Thoquino (Silver) Cachaca
Review: Thoquino Silver Cachaca 77/100
a review by Chip Dykstra (Aka Arctic Wolf)
Posted on Aug 22, 2013
Cachaca Thoquino has been produced for more than a 100 years by the Aquino family, in Sao da Barra, (the Campos area) north of Rio de Janeiro. This is a traditional sugar cane region within Brazil, and in fact the harvest of sugar cane in this area can be linked back to the earliest settlement of the Brazil sometime between the late 15th and early 16th centuries. The “Thomaz de Aquino” company is amongst the few distilling companies to own its own sugar cane plantations. Therefore the company controls the entire process from the cane field to the Cachaca in the glass.
The Thoquino Cachaca is being marketed outside of Brazil by Giffard Dupius a spirits company well-known for their specialty liqueurs and syrups. In my home market, Nons Drinks To Go (Giffard Canada) is the local distributor, and they provided my sample.
In The Bottle 4/5
The Thoquino Cachaca arrives in the tall rectangular bottle shown to the left. The bottle is pretty standard for a mixing spirit being designed to be easy to grab, easy to hold in one hand, and most importantly easy to pour when mixing cocktails. A Toco Toucan rests upon the stylized “Thoquino” label giving the product an authentic Brazilian look. I am not fond of the metallic screw-cap closure, as anyone who had read my reviews knows, I wish all spirits producers would get rid of these inferior closures and move to threaded plastic closures. However, I recognize that this is a mixing spirit, and I understand that economics dictates many decisions with respect to bottle presentation..
In the Glass 7.5/10
The Silver Thoquino Cachaca displays itself as a clear spirit without colour or evidence of aging. It has a warm, musty, vegetal quality in the glass. The initial aroma reminds me both of blanco tequila in that I sense an agave-like fruitiness with spicy white pepper, and very rum-like in that I sense the mildly sweet aroma of sugar cane with hints of banana and citrus, Although the impressions of tequila and white rum are in my mind, I must point out that the spirit has its own character. It carries more esters and musty fruit-like impressions than white rum, and it has a stronger vegetal presence in the glass than tequila.
The scents and smells seem to warn me away from attempting to sip the spirit neat, while at the same time they seem to beg me to mix with fresh citrus fruit.
In the Mouth 46.5/60
Although, the spirit is not meant to be sipped, I did partake of a few cautious small swallows for the sake of my tasting notes. For a Canadian who is not accustomed to Cachaca, the flavours remain strange and elusive to me. The Thoquino is peppery on the tongue with flavours of white pepper, sharp citrus zest, and underlying fresh pineapple. It is vegetal and musty, carrying flavours of dry grass, zucchini, and grilled plantain. There is much more, but putting a label to these strange flavours is very difficult.
The national cocktail of Brazil is the Caipirinha, and as Thoquino Cachaca is a mixing spirit, this is where my cocktail explorations begin. The Thoquino impressed its flavour strongly into the cocktail experience bringing more spice and more vegetal fruit flavour into the bar drink than I expected. I found that I preferred to add some soda changing my traditional Caipirinha into non traditional tall cocktail. I followed this lead by mixing a cocktail I normally reserve for Gin, the Darby, adding ice and soda and replacing the Gin with the Thoquino Silver (see recipe below). The result was very appealing to me. I could definitely sit on my back deck on a hot summer’s day and enjoy myself with this tall drink.
In the Throat 11.5/15
I am going to describe the finish as warm and lightly musty; earthy with strong vegetal fruit flavours; with a moderate amount of agave-like spiciness residing upon the palate and the back of the throat after the swallow. These impressions have been consistent from nose to palate to aftertaste.
The Afterburn 7.5/10
Thoquino Silver Cachaca is more flavourful than either the Leblon Cachaca or the Pitu Cachaca which I reviewed earlier this summer. I found the richer flavour rather intimidating, and I preferred to mix more soda into my cocktails as a result. I suspect someone more familiar with Cachaca may have a very different reaction and would enjoy the spirit much more without the added soda water in their cocktails.
Having said all of that, my review reflects my viewpoint, and my enjoyment, not some hypothetical person or connoisseur whose viewpoint I can only guess at. The score I have arrived at, (77/100) accounts for my enjoyment of the long tall cocktails which I constructed.
If you are interested in comparing more scores, here is a link to my other published Cachaca Reviews.
The Mad Darby
(an Arctic Wolf Cocktail)
1 3/4 oz Thoquino Silver Cachaca
3/4 oz fresh Grapefruit Juice
2 tsp crystal sugar
ice (both cracked ice and ice cubes)
Cut the half lime into four wedges
Squeeze by hand into a metal shaker the juice from the two largest wedges
Place the other two wedges into the metal shaker
Add 2 teaspoons sugar and 3/4 oz of Grapefruit Juice
Muddle (mash the ingredients together using a muddler or a wooden spoon)
Add 1 3/4 oz Cachaca
Stir to dissolve the remaining sugar
Add Cracked ice
Shake until the sides frost
Strain into a tall glass filled with ice cubes
Complete with soda
Garnish with a slice of lime
And of course, I want everyone to remember that the aim of my blog is not to encourage you to drink more cocktails …
It is to encourage you to drink better cocktails.
You may (loosely) interpret the scores as follows.
0-25 A spirit with a rating this low would actually kill you.
26-49 Depending upon your fortitude you might actually survive this.
50 -59 You are safe to drink this…but you shouldn’t.
60-69 Substandard swill which you may offer to people you do not want to see again.
70-74 Now we have a fair mixing rum or whisky. Accept this but make sure it is mixed into a cocktail.
75-79 You may begin to serve this to friends, again probably still cocktail territory.
80-84 We begin to enjoy this spirit neat or on the rocks. (I will still primarily mix cocktails)
85-89 Excellent for sipping or for mixing!
90-94 Definitely a primary sipping spirit, in fact you may want to hoard this for yourself.
95-97.5 The Cream of the Crop
98+ I haven’t met this bottle yet…but I want to.
Very loosely we may put my scores into terms that you may be familiar with on a Gold, Silver, and Bronze medal scale as follows:
70 – 79.5 Bronze Medal (Recommended only as a mixer)
80 – 89.5 Silver Medal (Recommended for sipping and or a high quality mixer)
90 – 95 Gold Medal (Highly recommended for sipping and for sublime cocktails.)
95.5+ Platinum Award (Highest Recommendation)