Companheira Extra Premium Carvalho

Companheira Extra Premium Carvalho cachaca review by the fat rum pirateCompanheira Extra Premium Carvalho. This is the third cachaca from Companheira that I have reviewed. Confusingly, one of those cachaca’s was also called Companheira Extra Premium minus the Carvalho part. However, it is also aged in Carvalho (oak).

The difference between the two products seems to be a simple case of age. So although both are noted as “Extra Premium” (a nonsense in itself) this one has been aged in oak barrels for 4 years as opposed to 8 years for the Extra Premium. How this makes them both “Extra Premium” is beyond me.

Companheira (Companion in English) Extra Premium Carvalho is produced in Jandaia do Sul, Parana state. Which is not overly famous for its cachaca production.

Companheira was founded by Natanael Carli Bonicontro, who became interested in cachaca production whilst studying at University. He was given the opportunity of producing a cachaca as part of a Biochemical Engineering class! Sounds a lot more fun than the science lessons I remember from school……..

In 1994 Natanael began designing and building his own sugar mill, which he planned to use exclusively to produce Companheira Cachaca. He chose to name the cachaca Companheira, in reference to the Joao-de-Barro bird which spends its entire life with a single companion.

Companheira Extra Premium Carvalho is produced from hand harvested sugar cane from the estate where the distillery and sugar mill are situated in the Ivai River Valley. The sugar cane is harvested during the winter and they use a strain of sugar cane with a high sugar content.

The cachaca is distilled in Copper Alembic Pot Stills and then aged for 4 years in Carvalho (oak) casks. More accurately American oak barrels, so most likely ex-bourbon or whiskey barrels. It is noted it is then “finished” in “first use” French oak barrels.

Companheira Extra Premium Carvalho cachaca review by the fat rum pirateCompanheira Extra Premium Carvalho comes in a variety of bottle sizes and I’ve also noted two different designs which appear to still be for sale in Brasil. The bottle design has been changed this year. It is the one at the top of this review. The “full size” bottle of Companheira Extra Premium Carvalho is 670ml and retails at around R$110 (which works out at about £14). It is bottled at 40% ABV.

Much like it’s older brother it comes in a tapered bottle which becomes thinner towards the top. It appears a little taller than the Companheira Extra Premium. There is no presentation box with this cachaca and it is topped with a cork stopper, not a screw cap. Presentation wise it is quite modern and would certainly not unusual or out of place in amongst premium rums. A 500ml version (pictured at the bottom of this review) is also available.

For further information they have their own website.

Now I really enjoyed the Companheira Extra Premium Carvalho, so I’m hoping this younger version is enjoyable as well.

So let’s crack on then and see how this little taste of Brasil goes down….

On the nose Companheira Extra Premium Carvalho is surprisingly fruity, with some strong notes of white grapes and exotic fruits – lychees, passion fruit and a touch of guava.  Further nosing reveals some buttery notes, a nice waft of vanilla and some very gentle oak spices.

It’s a very pleasant nose with a slightly perfumed note to it as well. Very nicely balanced.

Sipped, it is woodier than the nose suggests. It is also a little more substantial. It’s quite a wood driven spirit but its not over the top in terms of the oak influence. In many ways it’s quite rum like. Quite molasses rum like as well, surprisingly.

So the initial sip is quite spicy with notes of vanilla, bourbon-esque notes, cocoa nibs and a kick of ginger. Further sips reveal a cognac like fruity note – white grapes and a touch of pear.

In terms of the mid palate Companheira Extra Premium Carvalho, develops into a very nicely balanced mix of dark chocolate, vanilla, oak spices and a touch of barrel char.

It’s really nicely balanced throughout the sip and I do not feel the need to mix this. It’s the kind of cachaca I do not feel will really benefit from doing so with. Yes I’m sure it would work well but I think you’d certainly lose some of the subtler spices and complex notes in this spirit.

Companheira Extra Premium Carvalho cachaca review by the fat rum pirateFinish wise, is perhaps where Companheira Extra Premium Carvalho shows its age. It may also be a combination of the pedestrian 40% ABV. It seems to fade out a little quicker than I had anticipated. The initial entry is great. The mid palate builds nicely and the finish is pleasant enough. However despite a reasonable amount of oak and spice, it just seems to disappear a little too quickly.

That said though, this is a more than decent cachaca. Certainly a good reference point to the Companheira Extra Premium.

 

 

 

 

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