Leblon Cachaca Review
Distilled in Brazil; Aged in France
80 Proof (40% ABV)
Typcial Price: About $30 for 750ml
We'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.
Pale and clear. Looks like vodka or a white rum.
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.
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.
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