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.
♝ – 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.