Recently, I chatted with a friend about the robustness of each of our spirits collections. Yet we felt frustration when going to fix a drink and realizing we seem to be one ingredient short of what we needed. During those times, I often end up pouring a plain spirit over Gläce Ice. This inspired the idea of writing a series tasting various spirits neat and over Gläce. The differentiation of Gläce Ice versus ‘regular ice’ or ‘well ice’ is obvious to us, however, I also want to highlight the importance of having a consistent product embodying the characteristics of a deserving cooling component when enjoying something ‘on the rocks’.
For our fist post on the series ‘Neat and over Gläce’; we tasted Sagatiba Velha Esplêndida, a Cachaça. Cachaça is Brazilian aguardente (fire water) and has been produced in Brazil for over 400 years. The Velha (aged) that we tasted was aged 2 years in tropical wood casks and handcrafted from fresh sugar cane grown in the farmlands of Minas Gerais, Brazil. Although Sagatiba labels this cachaça as “Brazilian Rum”, it differs from rum in that cachaça is made from fresh sugar cane juice that is allowed to ferment and rum is distilled from molasses.
Neat: On the nose: Sagatiba Velha neat in a Glencairn Glass yielded concentrated aromas, sweet smells and smokiness.
Neat: On the tongue: Up front heat, waking up the taste buds on the side of your tongue with a woody finish. The second and third nosing release new scents of smoke. The third sip is slightly less ‘hot’ yet leaves you with a residual smoky taste. Initially, this cachaça is not as sweet as your nose would have you anticipate upon nosing. Subsequent sips give way to more nutty flavors reminiscent of drinking a smoky and peaty whisky.
Over Gläce Ice: On the nose: In a crystal tumbler the approach revealed a sweet scent, albeit slightly subdued from the first impression experienced with the snifter nosing. The approach from the tumbler was crisp and fresh, as though smelling the earth after a tropical rain burst.
Taking a page from the master, Francesco Lafranconi, we followed his tasting technique by first tasting with our nose; then opening our mouths a bit and inhaling again through our nose for a ‘back of the throat’ taste. This second draw yielded a neat earthy taste which immediately gave the transformative essence of a humid climate.
After letting our pour of Sagatiba Velha ‘rest’ a few minutes over G³, we tasted again. The smoky flavors remained, yet the heat of the neat pour was less intrusive and allowed the back of the tongue to experience the flavors without combating the early assault. After a few more minutes it remained smooth, maintaining its apricot color. Over Gläce the smoky flavor had a chance to shine through and the aftermath of a sip compared to taking a long draw from a medium bodied cigar.
We hope you will come back again as we continue tasting spirits and sharing our notes with you. If you would like to join and comment, you can now replicate a tasting experience since the spirit and the ice are finally consistent.
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