April 9, 2009

Tanteo Flavored Tequilas

Bill Dowd photo

Tequila goes beautifully with so many things -- limes, fruits, even jalapeño peppers. The latter is the key to the flavors in a trio of infused Tanteo tequilas, even if the major flavorings are from other sources.

• Tanteo Flavored Tequilas

Tequilas, at least 100% blue agave-based expressions, have enough variables in their flavor profile to satisfy most people. But infusions are the order of the day -- take a look at the vodka shelves in your local spirits shop -- so some entrepreneurs see tequila as ripe to join that contemporary market niche.

Tanteo's infused blanco tequilas do not disappoint. Although jalapeño is the base infusion for the three flavors I tried, it gets top billing in only one. The others are chocolate and tropical. They were launched just a few months ago, the result of a plan by company CEO and co-founder Jonathan Rojewski who had to get the tequila regulating body of Mexico to waive its restriction against infusions.

The tequilas are distilled, infused and bottled in Tequila, the Mexican city that is the heart of the tequila industry.

The tropical flavor offers many fruit notes from extractions of mango, pineapple and guanabana. It reminded me of a semi-sweet piña-style tropical drink all on its own, with a slight peppery touch of the jalapeño for balance.

The chocolate smells like the kind of rich malted fountain drink we used to get many years ago, easy evidence of the roasted, malted and raw cocoa used in its creation. Again, a touch of pepper from the jalapeño is a perfect Mexican balance of unsweetened chocolate and heat found in some of its cuisine such as molés.

The jalapeño flavor itself has a fresh, clean, peppery nose from four separate infusions of organic peppers. There is a lush heat to this creation that demands restrained sipping, thus allowing the imbiber to experience the full range of the agave nectar and bitey pepper notes.

The bottle was designed by company co-founder Lincoln Mayne, a graphic artist with roots in Manhattan's SoHo neighborhood. It is made of handcrafted rustic glass with naturally occuring bubbles, a cork enclosure and a vintage-style wax seal, all much nicer than the small sampling bottles pictured above.

Suggested retail price: $45 for the 750ml bottle.

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