After my recent review of Beija cachaça, the good souls at challenger Ypióca (don’t ask me how to pronounce it) sent a volley across my bow, obliquely throwing down a little smack by claiming “every day there seems a new U.S.-made designer brand… wanting to be the next Grey Goose of the category.”
Them’s fighting words, and I agreed to take a taste of two of Ypióca’s cachaças, which the company claims are all aged a minimum of one to six years and are so popular that they’re the largest premium cachaça producer in the world. After 160 years in business, that might be expected.
So does large equal good? I put the stuff to the test.
At first glance you won’t be able to tell the difference between Ypióca Empalhada Plato and Ouro. Both bottles come wrapped in wicker shells, Chianti-style, and it’s difficult to tell by the labels which is which. Both are even listed at an odd 78 proof. But, if you’re up on your Portuguese you’ll know that Prata (silver) and Ouro (gold) might imply some aging differences, a la tequila. But it turns out both are aged for two years, Plato is aged two years in Brazilian balsam wood casks, while Ouro is aged in Freijo wood casks, a tree from the north east part of Brazil. The difference a wood makes is noticeable: The Prata has a crisp and clean cachaça character (sweet and spicy, with none of that gasoline flavor), while the Ouro has a funkier, woodsy tone that’s impregnated with smoke. If you’ve sampled silver vs. reposado tequilas side by side, you’ll have a similar impression when putting these two cachaças against each other. (The company makes at least five other cachaças, none of which I have tried, but wouldn’t hesitate to do so if I saw them available.)
Both did well in caipirinhas and sparkling caipirinhas, but preference was a matter of taste. Both are excellent. Grab ’em if you see them and don’t have to try to order them out loud.
Both are about $25, but the Prata can be much harder to find (and thus may be more expensive; shop around).