweetness of the product and the organic production methods.  It all natural!

You should be able to pick up a bottle of the Silver and Gold at TheDrinkShop.com for £22.99 and £29.59 respectively.

Abelha has a fantastically detailed website - http://www.abelha.co.uk/ - and so I’ll summarise only the basic details here:

Region:  Bahia, Northern Brazil. The climate is hotter and drier than the main cachaça regions of Minas Gerais and Sao Paolo, and the sandy soils grow an excellent cane for producing cachaça.

Fermentation:  While industrial producers use lab or single-strains yeasts, Abelha use natural yeast, cultured from the farm's own sugar cane. The natural variation of the yeasts gives Abelha Cachaça a range of amazing fruit and vegetal aromas.

Distillation:  The use of a traditional copper still to distil Cachaça in small (400 litre) batches results in a difference in taste from a steel column distilled Cachaça which is unmistakable.

Organic:  No artificial fertilisers or pesticides used at any point in the process. Additionally, while it is common practice in Brazil to burn sugar cane fields prior to harvest, Abelha don't use this process as it generates air pollution and adversely affects the sugar cane.

Water:  The water used for fermentation and bottling is from a deep natural aquifer under the farm. It’s got the perfect pH for brewing and it is totally unpolluted.

Aging:  Abelha has two different expressions: a Silver and a Gold.

The silver rests in steel for a few months where as the Abelha Cachaça Gold is aged for 3 years in small 250 litre casks made from grapeira, a Brazilian Ash. This imparts a honeyed and balsamic flavour to the cachaça and adds a little with a spiced note to the palette.

I’m hoping we will get a chance to try some of the Abelha Cachaça Gold in the not-too-distant future.

Abelha Organic Cachaçahttp://www.abelha.co.uk/



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Our thanks go to Love Drinks Limited UK for the bottle of Abelha.



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