July 10, 2007

El Tesoro Tequilas

Bill Dowd photo

The 07.07.07 date was a fun one for many gamblers, superstitious people and numerologists. For Tequila Tapatio in Arandas, Jalisco, it was an anniversary -- 70 years from the day Felipe Camarena Hernandez founded the tequila distillery. As an invited guest for the celebration in Mexico last week, I had the opportunity to try the whole line of its 100% estate-grown blue agave El Tesoro tequilas, including the special Aniversario created for the occasion.


This seven-year-old copper-colored tequila was aged in charred American oak barrels, and the final product is a blend of the best of the small batch. "This is a one-shot. After this, there is no more," said current owner Carlos Camarena. While I didn't care for the Aniversario as much as I did El Tesoro's Paradiso or Añejo, it does have a bold, inviting nose, spice throughout and a smoky bourbon barrel-edged taste that lingers on the tongue.


This is the company's top-of-the-line product, created by the Camarenas and Alain Royer of A. de Fussigny Cognac. The 80-proof handcrafted blend is aged in used Cognac barrels, imparting a certain nuttiness, spice and floral combination to the long-lasting taste. Definite overtones of salt and smoke make this an ideal sipping tequila with tapas dishes: strong cheeses, smoked meats, etc.


This spicy sipping tequila is aged two to three years in oak barrels, which helps give it a delicious amber coloring. It displays a pleasant nose followed by a full, balanced flavor with hints of caramel and vanilla drawn from the oak. Excellent over an ice cube that helps draw out its characters.


Like the Añejo, this product is oak barrel aged well beyond legal requirements -- 8 to 11 months instead of the mandatory two. It is rich, mellow, with wood and vanilla notes


This sweetish tequila is good for cocktail mixing. It is made from the sweetest part of the agave plant and bottled within 24 hours of distillation to maintain that bold, traditional tequila taste.

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