Yes, I'm finally writing about tequila.
Not by popular demand, as this blog is not very popular, but due to my own curiosity.
I've largely avoided tequilas as most of my tequila exposure has been to mixtos. Mixtos are tequilas but they are legally defined as a mix of at least 51% blue-agave based spirit and some grain alcohol. Therefore, these are usually the tequilas one orders when doing shots at a bar. The habit of using salt and chasing with a lime is to cover the less-than pleasant flavors of these mixtos. These less-than pleasant flavors are also usually due to the grain alcohol, the main cause of the less-than pleasant feeling after many of shots.
However, 100% blue agave tequilas are pleasant.
Agave is a succulent plant. Strip away its leaves and you have a pumpkin-sized core filled with a sweet juice. Ferment this sweet juice and you've got the beginnings of a fine tequila. Mezcal, another Mexican spirit, is also made from an agave plant but tequila has to be made from blue agave plants.
Sound confusing? Well bourbon (for example) has to be aged in new white American Oak barrels. If I were making a whiskey and aged it in new Limousin oak (from France) it would not be a bourbon even though I aged it in a new oak barrel: different oaks. So similarly, mezcal and tequila are from different agaves.
There are plenty more intricacies in the tequila world. For example, like scotch there are highland and lowland tequilas which have different distillation methods. However, I don't want to lead too far from my review of this tequila by getting caught up in these intricacies (which I'm still learning).
I bought this bottle because it was pretty cheap. Is that my only reason? No. I read a few reviews online and it received pretty high-praise. It seemed worth checking out - especially since I didn't have much 100%-agave tequila experience and have been more spend-thrifty these days. Plus the bottle is embossed reminding me of a fancy Chateauneuf-du-Pape wine.
I guess Tapatio was not available in the U.S. until recently but a had a "cult like" following. As I know little about tequila I cannot refute this claim (although makes for an interesting selling point, I suppose).
It has a pale straw color and has thin legs in the glass. The nose has aromas of pine, ash (not the tree), cola, honey, thyme, and pepper. Flavors of smoke and cedar are followed by plenty of herbs, minerals and floral notes too.
As I mentioned above, I haven't had much tequila experience so I cannot compare this one to any other 100% blue-agave tequilas I've had. Yet, this is quite enjoyable on its own. As a reposado, it would've only spent 6 months to a year in a barrel; I don't think there would be much influence on the spirit from the barrel (besides the smokiness), yet it does have plenty of interesting subtleties to it. Perhaps it's only interesting as it is a new experience for me? Nevertheless I am enjoying it beyond that novelty.