As tequila finishing is now a ‘thing’ in Irish Whiskey – see JJ Corry The Battalion & Killowen Experimental Series Tequila Cask – along with the fact tequila distillers Jose Cuervo own Bushmills – I thought an exploration of the category would be fun.
Tequila is a highly regulated spirit.
The governing body – Tequila Regulatory Council (CRT) operate strict guidelines as to what is – or is not – allowed under the Official Standards of Tequila – or NOM – which are available at crt.org.mx
Jose Cuervo is the biggest selling Tequila brand in the world – stats from 2019 here.
The brands bottles are readily available in Ireland & I picked up their Especial Reposado for appraisal.
All tequila has to be made with the blue agave plant in Mexico.
If it doesn’t state ‘100% agave’ – like this especial – it must contain a minimum of 51% agave. The remainder can be made up of permitted additives; caramel colouring, natural oak extract, glycerin & sugar syrup for example.
This obviously effects the tasting experience.
So how did I find Jose Cuervo Especial Reposado?
Well – initially that distinctive pungenty earthy agave aroma greeted me – but it was overlaid by a sweet & slightly sickly caramel I dislike in many a whiskey.
The palate was very smooth & easy – just lacking a rich powerful earthiness – which is what I’m after in a tequila.
Only on the finish did those lovely agave notes resurface as it gently dried out leaving a peppery spice.
This is mass market stuff.
Simple, sweet, easy & smooth.
And it sells well.
It’s the equivalent of many a blended whiskey & exhibits the same sweet caramelly notes that – on my palate at least – hide the purity of the agave – or subtleties of the barley – depending on your drink of choice.
Just like whiskey – to get the better stuff you usually have to pay more.
But those tequilas are harder to find in Ireland.