Category Archives: Tequila

Azteca Tequila Blanco, 38%

Tequila is booming – at least according to a Spirits Business article here – and I’m enjoying the rise of this tasty distilled Mexican beverage.

Especially when it appears in my local Lidl.

Lidl keeps abreast of drinks trends & their own label spirits range is worth exploring – so much so they won Icons Of Whisky Own Brand Supermarket of the year at the 2022 World Whiskies Awards!

Impressive!

So how does their Azteca Tequila Blanco fare?

A welcome earthy agave nose.

Smooth & oily mouthfeel.

The rich agave notes return on the rear with a soft dry peppery spice livening up this very well balanced tequila.

Azteca satisfies my tequila tendencies!

Sláinte

All images authors own.

Casamigos Reposado Tequila, 40%

Bumping into George Clooney in Dungarvan was a bit of a novelty – well – his tequila at least.

Casamigos courtesy CelticWhiskeyShop

The tequila market in Ireland is dominated by a few global players with links to Irish Whiskey Distilleries.

Jose Cuervo is part of Proximo who do Bushmills & Olmeca is owned by Pernod-Ricard who do Jameson.

El Jimador – part of Brown-Forman who do Slane Whiskey – also get a look in & more rarely 1800 – also Proximo – & Don Julio – part of Diageo linked with Roe & Co – appear.

Casamigos is therefore a newcomer to the scene.

George Clooney courtesy BBC website

Originally founded in 2013 by George Clooney & friends, the brand benefitted hugely from his celebrity status attracting a lot of interest. Diageo bought the brand in 2017 and are capitalising on that celebrity link by promoting Casamigos worldwide.

The Old Bank courtesy Facebook

The Old Bank in Dungarvan have an extensive array of spirits on offer – Casamigos quickly stood out for me.

Reposado – rested in American Oak for 7 months – was my choice for this 100% Blue Agave Tequila.

Displaying a dark straw colour in the glass Casamigos Reposado enticed with rich, earthy agave notes & an additional heavy dark sweetness.

Silky smooth on the palate with more of that butterscotch like sweetness.

The signature peppery agave spice shone through on the finish with those butterscotch notes taking me back to childhood days making bowls of Instant Whip Butterscotch flavoured dessert.

Instant Whip courtesy Chronicle Live

Wasn’t expecting that in a tequila!

Good auld George – expanding the tequila scene in Ireland with some gorgeous memory inducing flavours!

Sláinte

Tattoos & Tequila, Vince Hill & Mike Sagar & the timing of celebrity spirits.

The attraction of hell raising rockers & torrid tabloid tales of their exploits appears to be undiminished.

A new mini-series ‘Pam & Tommy’ explores the infamous ‘sex tape’ of former Baywatch star Pamela Anderson & Mötley Crüe drummer Tommy Lee.

Vince Neal is Mötley Crüe’s singer & in this 2010 book his antics, controversies & scandals are laid bare from his personal perspective.

The book coincided with his tequila launch – Tres Rios – as well as a solo tour.

Fast forward to 2022 & despite the enduring gossip around all things Mötley – Vince dead? – and a boom in celebrity tequila brands with George Clooney, Dwayne The ‘Rock’ Hudson & Kendall Jenner all selling loads – I can’t help thinking Vince was a bit premature with the launch.

Tres Rios appears to be out of production!

Sláinte

Olmeca Reposado Tequila, 38%

Olmeca Tequila is found in pretty much every Irish supermarket & is often the only tequila offered at many bars & hotels.

This shouldn’t be much of a surprise given Pernod Ricard own the brand & possibly use the Jameson distribution network for Olmeca too.

I’ve enjoyed a few glasses of Olmeca in various bars.

The nose portrays that signature agave pungency with hints of peppery spice.

The smooth palate lacks a little flair with an accentuated black peppery spice on the finish.

Olmeca Reposado ticks all the tequila taste boxes – but not being 100% agave it does miss out a tad on the flavour front.

Often listed as Olmeca Gold – denoting a mixto tequila where only 51% has to be agave based & Gold possibly being coloured – Olmeca Reposado – also mixto but with barrel ageing – appears to be the bottle supermarkets stock.

In the absence of any alternatives – it does the trick.

Sláinte

All images authors own.

Fear, Paranoia & Tasting By Numbers In The Spirits Category.

There appears to be a palpable fear within the spirits drinking community.

Fear of being ‘gouged’ or ‘ripped off’ by rogue producers.

