November 9, 2008

Jose Cuervo tequila trio

Bill Dowd photo

I sampled this trio of distinctly individual tequilas during a private tasting session at Jose Cuervo's LaRojeña Distillery in Tequila, Jalisco, Mexico last week. The ultra premium Platino just marked its first year on the international market.

Jose Cuervo Platino Tequila

This is a limited-edition spirit presented in numbered bottles. A blanco made from 100% estate-grown blue agave, it is handcrafted using the company's proprietary process called "Esencia de Agave," during which the steam is recaptured and, with it, the flavor essences of the plant. It then is chill filtered.

The result is a stunningly smooth, creamy tequila best enjoyed straight and at room temperature. None of that ice-diluted business that one sometimes needs with lower-end tequilas to mask any harshness.

The agave aroma mixes in the nose with slightly vegetal notes, inviting the imbiber in to experience elements of dried apricot and floral notes, followed by warm nuances of lemon zest, rose petals and a touch of pepper.

Suggested retail price: $59.99 for the 750ml bottle.

Jose Cuervo Tradicional

This is a reposado (rested six months) that, like the Platino, gives off the cooked agave aroma that is a result of slow roasting rather than being flash cooked in an autoclave. Slightly vegetal on the nose with a faint hint of oak.

The taste of the 100% blue agave spirit is of dried fruits, hints of citrus and pepper, and then a clean, dry finish.

Suggested retail price: $31.99 for the 750ml bottle.

Jose Cuervo Black

Unlike the other spirits in this tasting, JC Black is not 100% blue agave. It contains sugar cane, although the company will not say just how much. It's an añejo, aged one year in oak.

The rich, coppery color reminds one of American whiskies, as do the elements of vanilla and butterscotch that come from barrel aging, and even a certain candy apple sweetness to the finish. I'm told it is particularly popular with people who like such abominations as Jack & Coke. I find it of sufficient quality to enjoy simply as a sipping spirit.

Suggested retail price: $24.99 for the 750ml bottle.

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