Espolón Tequila Blanco


Spirit Name:
Spirit Type:

Espolón Tequila Blanco
Tequila 
Score:
90/100

ABV:
40%
Region:
Jalisco (Highlands), Mexico 
Body:
Medium-full
Intensity:
Soft, with more bite on the finish
Texture:
Silky 
Balance:
Excellent 
Best served:

Neat, with lemon/lime, mixed, in a cocktail
Theme(s):
Roasted agave, sweet ethanol, “el corazon”, tropical fruit, earthy, spicy finish 

Thoughts:
Priced at around $45 in Australia and $20 in the United States (remember, Australia has lots of taxes and transport costs), the Espolón Tequila Blanco makes you wonder why other “blanco” or “silver” tequilas command higher prices on the market – it is made from 100% blue agave and follows all the rules of quality tequila production. This is a high quality “blanco” (unaged) tequila with mostly agave inspired notes and at its foundation the golden cut every distiller wants – el corazon, the heart of the run. The sweet stuff. 

In my opinion, Espolón Tequila Blanco is a great tequila for five main reasons:

  1. The pinas are cooked slowly: Tequila is made from the agave plant, which contains “pinas” (Spanish for pineapple). The pinas are collected and cooked to help produce the agave juice that is then fermented into an alcoholic wash (“mosto”) and then distilled. Espolón cook the pinas for 18-20 hours (as opposed to the industry standard of 12) which means that the agave can, as a result of slow cooking, extract more natural agave flavour while reducing the bitterness associated with caremalisation. 
  2. The agave based wash (“mosto“) is distilled slowly: Slow distillation (“alquitara”) is practiced by Espolón because the distillation takes 5.5 hours (as opposed to the industry standard of 3.5 hours) This practice tends to have two benefits for the tequila. Firstly, because the slow distillation (when using a pot still) is usually achieved by using a lower boiling temperature the resulting distilled alcohol tends to be “purer” and does not “carry over” much undesirable compounds. Second, if a copper still is used, the copper is able to absorb more sulfides in the alcohol and accentuate other flavours – the vapours move through the still more slowly and so there is more contact with the copper. 
  3. The tequila is made from 100% blue agave: Some tequilas on the market are produced with “fillers” (these are known as “mixtos”), whereas any quality tequila must be comprised on 100% agave. Espolón ticks this box because it is made from 100% blue agave.  
  4. It is a good price: For a silver tequila, the Espolón Blanco is great value. For example, Patron Silver is about double the price of Espolón Blanco. Patron comes in a nice squared decanter and it is very smooth tequila, but is it worth double the money? I do not think so. I think Espolón Blanco ticks all the quality boxes – it is made from slowly cooked pinas, 100% blue agave and distilled slowly – so it is hard to mount an argument that a silver tequila can be much better by objective criteria. 
  5. It tastes great: Finally, and most important, this tequila is great tasting! It is smooth and supple with a medium body, and has layers of complexity that burst with roasted agave, mild fruit notes and some spice. 
Tasting notes:
Nose: Aromatic roasted agave is the foundation of this tequila, upon which shine notes of mild citrus (limed in particular) and papaya with undercurrents of pepper, sweet caramel and toasted mashmallow. This is fine distilling, with sweet ethanol a constant theme within the agave.

Taste: Smooth, the sweet ethanol bites with the loving nature of “el corazon” – otherwise known as the heart of the run in distilling speak. The agave develops with an initial burst of tropical fruit and more earthiness than on the nose. This is a simple, but elegant, tequila with some bite. The palate then dries, with spice and some pepper.

Finish: A bitterness lingers on the palate, which is drying and almost ashy. With lemon, the tequila really comes out and the bitterness recedes.

An old Mexican man once saw me at Costco (Melbourne, Australia). He saw me buying a tequila and he quickly made conversation. I am not sure if this is common in Mexico, but he highly recommended nibbling a lemon or lime with tequila. That is, nibble the lemon or lime slowly and then sip the tequila slowly. We are not talking shots here, but savouring the tequila. I must say, it really does change the flavours. With a wedge or lemon or lime, I would rate this a 92/100.

Likes:
Sweet, elegant, some bite, great value 
Dislikes:
Mild bitter twang when served neat 
Price:
$45 (Aus), $20 (US)
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