September 6, 2006

Leblon Cachaca Review

Leblon Cachaca
Distilled in Brazil; Aged in France
80 Proof (40% ABV)
Typcial Price: About $30 for 750ml
LiveLoveLeblon

Leblon Cachaca BottleWe've had our bottle of Leblon Cachaca for a couple weeks now, and it didn't really cross our mind to question what "Leblon" meant. A last name? An acronym? We weren't sure. But after digging around through their site for a while (a site that has an overabundance of mail nipples, if you ask us) we found out that Leblon is a "hip, upscale beach neighborhood adjacent to Ipanema in Rio de Janeiro."

Sounds like a cool place to be, but does Leblon live up to its hipster name? Read on to find out.

The Look:
Pale and clear. Looks like vodka or a white rum.

The Nose:
Leblon's nose walks the line between citrusy and sugary sweet, and gives off the odor of a lime flavored rum. It smells much rummier than the other Cachacas we've tried, and also offers a pretty heavy whiff of ester and a slight hint of molasses. The Leblon site also says the drink offers "wisps of pear, lichee fruit and fresh honey suckle" and while we didn't smell any lychee we could see where they were coming from on the whole pear thing.

The Taste:
This is where things got interesting. The initial taste is a mixture of sugar and citrus, and there's a definite smack of rum to it - which isn't surprising considering it's the only Cachaca we've tried that is actually referred to by its creators as rum.

Leblon is distilled in Brazil but is then shipped off to France for aging in Cognac casks, and this resting definitely helps ratchet down some of the white lightning aspects that plague some Cachacas. Some of that harshness remains, however, and behind the rummy taste is a dry, astringent aftertaste that is very apparent when you sip it neat.

Some would say, however, that Cachaca isn't designed to be sipped neat, and once we put it into a caipirinha things settled down a bit and the astringency mellowed out significantly. We also thought Leblon held up well in other cocktails, and was a solid replacement for rum in the sweeter drinks we mixed, including a Cachaca daiquiri.

The Verdict:
Good but not great, especially for the higher price. We were a bit disappointed with Leblon after all the hype we've been hearing. It wasn't bad by any means, and we're of the opinion that a middling Cachaca is better than nothing, but we wanted to be blown away - especially by a booze that traveled from Brazil to France to our gullets. All in all we say pick up a bottle if you're a Cachaca completist, and give a Leblon Caipirinha a try (it's available in more and more bars) to see what you think.

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Posted by Jake Jamieson at September 6, 2006 11:14 AM
Recent Comments

Yes.


Posted by: Scooterboy at May 29, 2009 6:34 PM

Boy, the anticipation of tasting this was extinguished rather quickly. Not really what I was expecting or hoping for. Way too reminiscent of the oily after taste from a moonshine taste test in my youth.


Posted by: Hooplehead at May 12, 2009 1:42 PM

I have to say that Leblon was the first cachaca i have had and i was quite impressed. Some of the other cachacas i have tried taste too much like pure alcohol. I have since tried a variety of cacahcas, from the poorly made (the ones that taste like pure alcohol) to some of the others that claim to be premium brands. Most i was still disappointed with - either too harsh or too sweet but still with a burn. I still believe that Leblon is one of the better on the market today....whether they have money to spend or not isnt the question.....its about the quality


Posted by: jack at October 29, 2007 1:39 PM

There is no doubt Leblon is a subpar product, especially compared to some of the other cachacas in market. They have lots of money to spend I guess, which helps, but too many people I know are experiencing cachaca for the first time via Leblon and coming away unimpressed. Try the other ones and you'll be much happier.


Posted by: Cachaca Fan at August 14, 2007 10:48 AM
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