Review: Salto Cachaca
Infusing a spirit with any number of (typically fruit) flavours has long been a trick of the spirit brands who want their product to appeal to a non-traditional customer base. Vodka is of course the category that has received the most attention from ‘flavour infusers’ but recently other spirits have gotten in on the act. One product is a Brazilian cachaca by the name of Salto. Cachaca has always been an underrated spirit in my book, but will infusing it with “citrus” help enlighten the masses as to it’s interesting and delicious flavours?
There is decidedly little information available as to what Salto actually contains other than cachaca, (presumably a blend) and “citrus”. There is certainly no attempt to cash in on the ‘provenance’ market by claiming it is made by any artisanal method or using high-end ingredients. Interestingly it weighs in at only 24%, which surely means it has been deliberately diluted to this low ABV, rather than it being a result of with the aforementioned citrus, as diluting a neat cachaca with citrus to this level would surely result in an undrinkable spirit.
First impressions of this product reveal a distinct similarity to lemon and lime cordial. On the nose the citrus dominates but there is also a smoky aroma that I certainly wasn’t expecting. I can fully appreciate this is not a product designed to be consumed neat and I can only recommend heeding my advice not to try. The intensity of the citrus combined with smoke and cordial sweetness is not a good combination.
It would be unfair to make conclusions on this product without mixing it, particularly considering the marketing makes no bones about the fact this is a product designed to be drunk ‘long’. In a caipirinha (3/4 lime in wedges muddled, 2oz cachaca, 0.25oz sugar syrup) it works surprisingly well. The smokiness provides an interesting depth and compensates for the lack of vegetal cachaca ‘kick’ that I normally look for. I’m less convinced by the citrus flavouring which makes the fresh lime taste a little artificial. Playing around with different mixers reveals several palatable combinations but none that would get a cocktail enthusiast excited. The problem is, as with so many products that attempt to flavour a base spirit, that there is very little going on in the cachaca end of things. I’m afraid it all ends up tasting like cheap cachaca with lemon/lime cordial added.
Salto is clearly trying to bring Cacha to the mass market by producing this flavoured spirit. As commendable as this may be, they have unfortunately gone too far in compromising on quality. The essence of what makes a great Cachaca is lost and the result is just another (slightly weirdly) flavoured spirit.
Salto Cachaca is available to buy from Master of Malt.
★: Terrible, only drink for a dare.
★★: Meh, not undrinkable but best left alone.
★★★: Reasonable, middle of the road.
★★★★: Tasty stuff, well worth seeking out.
★★★★★: Incredible, booze doesn’t get better than this. You need a bottle in your life.