I have a bottle of Ipe-aged cachaça sitting in a prominent spot in my collection. Knowing that I would write about it this week, I planned on tasting it. Alas, I haven’t gotten to it and probably won’t until at least next weekend.
Yes, I am a dufus. One would think that by now, I’d be able to coordinate my consumption schedule better.
But I’m not going to let that stop my exploration of this significant wood. In Brasilia, where I live, these trees can be found all over the place. I recognize them because they are the only flowering tree in this area during August and September. If you’ve seen my Instagram, you’ve likely seen a recent picture I took of an Ipe as I was walking back from a run.
Perhaps, most significantly, it is a symbol of Brazil’s identity. Its flower is the national flower of the country. Indeed, seeing it flower in the winter, especially in Brasilia, where nothing else flowers simultaneously, I greatly appreciate its beauty.
As a hardwood, Ipe is particularly valuable. It’s used in a variety of industries besides cachaça, including furniture and construction.
There are different types of Ipe, but according to my cachaça bible, Ipe Amarelo (yellow) is used in cachaça production. Known for its strong flavor and rather brilliant, dark orange color, people deep into the culture love this wood.
Having never tried it, I’ll try to lay off the speculation. As soon as I taste this myself, I’ll let you know.