Paranoia that brands aren’t being ‘honest and transparent’ in refusing to disclose every conceivable nugget of information.

Refusing to taste a spirit until the correct check list;

Trusted distillery – check.

Non chill filtered – check.

Single Malt – check.

Cask Strength – check.

Distillery release – check.

Or whatever criteria you choose has been adhered to.

It’s all so reductionist.

Taste is not defined by what is – or isn’t – written on the side of a bottle.

Taste isn’t made by engaging tweets or larger than life characters.

Taste is the complex interplay of the individual drinkers palate with the fruits of the raw ingredients, distilling process, blending & maturation regimes of the liquid before them.

Someone’s ‘amber nectar’ is another’s ‘gnat’s piss’.

What if all that extraneous information was removed?

What if all bottles of spirits simply stated the legal minimum?

No branding, no advertising, no stories?

Would the spirit taste the same?

Well – yes and no.

Yes in that the liquid – and your palate – remains the same.

Having blind tasted whiskey for the Irish Whiskey Awards over a number of years a familiar pattern of brands & styles consistently rise to the top.

On the other hand slick advertising, where & whom with you taste the liquid as well as your mood on the day can all sway the results.

But is there another fear at play?

Fear of enjoying a drink that is deemed unpopular?

Fear of enjoying a spirit that hasn’t matched your check list?

Or simply a fear of not conforming?

You don’t have to like the popular brands or top sellers.

Just enjoy what works for your individual palate.

Above all – enjoy the journey.

Sample & taste as far and wide as possible – you’ll quickly find your own sweet spot.

Sláinte

All images authors own.

KAH Tequila, Blanco, Reposado & Anejo, 40% to 55%

Meet my new amigos!

KAH, KAH & KAH.

Blanco, Reposado & Anejo.

All beautifully presented in signature ceramic Mexican Skull vessels – which certainly make them stand out in the crowd.

But how do they taste?

Blanco, 40%

Gorgeously rich black peppery spice nose.

Joyfully mouth coating & gently warming oily palate.

Vegetal agave notes mix with stimulating spice on an engagingly long lasting finish.

Class.

Reposado, 55%

Quite a spirity nose.

Only when I got out the magnifying glass did I realise this one’s at a stonking 55%!

Not encountered that before in Tequila!

Sadly – on my palate – the higher ABV gave a mouth blowing experience accentuating the peppery spice at the expense of the more subtle yet alluring agave notes.

Glad to have tried it – but not for me.

Anejo, 40%

Back to a richer, fuller flavoured & rounder drinking experience at 40%.

Less spice, more vegetal agave with a topping of oakiness.

A juicy lip-smacking finish.

Nice.

Thoughts

As is my personal palate preference – Blanco wins out.

The richness & influence of the agave raw ingredients are at their most pronounced with Blanco.

The 55% Reposado is something unique – but detracted from the warm flavours for me.

Anejo was lovely & complex with barrel ageing – just not engaging enough for my palate.

KAH have produced an extremely attractively packaged trio of tasty tequila.

Many may find them gimmicky – but I think both the Mexican Skulls & the rich agave notes within demonstrate & celebrate the joyfully long heritage of Tequila making.

Love’em!

Sláinte

All images authors own.

Jose Cuervo Tequila Tasting, 38% x 6

Global drinks group Jose Cuervo’s Tequilas regularly top the best selling charts.

In Ireland they aren’t doing too badly either with Bushmills coming in at No 3 for the Irish Whiskey category.

The recent hot weather prompted me to sample some Jose Cuervo Tequila.

One positive from the pandemic is a profusion of outlets offering tasting packs to whet your appetite.

c/oCelticWhiskeyShop

This particular 6 bottle selection was ordered from Celtic Whiskey Bar & Larder – although other providers exist.

A zoom tasting accompanied it – I missed the date – but it didn’t deter me from enjoying the tequila!

Comprising of 3 separate ranges – all 100% blue agave & 38% ABV – I chose initially to compare within each brand starting with the Tradicional offerings.

Tradicional Tequila c/oCelticWhiskeyShop

Traditional Silver

That classic earthy agave pungency greeted me with a hint of peppery spice.

Smooth & silky palate topped off with a hearty serving of signature black pepper spice on the finish.

Just what I expect from a tequila.

Traditional Reposado

The agave pungency was tempered a touch by hints of barrel ageing.

