So this review I’m branching out at little more, most people associate Tequila with shots and cocktails. Not many think of it as a drink of quality to be savored and enjoyed like a fine malt or wine, more to be consumed at party’s or while on holiday. Now I feel this is unfair and in my opinion people are missing out on some very good spirits. It might not have the history or status as with the likes of Cognac or Single Malt whisky but that doesn’t mean it hasn’t got quality to it.
Tequila is the national spirit of Mexico and does have some strict restrictions on how it can be produced. It is made using Agave a succulent plant that takes about six years to reach maturity, with around 200 different varieties growing you would think this is a plant easy to farm. For Tequila only blue Agave is allowed to be used, most are harvested between the age of seven to ten years old. This allows the Agave to build up vast stores of Inulin (this is what is changed into sugar and alcohol through the fermentation and distillation process), all of which are farmed in selected areas of Mexico as set out by the Appellation of Origin. Most are farmed around the town of Tequila and the highlands east of Guadalajara, with the different zones giving the spirit a distinct character from the Agave grown in each area.
Now the three main types of Tequila are Blanco (silver) which has no ageing requirements, Reposado aged for a minimum of two months and Añejo aged for a minimum of one year. You are also allowed to use a percentage of other fermentable sugars to make the spirit, this is easy to spot as it will only say Tequila on the label and not 100% Agave for the pure Tequila.
Now that’s the introduction to Tequila done on to the spirit itself, I decided to go for an aged one as my first review. I choose the Calle 23 Añejo as I liked the uniqueness of the brand, set up by Sophie Decobecq a French biochemist Calle 23 is a highland Tequila from Jalisco. What makes it unique for me is she distils expression (Blanco, Reposado, Añejo) separately from a different and very special recipe. Double distilling the spirit in pot stills and using Kentucky Bourbon oak casks for her ageing.
The Añejo I sampled has been aged for sixteen months and is 100% Agave.
Nose: An instant sweet vanilla fudge, then comes the earthy notes with some fresh cut grass, a hint of sweetened espresso, after a little time some soft oak notes start to appear..
Palate: Sweet coffee, oak, the fudge from the nose also appears, a nice earthy spice with an undertone of lime, smooth creamy mouth feel, very moreish..
Finish: Not as long as I would have liked but filled with a nice earthy spice to the end..
Well I’m not sure how to compare this, as the only other Tequila I’ve ever had has been Blanco. It was so different the Agave notes were a little subdued but it had more depth to it. Don’t get me wrong it’s not got the complexity of a huge Sherry bomb single malt but it is a multi layered spirit, with so many enjoyable points to it. The smoothness of the drink, the rich mouth feel and subtly of the flavours all make this a rather enjoyable. It probably won’t be to everyone’s likening because of the earthy quality the Agave gives the drink, to me this just added to my enjoyment.
So would I recommend it, well yes I’d say at least try a good aged Tequila at least once. I’d also say take your time with it, drinking it as a shot doesn’t do it justice. It might not be to your taste but then again it could give you a new alternative to your usual tipple.