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Similarity between cachaca and mezcal (or tequila) ?

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I like good rum and tequila, but have only had the opportunity to try inexpensive cachaca (Pitu) and mezcal (Monte Alban).

I noticed a great deal of similarities in their flavor profiles, but the mezcal is very smoky and the cachaca sweeter - and though I found both hard to drink neat, there are some aspects which show some potential and could be good in a better brand. I mean if all the Scotch I had was J+B Rare I would not think very highly of it.

I was curious to get the thoughts of those with more experience with these two liquors.

I would also add that while I found the cahcaca somewhat similar to a fruity white tequila, there are some unusual flavors in it that reminded me of mezcal.

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  1. Since none of the experts chimed in, and since I've only had one good Mezcal and haven't cracked my Leblon open yet, take this with a grain of salt:

    Good mezcal and Monte Alban have about as much in common as a fine single malt from Islay and a bottle of Inver House. They're both scotches, but couldn't be much further from each other in flavor.

    Good mezcal is very smokey and complex. More similar to Islay scotch than Monte Alban.

    No experience with good cachaca yet. I drink plenty of 51 in mixed drinks. I think the rawness is something of a plus, but I would never pour myself a glass and enjoy it neat. I may change my mind after I try the Leblon.

    4 Replies
    1. re: EvergreenDan

      You can do a search here for Leblon cacacha. It's not very highly thought of. We spend time in Brazil and they have a TON of them and, yes, 'sipping' cacacha is quite different from 51 and pitu (I can barely write this with a straight face :) )

      1. re: EvergreenDan

        Haven't tried the Leblon myself, but a review of every reference on Chowhound to Leblon within the last year returns positive results for a US premium option. The other brands I saw recommended are ones that I have not seen available in my area.

        What premium brand that is widely available in the US would you recommend?

        1. re: EvergreenDan

          Most of the reviews I see of Leblon are favorable until someone tells them they shouldn't like it LOL.

          Actually one rum blogger did a comparison of 3 cachacas and found it bland and uninteresting in comparison to the other two

          http://scottesrum.com/2007/07/30/3-ca...

          1. re: EvergreenDan

            I've been searching for all years and can't find what I'm looking for. Maybe it was a link within a post. I just remember reading that it was just being marketed for the US and was nothing to write home about. (Maybe I dreamt all that!) For that reason I didn't buy it. I bring it back from Brazil so can't help you with buying it in the US but some of the searching I was doing was mentioning places like BevMo and Beverage Warehouse (I think that was it.).

        2. I think Leblon is fine. It isn't the best cachaca for drinking straight, but it's great mixed. Although if you really want a great cachaca for sipping and mixing go with Novo Fogo, Fazenda Mae de Ouro, and then Sagatiba. All these are delicious and if you can't get them in your state, then you can buy all online.

          1 Reply
          1. re: pb n foie

            I wish the mail-order part were true in MA. :-(

            You'd think there would be good money to be made importing a spirit that is $6-8 in Brazil and would sell for $30-$40 in the US if it were really that good.

          2. I am grateful to c oliver for sending me a bottle of Magnifica aged cachaca from her and Bob's most recent trip to Rio. Wonderful, and yes a bit smokey. The only cachaca I can buy locally is 51.
            Cachaca is of course a style of rum, distilled from sugar cane. It has little in common with agave distillates other than pairing well with lime juice. But a good caipirinha and a good 'rita are....good.
            Very few artisanal mezcals leave Mexico, and most never leave Jalisco. When I lived in Mexico City I had the privilege of experiencing wonderful small batch tequilas and even more rare mezcals that are drunk neat, or with a companion glass of sangrita. If your experience with mezcal has only been Monte Alban and you liked it, there is nowhere to go but up. I would rather a smokey mezcal than even a premium reposado tequila.

            4 Replies
            1. re: Veggo

              I wouldn't exactly say I "liked" it, but I didn't find it completely undrinkable and I did recognize some unique aspects that seem interesting. Same for the Pitu. Unfortunately neither style has better versions available locally, and the idea of paying $70+ shipping for Del Maguey is not really appealing to me - especially since I just got a bottle of 18 yr old Laphroaig in PA for $60 (and can get more online for $63), and it is amazing. That;'s a lot of money for me to shell out for something I am not sure I will love.

              1. re: ncyankee101

                Del Maguey has Vida which I found for aroung $40-$45, and I think one other of theirs is less expensive. I felt the same -- $70 is a lot for a bottle you aren't sure of. I'm still smarting from my $40 Centerbe purchase.

                1. re: ncyankee101

                  Del Maguey also has something to do w/the more afordable Sombra brand. Here's the thing about DM, they are truly small batch, artisanal, hand made. They Rre pricey to buy if you haven't had one before and you're learning about Mezcal. With the economy what it is these days I've stopped buying the bottle to experiment. I've have had 2 of the DM and loved them but I'm not spending the dinero like I used to. However, if the economy doesn't affect you, then the DM value is way up there and maybe even surpass the value( though this is all subjective) of an equally priced Scotch.

                2. re: Veggo

                  You, of course, get to special order :)