National Tequila Day
With the celebrity endorsements, flashy packaging, and continuous improvement in quality, tequila has secured a place in the “serious spirit” pantheon. The rise in popularity of Mexico’s most famous agave-based potable has stimulated considerable growth in the category, especially in the premium and super-premium range. For those of you who celebrate “tequila day” every day, July 24th may not be that big of a deal. For the somewhat more temperate, the date signifies National Tequila Day and in its honour I offer a few suggestions in all age categories (and price points), and finish with a very refreshing ready-to-drink tequila cocktail.
BLANCO: Typically not wood aged (though there are exceptions).
Cazadores Tequila Blanco ($37)
The nose of this blanco shows some earthy, herbal nuances backed by a touch of green apple, a hint of citrus, and a bare whiff of pine resin. There’s a slight initial sweetness before the cooked agave flavours kick in, accompanied by notes of cracked black pepper that persist on the finish.
El Jimador Tequila Blanco ($37)
Named for the harvesters of the blue agave and crafted by the respected Casa Herradura, this blanco shows subtle aromas suggesting citrus and tropical fruit and a hint of spice. Round and supple, it shows a slight fruitiness sweetness in the mouth, with highlights of citrus and herbal notes, with a dash of pepperiness on the finish.
Hornitos Plata Tequila ($37)
Clean and bright aromas of floral, citrus, melon and black pepper. The palate is crisp and balanced, with flavours of herbs and citrus, but also with traces of green pepper and cloves. There’s also a pronounced jolt of white pepper heat that carries over and persists long into the finish. Spicy stuff for sure – and probably not for the timid.
Mico Tequila Blanco ($45)
The bright, crisp aromas suggest white flowers, mint, mild citrus and vanilla. Silky smooth, with caramel and citrus flavours, but there’s also some tropical fruit notes, caramel, and agave. The finish is warm and dry, with some, lemon, vanilla and mineral. The long, clean finish sports notes of mint and mild cayenne pepper.
REPOSADO: Generally aged (“rested”) in oak from two months to one year in oak.
Mico Tequila Reposado ($57)
Pale gold in colour, with an aromatic profile of cooked agave, earth, oak, vanilla, and caramel on the nose, with a dash of stone fruit. Moderately viscous and quite supple and smooth, it reveals flavours of oak and spice, and slightly smoky agave. There are also hints of white pepper, vanilla, and caramel present in the long, mildly spicy end notes.
El Tequileño Gran Reserva Reposado ($90)
This award-winning reposado is made using pure volcanic spring water, ripe Highland agave, and is fermented using yeast influenced by the property’s 150-year-old mango trees. Distilled in copper pot stills, this is a very fragrant tequila, with aromas and flavours of vanilla, cooked agave, oak, pepper and dried fruit. Very well balanced and round on the palate, its long finish shows notes of caramel and agave.
Patrón Tequila Reposado ($92)
Somewhat subtle aromatically, but showing a good depth of complexity with nuances of orange oil, spring flowers, clover honey, and fresh agave. Silky and warm on the palate, with just a touch of peppery spice, along with some honeyed citrus flavours. This is a poised and elegant reposado that would go over well with those looking for a well-structured tequila that downplays aggressiveness and highlights complexity and sophistication.
AÑEJO: Aged one to three years in oak.
Mico Tequila Añejo ($63)
Distinctly fruity, with suggestions of red berries, sultana, baking spice, toffee, vanilla, and toasted nuts. Roasted agave flavours, along with brown butter, tobacco, red berry, and caramel. There’s some mild spice on the long, warm finish that also carries some hints of fresh herbs. I personally find that some Añejo expressions are excessively woody – woody enough to bury the agave character. Not so here. There’s balance, harmony, and distinct agave character.
Georgian Bay Original Tequila Smash ($14/6 pk)
Admittedly, I don’t normally go the cocktail-in-a-can route, so I approached Georgian Bay Spirit Co.’s Tequila Smash with some trepidation. Turns out I was pleasantly surprised by this mango/lime/tequila concoction. Not overly sweet, with an exotic mango nose, crisp, citrus flavours, and a long, mango-tinged finish.