Agave Spirits Worth Seeking Out

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  • By Randy Kemner
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Agave Spirits Worth Seeking Out

A boomlet of interest in Tequila and Mezcal is due, perhaps, because of their unique flavors in cocktails. Then again, a shot or two may be just what the doctor ordered in these uncertain times.

All of a sudden, there has been a boom of interest in Tequila and Mezcal in The Wine Country.  Perhaps it's the lightness of the Spring season, or perhaps it's an antidote to all the stress we've been experiencing lately.

 

In any event, our small, but mighty selection has some outstanding examples of south-of-the-border distillery genius.

Tequila Cimarron Blanco

100% de Agave, Jalisco, Mexico

A super-clean tequila, ideal for mixing.  Subtle flavors won't get in the way of other cocktail ingredients

$23.99 per liter bottle

 

Tequila Cimarron Reposado

100% de Agave, Jalisco Mexico

With a pale color, Cimarron's reposado is more complex, offering a floral note and subtle spice throughout.

$25.99 per liter bottle

 

Mal Bien Espadin Mezcal Artesenal

Oaxaca, Mexico

A well-flavored mezcal.  Not only does it offer textbook smoky notes, but a wet leather aroma to add interest and complexity.  A persistent pungency of flavor make this artisan Mexcal stand out from the pack.

$37.99 per bottle

 

Don Mateo de la Siera Mezcal Pechuga Joven

Michoacán, Mexico

"Pechuga", the string, is a fascinating technique of suspending a chicken over the vat which collects the drippings.  It sounds a little like voodoo, but it makes for some incredibly smooth and rich tasting Mezcals.  Don Mateo's version is very, very complex, with a round texture and smoky flavor.  Very nice sipping Mezcal.

$84.99 per bottle

 

Dos Armadillos Tequila Reposado

Mazamitla, Jalisco, Mexico

One look at the flamboyant bottle and you may think this is a gimmick brand, but I assure you, this is real tequila.  Made in Mazamitia in southern Jalisco at 7,220 feet above sea level, it's a blend of highland and lowland agaves which gives it a fruit-like flavor accented by the cinnamon spice from its 10 months in barrel.  Spicy aroma, too, in this original tasting reposado.

$59.99 per bottle

 

The Modern Tequilas of Mandala

  

Tequila Mandala is a fairly young line of easy-drinking, super-premium tequilas designed for the American market.  All are 100% agave, and like the Arte line, have a sweet-ish tinge to them.  Mandala is Hindu for "Circle", representing family and the cycles of nature.  The tequilero is Joel Garcia, who contracts with top distilleries, then ages his tequilas in used French oak barrels used for red wines.  The aged agaves spend up to 7 years in barrel.

 

Mandala Tequila Blanco

Not the typical overly herbaceous style, but a richer, rounder, cleaner aroma and taste with a penetrating, slightly sweet flavor and a very elegant texture. 

$46.99 per bottle

 

Mandala Tequila Reposado

In the glass the Mandala Reposado has a pale color of burnished brass.  A more powerful flavor, with some notes of butterscotch.  Sweet to the tongue with just the right amount of herbaceousness.  Aged 9 months.

$52.99 per bottle

 

Mandala Tequila Añejo

Aged two years in barrel--twice the legal requirement--this whisky-colored tequila is spicy and slightly sweet, reminding me of the spice in a 20 year old tawny port.  Firm texture.

$79.99 per bottle

 

Mandala Tequila Extra Añejo

The flagship of the Mandala line, the Extra Añejo spends a remarkable 7 years in oak, and the complex flavors pay off handsomely.  Almost liqueur-like, the flavors recall classic liqueurs like Chartreuse and Grand Marnier.  The Agave herbaceousness seems completely resolved, with absolutely no harsh edges.  Luxurious.

$169.99 per bottle

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