Origin: Corrientes, Misiones, Argentina
Producer: Molinos Río de la Plata S.A.
Cut: Classical Argentine
“¡Tomate un mate chamigo!” That means “Buddy, let’s go drink some mates!” In Northern Argentina — Misiones, Corrientes, and Entre Rios — you may hear someone use this hyper local name of endearment. It’s the combination of “Che” and “Amigo.” Che is the term for “buddy” and, of course, we all know what amigo means by now. So we can say that “chamigo” is totally Argentine. Super Argentine!
When I turned this bag over and saw that Molinos was the producer — yes, the same producers of the well-established Cruz de Malta — I was definitely curious. After unsuccessfully finding any mention of the brand on Molinos’ websites, I quickly realized that this brand was just as hyper-local and the name they’ve chosen for it. And you know what, I liked that.
Last night while a friend and I sipped this mate, she said “I can taste the Cruz de Malta” in this, “but it’s different.” I agreed. Think of a lighter, fruiter, and more herbaceous version of Cruz, and you have Chamigo. Significantly less dirt factor going on here. Less robustness and tobacco characters, prominently displayed in Cruz. Less aging.
Chamigo makes for a grassier and sharper version of Cruz, which I appreciate. It’s a bit sharp around the edges and more volatile in nature, most likely from less aging, when the leaves are able to mellow and subtle complexities manifest. Chamigo is snappier and quicker to the punch than Cruz.
Though it’s grassier, pleasant notes are still detected in the bouquet: sweet flowers, light hay, brown sugar, caramel, butter, and popcorn. The green body has whispers of marshmallow, fruit, apple sauce, scintillas of cinnamon and nutmeg. The flavor profile is certainly not lacking character, though the overall nature of the mate would do better with more personality and verve.
Lovers of Unión Suave, Piporé Traditional, Mission, and La Tranquera may appreciate this obscure little brand. You’ll most likely have to be in Argentina to grab a sip, though. With a short strength cycle, but highly stable transitioning between the cycles, we find no “cycle collapsing” as found in Unión, when the mid-cycle totally collapses into a disappointing tastelessness.