Today I am reviewing a book on rhum agricoles brother, or cousin as some may say, cachaça. It is a spirit that is slowly but steadily gaining fans among rum aficionados. Unfortunately, there are not many books written on the subject in English. In fact, the only book I am aware of is “Cachaça” by Milton Lima and Luiz Arkhan, the book I am presenting today. It is produced by the creator of the Cachaça Festival UK, Leszeq Wedzicha, who was so kind to send me a copy of the book, and Hugo Tolomei (the guy who is exploring the world, one drink at a time – SCR). Leszeq, who lived in Brazil for seven years, is an absolute cachaça enthusiast and always eager to promote this beautiful Brazilian spirit. By the way, the Cocktail Wonk had a closer look into cachaça’s regulation. Check out his excellent article by clicking here.
What’s interesting to note is the differentiation between cachaça and aguardente de cana: while the former has an upper limit of 48% abv, has to be from a single distillation and explicitly has to be made in Brazil, the later has an upper limit of 54%, could be double distilled and does not necessarily have to be made in Brazil.
But let’s have a closer look at the book. The hardcover book has 60 pages and is unfortunately not commercially available. It was produced for the Cachaça Festival 2018 which was held in London in April. So you might ask yourself why I am reviewing a book that isn’t really commercially available. Because I think it should be, and here is why.
The book starts with a short history of cachaça production, a spirit that is most probably the earliest distilled spirit made of sugar cane (or its byproducts). Various sources point to early 1500 as a starting point for distilling a spirit made from sugar cane in Brazil, from where this technique was brought by Dutch merchants to Barbados, and a little later to Martinique, where r(h)um was born.
The chapter is followed by a detailed description of 50 cachaças, certainly only a small selection out of the apparently more than 4,000 existing cachaças in the market. The selection is based on the exhibitors of the cachaça festival. Each cachaça is presented on a full page which a short description on the producer and the bottle presented. It also always includes a small map on the Brazilian state it originates from and often a picture of the still it is distilled in.
It’s a beautiful overview on different cachaça making you want to try them all. At the Cachaça Festival one could have done so, shame I didn’t make it. I truly hope this book will be commercially available in the future, hopefully with a larger section on the history of cachaça and a chapter on the cachaça regulations.
So, do you need this book? Well, if you can get a copy, get it 🙂