Blackleaf Organic Vodka: Crafting Excellence, Championing Diversity, and Redefining Spirits

by The Tasting Alliance Team  |  10.11.2023

Blackleaf Organic Vodka emerges not only as a distinguished libation, a Triple Still Award winner, securing Double Gold in our San Francisco, Singapore, and New York competitions, but also as an embodiment of purity, premiumization, and eco-consciousness. Join us as we delve into the liquid, the bottle, and the passionate organization behind this exceptional spirit.  

Blackleaf’s journey began through an offhand encounter in the town of Cognac, France, when its visionary Founder, Kevin Larkai, was on vacation. During the trip, fate had him cross paths with what seemed to be the only other Black individual in the entire region. It turns out he was a professional soccer player married to a woman there and had become somewhat of a local celebrity. This chance encounter introduced Kevin to Bertrand Laclie, the esteemed owner of Maison Rene Laclie, a fifth-generation Cognac house and an undeniable master of his craft. 

In a moment of inspiration, Kevin, a dreamer at heart, forged a distillation partnership with Bertrand to give birth to an extraordinary vodka, unlike anything else on the market. With a background in Finance and no spirits industry experience, Kevin experienced initial setbacks of growing a liquor brand in the challenging spirits industry. Determined to build on the overwhelming positive response from consumers, he made the decision to breathe life into Blackleaf, re-launching it in 2019. 2 years later he would leave his career in Finance to focus on building Blackleaf into one of the leading spirits brands in the world. 

This exciting venture reached even greater heights when Kevin joined forces with Monté Burrow, a seasoned veteran of the spirits industry. Having worked at the largest spirits company in the world, Diageo, for over a decade, Monté noticed there had always been a huge disparity in diversity when it comes to ownership within the spirits industry.  There are a number of ex-Google, PayPal, etc (big tech company) employees who’ve gone on to launch and create amazing brands. However, Monté is only 1 of 2 black ex-Diageo to own a spirit brand currently on the market.  Together, they embarked on a mission to propel the brand to new heights and establish a thriving business around their remarkable product. 

Blackleaf promises an enchanting visual experience from the first encounter with the bottle. Aligned with the organic character, the bottle is eco-friendly, utilizing less glass than the norm. Its artful design, complete with a matte finish, is bound to captivate the eye. What truly sets Blackleaf Vodka apart is the dedicated team behind this extraordinary product. As a Black-owned brand, proudly crafted in the United States, Blackleaf Organic Vodka exemplifies the spirit of innovation and entrepreneurship. Despite its small, agile team, they boast a wealth of industry expertise that propels them toward excellence. 

Vodka is rarely considered a sipping spirit; however, Blackleaf Organic Vodka puts this to the test. You can expect notes of spiced pear, nuts, and light peppercorn. Although the liquid is so smooth you could simply sip it straight, Blackleaf shines in your favorite vodka-forward cocktails like the Blackleaf Espresso Martini, the Blackleaf Pineapple Mule, and the Blackleaf French Martini (pictured). 

Existing in a crowded space with a striking lack of diversity represents a bold and transformative step toward breaking down long-standing barriers. The inception and growth of Blackleaf not only signifies entrepreneurial resilience but also serves as a beacon of hope for diversity and inclusivity in the spirits industry. As one of the most awarded vodkas on the market, Blackleaf Organic Vodka sends a resounding message: excellence knows no boundaries, and diversity enriches the world of spirits, providing opportunities for fresh perspectives, flavors, and cultural influences. By achieving recognition as a top-tier vodka, Blackleaf not only showcases its commitment to crafting a superior product but also challenges the status quo and demonstrates that innovation and quality can thrive in the hands of diverse entrepreneurs.