Cachaca - rum's older Brazilian cousin
At Novo Fogo people are committed to maintaining the identity of their clean, healthy sugarcane when distilling it into cachaça. The sugarcane is processed minimally, according to traditional methods and using human hands, in tiny batches (130 liters each), and without the use of chemicals (hence the USDA organic certification). In the end, you should be able to taste the rainforest in Novo Fogo cachaças. Novo Fogo grows sugarcane organically, without the use of chemical herbicides, pesticides, or fertilizers, which would make their job easier but would be detrimental to the fragile rainforest ecosystem. Instead of using machines or burning the fields prior to harvest, Novo Fogo relys on the capable hands of a small field team that cuts the cane with machetes. To ensure freshness, the cane is immediately transported to the nearby distillery building within hours to be pressed. After the harvest the canes are being squeezed to remove the juice from the cane, a few stalks at a time. This juice contains about 15% sugar, so it’s sweet, vegetal, and slightly savory. The dried up sugarcane pulp is the first byproduct, but it won’t be thrown away: it’s called bagaço, and Novo Fogo uses it as fuel the fire that makes steam for the still and also it is used as natural compost to fertilize the fields. Once the sugarcane juice has been filtered, wild yeast is added which is cultivated from the cane. During fermentation, the yeasts convert sugars into alcohol in less than 24 hours, producing a wine of approximately 7%-9% ABV. Using steam from a bagasse-burning furnace, the sugarcane wine is heated in the copper pot still. The alcohol in that mixture evaporates before water and other organic compounds, and these vapors are condensed back into liquid alcohol. The best part of that liquid (the “heart”) is captured, while the rest of the distillate (the “heads” and “tails”) is recycled to use as fuel, fire starter, and cleaner. Each 1,200 batch of sugarcane wine yields just 130 liters of drinkable cachaça, about 11% of the total volume. In the Brazilian south, the vast majority of cachaças are barrel-aged in oak barrels. In that tradition, Novo Fogo cachaça is aged in repurposed American oak barrels that once held Four Roses or Heaven Hill bourbon, before being sanded and re-toasted.
A hazelnut nose is continued with sweet and spicy herbs in the palate and finished with lively citrus.