I have a decision to make when reaching for Tequila.
Do I choose the influence of the raw materials used in production or the influence of wood in the maturation of that product?
Blue Agave is the raw material – 100% in this Corazón Tequila – but there are a few different production methods that can effect the taste – earthen pits vs brick ovens vs autoclave to cook the agave being some.
I didn’t check which method Corazón used before drinking & have yet to do a back to back taste test of all 3 methods to discern any resultant differences.
However I have done a back to back tasting of Blanco Tequila – unaged – vs Reposado – aged between 2 & 11 months – vs Anejo – aged for more than 1 year – and it does make a noticeable taste variation.
With Blanco it’s all about the agave. The rich earthy notes I love complimented by a spicy pepperiness on the finish usually topped off by an oily mouthfeel.
With Anejo those agave notes are somewhat diminished by the influence of wood. Oaky tannins, vanillas & caramel all make an appearance resulting in a softer more rounded drinking experience.
I begin to encounter flavours associated with aged whiskey – where it’s all about the wood – & therefore generally prefer Blanco.
That’s not to say Corazón Anejo isn’t a fine Tequila – it is.
Smooth & silky, those agave notes are blended expertly with warm woodiness building engaging flavours – but for an alternative to my usual whiskey tipple – Blanco is the way to go.
What’s your preference in a Tequila?
For an article on Tequila production methods read here.
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.
A delightful full on flavoursome agave hit – rich earthiness abounds! It’s what I like in a 100% agave – and it certainly delivers.
A lovely exploration of the tequila genre.
Diamante Reposado – aged from 2 to 12 months in oak barrels.
Usually reposado tequila takes on a slightly golden hue from the barrel ageing – but Diamante Reposado has been filtered to remove the colour – and although exceptionally smooth & easy going with a touch of spice on the rear – I can’t help feeling some of those rich agave flavours have been stripped out too!
Añejo – aged from 1 to 3 years in oak.
A touch of woodiness, a hint of tobacco, a smidgen of smoke.
Añejo is an elegantly balanced & complex tequila displaying an agave base overlaid with flavours emanating from those wooden barrels.
A wonderful combination!
Picking a winner from this trio depends on the angle you’re coming from;
For agave fans – Silver is the truest representation,
Añejo would please whiskey drinkers,
While Diamante Reposado offers an easy drinking platform for cocktails.
For me Diamante Reposado was a bit of a disappointment – but the full on flavours of both Silver & Añejo excited my palate.
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.