January 24, 2008

Rio D Cachaca Review

Rio D Cachaca BottlesWe're not haters, but there are a few things we dislike intensely here at Liquor Snob. One of them is missing the chance to review some great new booze before a lot of people have had a chance to try it. Another is making mistakes. We're afraid that when it comes to Rio D Cachaca, we did both.

We received bottles of all three varieties of Rio D (plain, lime-flavored, and 'passion') way back in June of '07. Somehow through a SNAFU in the shipping and receiving department, those bottles got lost in the shuffle. (OK, you got us - we put the box somewhere stupid when we moved and didn't find them until recently)

We've finally had a chance to try them and write up our thoughts, but we have one question - did all that extra bottle aging skew the results?

Rio D Cachaca
Cane Rum Imported from Brazil
Available in Regular, Lime, and Passionfruit flavors
80 Proof (40% ABV)
Typical Price: About $25 for 750ML
Available: In Georgia, Florida, Ohio, Illinois, and the Turks and Caicos Islands
Company Line:

Imported from Brazil, Rio D embodies the essence of what a true premium cachaca ( kah-sha-sa ) represents. Rio D is fermented directly from hand selected sugar cane and distilled using a modern, multi-distillation process founded on a recipe that has been developed and continuosly improved since 1532. The result : a unique spirit superior in taste, aroma, and appeal.

Website (Flash Required)

The Look:
The bottle is tall and different from most rum bottles we've seen. It's styled almost more like a vodka bottle, and considering the liquor inside is clear, someone could end up being in for a big surprise. They're color-coded as well, with the regular bottle featuring red artwork, the passion an orange color scheme, and the lime is (surprise) green.

The Nose:
We poured each into a separate glass and whiffed them separately, with the following results:

Regular: Smells sweet and light, with notes of sugar cane, which isn't a big surprise considering what it's made from. Doesn't have the aggressive "holy cow, is this moonshine?" smell we've encountered with some other cachacas; smells more smooth and refined than we're used to. (This goes for the other two varieties as well)

Lime: Adds a tart odor to the proceedings, definitely very heavy lime smell.

Passion: Sweeter than the lime, but still smells intriguing; kind of citrusy but without the heavy tartness of the lime.

The Taste:

Regular: Tasty and sweet without overdoing it. Very smooth, and reminds us of some of the nicer mid-level white rums we've had, but with more sweetness and less of the aggression we've seen in some rums.

Lime: Same as above, but the lime flavor is more up-front than we'd expected. Almost takes over the proceedings, but that's not bad since the caipirinha, the traditional drink made with cachaca, is made with limes.

Passion: Sweet and fruity, this is extremely comparable to some of the nicer flavored rums we've tried. A bit sweeter than what we typically drink, but the fruit makes it interesting at least.

The Verdict:
Rio D was introduced to us as an "Americanized" cachaca, and we'd say that's not far off. It doesn't have the "white lightning," in-your-face aspects of some traditional cachacas, and holds up very nicely against some of our favorite rums. We made some tasty caipirinhas with it, and the flavored varieties added something new to the proceedings, which we liked. We also liked it very much in more simple drinks - the regular variety and the lime were excellent mixed with cola, and the interns liked the Passion mixed with orange juice.

All in all, we thought it was a departure from the cachacas we've known and loved, but sometimes change can be a good thing. We recommend picking it up if you see it, and thought it would be a good value for the price, especially for more adventurous rum drinkers or those looking to make more exotic cocktails.

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Posted by Jake Jamieson at January 24, 2008 8:36 AM
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