More complexity on the palate as the interplay between the raw ingredients used & wood maturation played out & added a hint of oakiness to the finish.

Very enjoyable – although the clear simplicity of the Silver won me over.

A trio of brand 1800 came next.

1800 Tequila c/oCelticWhiskeyShop

1800 Silver

Back – for me at least – to the signature agave & spice combination.

Lovely.

1800 Reposado

Once again – a lovely interplay between the distilling ingredients & wooden maturation.

1800 Anejo

I was beginning to miss the agave influence with this one!

It was there – but the barrel ageing dominated for me & detracted from what I’m looking for in tequila.

All 1800’s were enjoyable tipples – with Silver gaining my affections most.

Reserva Tequila c/oCelticWhiskeyShop

Reserva de la Familia Extra Anejo

A solo offering that stood out from the others with a noticeably darker colour & clearly perceptible & pronounced wooden cask influence.

The sweet agave came through on the nose – but caramels & hints of vanilla more reminiscent of whiskey were evident.

Very smooth, very cultured & very engaging – tequila for the whiskey lover?

For a 2nd round I compared the Silver & Reposado offerings.

Silver Tequila c/oCelticWhiskeyShop

Silver

Traditional’s flavour profile shone through with it’s defining features.

1800 delivered similar – but I found it a smoother, sweeter & ultimately a less exuberant offering.

Traditional for me!

Reposado Tequila c/oCelticWhiskeyShop

Reposado

Tradicional was a shade lighter than 1800 – which suggests a shorter period in wood.

This played out in the tasting.

1800 had less spice, a sweeter & subdued feel to it with the wood influence a tad more forward.

The differences weren’t massive – & would be hard to pick up unless a back to back comparison was possible – but once more – Tradicional won the day.

Overall

As in all these tastings – I like to choose my favourite.

For the sheer clarity of flavours & bold display of the agave used in distillation there could only be one winner for me – Tradicional Silver.

Tradicional Silver c/oCelticWhiskeyShop

What would you have picked?

Sláinte

.

Plain Packaging, Branding & Celebrity Spirits

For health reasons Plain Packaging is now enforced for tobacco products in Ireland & it could well follow for alcohol.

Plain packaging c/oPackagingNews

A recent report highlighted the issues involved – from the brands position – but It did set me wondering.

I drink whiskey to enjoy the taste.

Fancy packaging, back stories & celebrity endorsements may enhance the experience – but the liquid inside the bottle & how my palate perceives it is paramount.

As I’m currently judging this years Irish Whiskey Awards I note all the samples come in plain packaging – albeit without the health warnings.

Blind whiskey judging c/othewhiskeynut

This is to strip out any bias – conscious or unconscious – towards particular brands or distilleries & lets the whiskey speak for itself.

Branding clearly works. It’s why companies spend vast amounts of money establishing a ‘relationship’ with the customer.

Celebrity endorsements are an extension of that process & are part of the cultural fabric today.

McGregor c/oProperTwelve

From Conor McGregor to Graeme McDowell – note the different reception shown to both – George Clooney to Rita Ora – celebrities boost sales.

Prospero Tequila c/oSpiritsBusiness

Whiskey bloggers also court celebrity status promoting merchandise & image over and above actual content.

Love it or loath it – branding abounds.

Whether your whiskey comes in Plain Packaging or not, is promoted by a superstar or just recommended by a popular blogger or not, rest assured the whiskey flavour remains the same.

How your palate experiences & interprets that flavour is unique to you.

Whiskey in a Tuath glass c/othewhiskeynut

Pour yourself a measure & let the whiskey do the talking.

Sláinte

Tequila Reserva 1800 Silver, 40%

Tequila appears to be the new ‘in thing’ with rising sales across the world.

Moving beyond the salt-lemon-tequila shot of yore are more upmarket brands made using 100% agave that can be appreciated neat for the pleasing flavours within.

Tequila in a Tuath c/othewhiskeynut

1800 Tequila is one of those brands.

Available in supermarkets across the UK & more specialist outlets in Ireland – 1800 is presented in an attractively designed bottle that catches the eye.

The contents pleased my palate too!

Tequila miniature c/othewhiskeynut

This Silver variety – unaged tequila – exhibits a rich earthy & vegetal agave nose coupled with a luxurious mouthfeel topped off with those signature cracked pepper spices on the finish.

1800 is a classy tequila.

Isn’t it about time you explored tequila?

Arriba, abejo, al centro, pa’dentro!