How about single-origin cacao liqueur, then?
Can turning cacao beans from a single estate really make a difference? Is it actually possible for the individual character of a cacao bean to make it through the distillation process and into the finished product? Well, we’re about to find out, thanks to Brooklyn’s Cacao Prieto, which produces three cacao and rum liqueurs, all made from cacao beans sourced from different estates in the Dominican Republic.
All are made with organic cacao beans, organic sugar, and are aged in oak barrels before bottling at 80 proof. Thoughts follow.
Cacao Prieto Don Esteban Cacao Rum Liqueur – Aged in American oak. Intense bittersweet chocolate on the nose, with fruit underneath — dark cherry, a bit of banana, plus some roasted almonds. Like an artisanal chocolate bar made liquid, the sweetest of the bunch. A- / $58 [BUY IT NOW FROM CASKERS]
Cacao Prieto Don Rafael Cacao Rum Liqueur – Aged in American oak. Significantly more bitter than the others, and bracingly spicy with black pepper notes. Light touches of coffee throughout. Sharp and distinctly tougher, it’s more like boozified baking chocolate — a bit like an ingredient for an exotic cocktail more than a sipper. B / $64 [BUY IT NOW FROM CASKERS]
Cacao Prieto Don Daniel Cacao Rum Liqueur – Aged in French oak. Nutty, and spicy too. Something akin to an exotic, red pepper-infused chocolate bar, though it’s not particularly spicy. Lightly bittersweet, quite pleasing, and with a very long finish. Probably the most balanced spirit of the bunch, not too bitter, and not too sweet. A / $55
So… can different farms in a single country produce cacao beans that can be used to create different spirits? You better believe it.