Leblon Cachaca - Review
The Spirit of Brazil
Is cachaça rum? According to U.S. law, any spirit derived from sugar cane must be labeled a rum. Yet rum is usually made from molasses, whereas cachaça can only be distilled from sugar cane juice. First created back in the sixteenth century, cachaça predates rum by more than a century. Moreover, its production is confined to a single country — Brazil. The third most-consumed spirit in the world, after vodka and soju/shochu, cachaça's popularity is fast overspilling Brazil's boundaries.
Leblon Cachaça is distilled at Maison Leblon in Brazil's fertile Minas Gerais region. Master distiller Gilles Merlet approaches the fermentation, distillation and finishing of cachaça like those of a fine wine. Using techniques from his native France, Merlet manages every detail: from the hand-selection of the sugar cane to the Alambique batch-distillation and light-casking, triple-filtering and master-blending. The nearly-finished product finally rests in extra old Cognac casks from France, giving Leblon a delicate, fruity nose, combined with an ultra smooth finish.
Leblon Cachaça can be sipped straight or mixed into a cocktail. Although cachaça is now mixed into many different cocktails, often as a substitute for rum, it is best enjoyed in a caipirinha. With its distinct taste and party-perfect potency, we can easily see why the caipirinha is Brazil's national drink.
Those who prefer to sip their cachaça straight or over ice will enjoy the distillery's newer offering, Maison Leblon Reserva Especial. Packaged in a slim, dessert wine-style bottle, it is single batch-distilled and aged up to two years in new Limousin oak casks.
Price: Leblon Cachaça, $24 (750 ml); Maison Leblon Reserva Especial, $28 (375 ml)
For more information and cocktail recipes, visit www.lebloncachaca.com.