When consumers hear the word blend in reference to distilled spirits, most automatically think about whisky or whiskey. It’s the distilled spirit that uses the word blend most commonly. And though the definition of a blend varies a bit across geographies, it’s safe to say that the whiskey and whisky categories rely on oak-aging. (Although a slight tangent, I recently saw a Brazilian whisky aged in Amburana!)
But a cachaça blend is something entirely different. First, there aren’t any strong laws about blends. There is no limitation to blending in cachaça creation. In this instance, a blend refers explicitly to mixing cachaça aged in at least two kinds of barrels. Of course, behind these blends is a knowledgeable master blender who is experimenting with cachaças he has on hand to determine whether he can come up with an exceptional product. As with any other distilled spirit, cachaças aged in different barrels aren’t simply thrown together and bottled. They’re carefully crafted and considered.
As I think I’ve spoken about elsewhere, there are other ways to blend cachaça. Some producers will age cachaça in one type of barrel and then move it to another and even a third. And though some producers don’t call these products blends, they sometimes place all of their cachaça in an initial type of barrel and then age it in others. For example, one producer I know puts all of their aged cachaça in Freijo for six months before aging it in another barrel. I think they could call this a blend, but they choose not to. It’s simply how they’ve come up with developing the best flavor for their products.
The other rather outlandish way to create a blend is to make a barrel from multiple types of wood. I’ve seen this practice before but have yet to taste an example. I’m not sure they have been commercialized, but I couldn’t say.
Because so many different types of wood are used to make barrels, there are numerous blends to be created. As cachaça producers continue to show, they do not lack creativity. They work with an inspiring fearlessness, attempting to create new works of art for an adoring public constantly asking for more.
It’s a truly great time to be part of this community and experience the fantastic blends. Master blenders are using their skills to gather the right proportions of aged cachaça to make breathtaking creations.