♝ – Good for seasoned tasters looking for complexity
Although this blog focuses on whisky, gaining an appreciation for the characteristics of different spirits helps develop a palate that can discern the distinctiveness of whiskies and in particular single malts. Having tasted and reviewed rum, cognac and Armagnac I was curious about tequila. My exposure to tequila was limited to licking a dusting of salt on my knuckle, chugging down a cheap tequila shot and biting a lemon… that is what I considered the be the pinnacle of tequila. Boy was I wrong!
Tequila is made in Mexico from the blue agave plant, which has a high proportion of fructose. This makes it particularly useful for producing alcoholic beverages. The juice of the agave is then placed in vats for fermentation and distilled once to produce “ordinario” tequila or twice to produce “silver” tequila.
It may also be aged in wooden barrels thereby taking on a golden or amber colour. Tequila can either be 100% agave or a mixture of 51% agave and other sugars. It comes in five different types:
- Blanco or “white” which is not aged or aged for below two months;
- Joven or “young” which is a mix of blanco and “reposado”;
- Reposado or “rested” which is aged for more than two months but less than a year in oak barrels;
- Anejo or “aged” which is aged for at least one year (but less than three years) in small oak barrels;
- Extra anejo or “extra aged” which is aged for at least three years.
The aging process mellows the flavour of tequila, making it smoother and more complex because it takes on the flavours of the barrel. The Mexican government has laws that restrict the production of Tequila (which can only come from Mexico) to a few areas, in particular Jalisco.
The Patron Anejo Tequila is aged for at least 12 months in white oak barrels. It is an extraordinarily complex tequila with robust earthy flavours and hints of herbs and sharp pineapple slicing through the backdrop of wood and nutmeg. Though it is a little skewed to the citrus side, it still offers complexity and depth with a lively electric buzz that is smooth yet strong.
A mild wood with spice and nutmeg gently wafts into the air, as the powerful surge of pineapple and lemon comes with a burst! Lemon leaves, wood, cedar and herbs then develop on the nose.
Silky smooth with an oily texture, waves of sweet, spicy and tangy smack against my palate. Nutmeg, bay leaf and earthy spices are especially noticeable and spread from my tongue to my entire mouth. Then mild wood, spicy pepper and red grapefruit provide some spark interwoven with bitter-sweetness. Mild woody and earthy notes then gently build up with bark and splashes of fruity sweetness like honeyed pineapple and tangy lime leaves. Lemon juice then cuts through the cedar.
With an almost dull spark this tequila radiates from the tongue with a lovely earthiness.
This tequila is sublime, with no bitterness or harshness it slides down like velvet with the sharpness of lemon juice slicing gracefully through the mellow earthiness of oak and herbs as a tangy gust of lime and lime leaves melt into bay-leaf and nutmeg.