Spirits Review: Tequila tasting notes from the land of agave …

by KeithP on June 28, 2010

theSpeakista and the Boss just returned from a trip south of the border and it was just what the doctored ordered – restful, restful and restful.

Over the past year it is safe to say that aside from rum the single spirit I have imbibed, mixed, craved and learned the most about has been tequila (and mezcal).  This trip was no exception as I managed to consume plenty while away including some damn fine tequilas and mezcals sampled one evening during a private tequila tasting at our resort’s tequila bar.

The bar selected four tequilas, plus one mezcal based on my request to have it included, from a menu of more then 150 – the selections presented below are listed in the order in which they were served along with my tasting notes.

Casa Noble Blanco (Silver or Blanco tequila) – a truly fantastic tequila.  The Casa Noble Blanco Tequila is tripled distilled versus the industry standard of two distillations and it showed through in its absolutely smooth mouth feel. Great agave notes highlight a tequila that also presented soft fruit and interesting grain and herbal notes.  I’m sure this tequila makes a fine addition in mixology-based endeavors but this is a tequila that seems better served sipped either slightly chilled or even over a little ice … that’s all it needs to be fully appreciated and enjoyed.  A few weeks back a TDN them was tequila and it was sponsored by Casa Noble – I only wish then that I had sampled one or more of their tequilas prior to that night in order to pass along my appreciation at their hard work.

Maestro Tequilero Reposado (Reposado tequila) – it was funny but this tequila had the bad fortune of following the Casa Noble; not that it was bad, far from it, it just didn’t hit me in the same unexpected way that the blanco did.  The Maestro presented more heat on the first few sips then did the blanco and yielded a strong agave presence.  The Maestro also seemed to lack a certain roundness and blended quality that the Noble so ably demonstrated.

Layenda del Milagro, Barrica Selection Anejo (Anejo tequila) – I am rather partial to the entire range of Milagro tequilas including their standard, less costly line of premium tequilas, but up to this point I had not tried this Anejo.  Am I glad that this one was selected? There is an interesting sweetness to this tequila that greats your first sip and warms in your mouth.  The always present agave is less forefront than the prior two tequilas sampled allowing the subtly sweet taste to also bring forth interesting soft flavors of dried fruits and oak. A really wonderful spirit that is well worth the higher end price tag you’ll find attached at your local liquor store (should you be lucky enough to find it).

Esperanto (Extra anejo tequila) – oh my, where have you been all my life you little lovely bottle of joy?  On first tasting this masterful spirit I thought I was tasting a nice aged whisky … so much so that I actually asked them to confirm they poured me tequila.  On my next sip I closed my eyes and gave it another go (knowing of course that closing my eyes actually helps my sense of taste and smell … duh!!) and I’ll be damned if this doesn’t taste like a blend of whiskies – a nicely aged bourbon (thoughts turned to an old bottle of Hirsch) mixed with a fine scotch (… hello Mexican version of Highland Park 12 year).  Clearly the extra aging in oak (I was told by the bar folks that his is from four to five years) does wonders creating a very mellow spirit with an agave and grain profile so reminiscent of fine aged grain-based spirits.  What a joy to drink.

Mezcal Zignum (Blanco Mezcal) – not at all what I expected and in a pleasantly surprised way.  Mezcal … love this stuff.  It reminds me in many obvious ways of my beloved Islay’s.  The Zignum is different though presenting a mezcal with a unique flavor profile.  Rounded, very smooth, slightly grassy and not at all overtly smoky.  Yes, that typical mezcal component is there but lingering ever so slightly in the background which helps to enhance the other flavors that are present but it does not dominate them.  This is a nice sipping spirit in much the same way as the Casa Noble Blanco is (or at least this is how I think these two spirits should be treated).  Another surprise and another great find.

Wrap up: over all the team at the tequila bar did a fine job of selecting a nice range of tequilas that highlighted exactly what aging (or non-aging) can do to the spirit.  The first and final two selections really hit home runs.  Earning a coveted First Prize in theSpeakista’s “Total Surprise Category” is the Casa Noble Blanco. Blanco (or silver) tequila is a favorite of mine in as much as it is the truest expression of the agave spirit, non-aged and full of the vibrant taste profile that is agave, and this tripled distilled beauty is simply fantastic.

theSpeakista asks:

1. Thoughts on the above sampled tequilas and mezcals?

2. Have you tried any of these?

3. Any recent mixology adventures involving this spirit?

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{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

Sam June 29, 2010 at 5:23 pm

I haven’t tried any of your other selections besides the Casa Noble, but, like you, I’m a huge fan. As for tequila-based drinks, I’ve been fiddling around a lot lately with combining tequila (mostly silver) and a homemade strawberry-mint shrub. Thus far, my most successful libation would have to be an unnamed drink that incorporates Herradura silver, the aforementioned shrub, aperol, and lime. I’ve also been really into a beer cocktail (The Maldenado) that contains agave, lime, hot sauce, tequila, and negro modelo. The latter is unbeatable on these face melting NYC summer nights. Salud y feliz cuatro de julio!

KeithP June 30, 2010 at 3:58 pm

Thanks Sam — strawberry/mint shrub? how’s it made? do you have proportions for your drink?

the only real beer based drink that i’ve tried (that wasn’t part of some strange drinking game) is the classic Michelada. I am also interesting in trying some of the cool beer-based drinks that Death & Co has added to their current menu. your drink sounds quite interesting and i found a few sources for the recipe so it’s worth a go. I’ll report back post trying it.

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