As far as spirits go Tequila does not hit my ranking at all. That is not Tequila’s fault but mine perhaps as a result of memories of not so good Tequila in Mexico years ago. But I will admit it crawled from the pages of “Under the Volcano” by Malcom Lowry into superstar status in the United States becoming a huge seller in the last decade. 2020 saw tequila sales in the USA increase by 22% from 2019. In Canada Tequila at last account is in eighth place of spirits consumed.
The El Tequileño costs a stiff $89.95 at the Liquor Control Board of Ontario. It is a Reposado which ranks above Blancos and Jovens but below Añejo and Extra Añejo. At $89.95 for 750 mL I think one has to try it neat as the ultimate test is how it stands on its two feet without being consumed in a cocktail.
It has a pale gold colour. On the nose honey, butterscotch, grapefruit, pineapple and a hint of banana. On the palate despite the burn from the alcohol it is surprisingly smooth. Strong notes of pear, sweet white grapefruit with secondary notes of tangerine, honeycomb and Portuguese custard tarts. Long slow burn of a finish.
Reposado Tequila is aged in American or European oak barrels for at least two months to 1 year. The El Tequileño Reposado Gran Reserva Tequila has been aged at least 8 months in American oak and blended with a small amount of Añejo which has been aged in American oak. It is made from 100% Blue Agave from the premium growing region of Los Altos de Jalisco and mineral rich water from El Volcan de Tequila.
So how do you consume this premium Tequila? Some say it suits Margaritas but at this price I say it deserves to be tried at least initially, neat and naked. It would appeal to those who like single malts and high blended Scotch whiskies or Irish pot stilled whisky. But unlike Scotch or Bourbon there is very little sweetness. I prefer my Scotch and Bourbon neat and I will take this Tequila the same way.
Now when to consume? It could be served slightly chilled to start the feast or after the feast with a dessert influenced by honey such as many a Greek dessert or Mexican honey cakes.. As my knowledge of Mexican food is scandously low I dare not make any suggestions as to food pairings although I understand the El Tequileño private jet is ready to pick me up and educate me for a week on their Tequilas with Jalisco’s best food!
You may be used to me rating wines and beer but as a newbie to Tequila it is best not to venture there. What I can say this is a quality spirit that deserves your attention. Being frank I would require an intensive media trip to be able to speak with authority on Tequila. While EU countries take me here and there for wine tastings I am waiting for the Mexicans to do the same. My personal jet is in the hangar for maintenance for the next month.
Wallowing in ignorance I say give this Tequila a try. There is more to life than Scotch and Bourbon neat!