Leblon Reserva Especial

Leblon Reserva Especial-RG1

Product of:  Brazil
Aged:  up to 2 years
Price: $18 / 375ml
Alcohol: 40% ABV 
Sugar: 0-5 g/L 
(estimate)
Context:  Aged Cachaça 
RG Rating: 9.5

Tasting Notes
The striking walnut brown color is darker than you’d normally expect to see from a spirit aged only two-years, the shade likely due to the use of new French oak casks with plenty to give.  After swirling, legs beads form slowly and eventually become slow-moving legs, heaping upon each other but in no hurry to return to the spirit below.  Some never make it back, instead hanging in suspension at the upper reaches of the swirl trace.  Leblon Reserva Especial is a visual treat.  But the proof is in the aromas and the tasting …

… and it smells more like some well-aged rhum agricoles found on Guadeloupe than what we normally expect from an aged cachaca.  Rich scents of caramelized cane sugar, pecans and nutmeg replace the raw sugarcane grassiness typical of Brazil’s national spirit.  An initial taste exposes an exuberantly young spirit , healthy of heart and powerful in flavor, again reminding me more of a rhum agricole from the French West Indies than a Brazilian cachaca.  I shouldn’t be so surprised, as the two are closely related cousins separated mainly by distance, culture and a name.  The finish is warm, spicy and leaves a lasting impression at the top of the throat.

Anecdotes
Leblon is produced in Minas Gerais, often regarded by Brazilians as their premier cachaça producing region. Leblon cachaça originates from fresh cane juice, then proprietary yeasts are introduced.  The  mash is fermented for the better part of a day, resulting in a low-wine that is single-batch distilled in alembic copper pot stills.  The spirit is aged for up to two years in new French Limousine oak.

Leblon Reserva Especial Label-RG1 crop

Opinion
Leblon Reserva Especial is a special treat, perhaps the finest cachaca available in the USA.  Even in my travels through Brazil I rarely encountered such a flavorful cachaca, and not at this ridiculously affordable price.

Reviewed:  November 2016 at the Rum Gallery, USA. 

© Dave Russell 2017