Gran Patron Platinum

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Rating: ★★★★

ABV: 40%

Origin: Mexico

Price: $450 (Aus), $195 (USA)

Match with: A mild to medium maduro cigar, lime tart, acidic citrus based desserts

Patron are known for picking Agave plants with a higher sugar content, which, when fermented and then distilled, are said to produce a very distinct flavour profile. For Gran Patron Platinum, Patron take the Blue Agave selection  a step further by removing leftover sprouts from any Agave before that Agave is baked. This is believed to remove bitterness while ensuring the highest sugar content possible. The tequila is then triple distilled, aged for a select period and placed in beautiful crystal bottles.

On the nose the tequila releases rose petals, Turkish delight and very clean agave with notes of caramel, pepper, Chinese five spice, lemon and tangy citrus. On the palate the tequila is very smooth and light, with a bite of cinnamon and pepper that recedes into agave with undertones of earthy honey progressively sweetening into the finish, increasingly becoming sugary and crystalline with lingering zest, floral notes and sweet clean ethanol evapourating from the base of the tongue. The finish offers lingering clean ethanol and earthy notes with pepper and agave.

Overall, Gran Patron Platinum is a super smooth tequila with an underlying sweetness that softens the agave and spice. The alcohol itself is very clean and, in my opinion, it seems to have been masterfully distilled.  Having been distilled three times, some of the agave flavour seems to have been stripped away and the ethanol in the tequila dominates towards the finish, releasing vodka-like notes. The flavours are there, but very astringent and it almost tastes similar to inhaling hand running alcohol at times. I am not sure this is what I had expected of an ultra-premium tequila, especially one that sells in Australia for $450. I would not pay even a quarter of that price for this tequila, but the crystal bottle will make a beautiful decanter! Make no mistake, this is nice tequila – it is just overpriced, over-hyped and, to be frank, nothing special in my humble opinion.

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)

Espolón Reposado Tequila


Spirit Type:
Rating:
★★★★★☆
Score:
87/100 
ABV:
40% 
Region:
Jalisco, Mexico 
Body:
Full 
Intensity:
Medium 
Texture:
Medium 
Balance:
Superb (more earthy) 
Best served:
Neat, this is a sipping tequila  
Theme(s):
Very earthy, black dirt, musty, rich roasted agave, green pineapple, peppercorns, pickles, waxy
Tasting notes:
Nose: The blackest dirt describes the musty earthiness that wafts up from the glass, as this 100% blue agave tequila releases its rich roasted aroma and bitter-sweet unripened pineapple with some green peppercorns that have been picked and preserved in vinegar   
Taste: Smooth and almost waxy, the roasted agave takes centre stage as the rich earthiness dominates while the gentle sweetness of soft tropical fruits such as a more ripened pineapple develops with gooey pulps of aloe vera and a light smokiness. All the while a floral bouquet lingers in the backdrop and the aging of this tequila (being a “reposado”, it is aged for more than two months but less than a year) has certainly ironed out some ripples while adding some dry wood character and mild nutmeg notes. 
Finish: The light smokiness from the dry wood is more noticeable towards the end, as strong agave rests on the base of the tongue with some petals 
Likes:
Super smooth, almost waxy, tequila with dense earthiness and rich blue agave. This is not as sweet as some tequila, but if you appreciate an earthy tequila you should try this beauty 
Dislikes:
It can be a bit too earthy and in this regard, intense and skewed. This becomes more pronounced as familiarity with the tequila increases over the life of the bottle  
Price:
$45 

Herradura Seleccion Suprema Extra Anejo ★


Spirit Type: 
Tequila
Score:
91/100 
3, medal, silver icon

ABV:
40%
Region:
Mexico  
Body:
Medium-full 
Intensity:
Medium 
Texture:
Medium 
Balance:
Heavenly  
Best served:
Neat 
Theme(s):
Cocoa, toffee, dried fruit, oak 
Tasting notes:
The aroma of tobacco and creamy dark chocolate wafts up with spicy oak. The dark chocolate moves to the palate with surges of vanilla and dry wood while the lovely agave sweetly shines with praline which ignites into fructose that become slightly tart and bitter on the finish almost like tea leaves with powdered cocoa  
Likes:
Complex richness and lovely agave theme  
Dislikes:
– 
Price:
$550 

Patron Anejo Tequila



♝ – 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.

Patron Anejo

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.  

Nose
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.
Taste
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.
Finish
With an almost dull spark this tequila radiates from the tongue with a lovely earthiness.
Overall
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.