Top-notch intro to Cachaça world.
In Patos de Minas, the corn capital of Brazil, is a lovely establishment that has nothing to do with corn: the Maison Leblon Distillery. Founded in 2005 by Steve Luttmann, former LVHM Mad Man, it creates premium artisanal Cachaça that borrows from both the traditional Brazilian methods and innovative European techniques of winemaking. Starting the production of the third most-consumed Spirit in the world demands a fresh approach, so Leblon decided for a cool twist, aging the Spirit in XO Cognac casks. Leblon Cachaça is made from freshly cut and squeezed sugar cane grown at an altitude of 1,000 meters, whose juice is then distilled in an alembic copper pot still.
Before it's bottled, the Spirit spends up to six months in 400-liter ex-Cognac casks. Gilles Merlet, the Master Distiller of Maison Leblon, uses all the secret tricks he learned when he produced wine in his home country, France. 4 to 8 different casks are blended together in the end, depending on their features. And the result keeps on wowing people: Leblon Cachaça won a gold medal nine consecutive years between 2006 and 2014, a goddamn record for this Brazilian Spirit. It's quite a marvelous tipple, but as one expects from a Cachaça, it works perfectly in Caipirinha.