These are the best of times for tequila. Interest in the spirit has been nothing short of phenomenal propelling the category to grow ten percent in the U.S. last year, the steepest increase of the light liquors, outpacing the growth of vodka (6.7%) and rum (5.0%). Considering that the Mexican import constitutes only 5% of the American spirits market, there appears to be a tremendous opportunity for continued growth.
The past year or so has seen the introduction of a number of new brands of 100% agave tequilas. These are super-premium products in price and degree of excellence. Their impeachable quality suggests extending them V.I.P. treatment - snifters and chilled cocktails glasses versus serving in a tall slushy concoction.
So who's at the head of the class? Here's our list of the twelve best new tequilas that you may not have heard of - yet.
Made in the lowlands of Jalisco, 4 Copas is a masterfully crafted line of super-premium organic tequilas. The blanco is filtered and bottled immediately after distillation. It has a wafting bouquet and a delectable palate of lemon zest and white pepper. Aged for nine months in American white oak, 4 Copas Reposado is graced with orange, honey and ripe fruit flavors, while the anejo spends up to three years in oak and has lingering finish marked by the flavors of vanilla, spice and toasted oak.
This range of tequilas is made in the highlands of Tepatitlan. Chaya Silver has an oily, supple body with an assertive bouquet of anise, honey and notes of toasted cereal grain and dry flavors of black peppercorn and roasted vegetables. The reposado is aged seven months and has a delicious, complex palate. The highest praise is reserved for the two-year old Chaya Anejo. The pale amber tequila is lightly wooded with earthy, floral and spicy flavors. Its finish is superb.
Corzo is slow fermented, double-distilled and aged in oak barrels for two to four months before being redistilled a third time. Corzo Silver is elegant and sublime with a seamlessly smooth body and a lightly peppered, long lasting finish. The reposado is matured in two different woods to give it more complexity. Aged for over a year in white oak, Corzo Anejo is lush and exquisite, a fascinating top shelf spirit.
These ultra-premium, limited production tequilas are made from estate-grown agaves triple-distilled in state of the art pot stills. The blanco is bottled straight from the still and brimming with bakery fresh flavors. The reposado is imbued with honey and floral aromas and a classy, long lasting finish. El Diamante Anejo is a magnificent, noble spirit. Itâs a blend of tequilas aged up to four years in oak with a generous bouquet; sultry, full body and a palate laced with fruit flavors.
This handcrafted newcomer is distilled in the highlands of Jalisco. Fina Estampa Blanco has a svelte, lightweight body, voluminous bouquet of cracked pepper and garden herbs and an imminently satisfying, slightly vegetal finish. The reposado has a velvety, slightly oily body, herbal bouquet and a fruit and caramel finish. The Anejo is a rare, distinct pleasure. Aged a year in oak, the tequila has a sultry bouquet of cocoa, ripe fruit and notes of pepper and smoke. The palate gradually builds in intensity and lasts long into the finish. Top-notch.
Gran Centenario Leyenda Extra Anejo
Famed Gran Centenario has extended its world-class range with the release of Leyenda, an extra anejo aged an average of four years in French Limousin oak barrels. After which the Maestro Tequilero blends in older reserves to complete the masterpiece. The ultra-premium dark amber anejo has a satiny, medium weight body and a vanilla, clove and oaky bouquet. The palate starts spicy and finishes long and luxurious. Leyenda is the epitome of seduction.
Super-premium Partida is double-distilled in pot stills from mature, estate
grown blue agaves cultivated in the lowlands of Amatita¡n. Unaged Partida Blanco
is a sleek, aromatic tequila with a delicate floral, herbs and citrus-laced
palate. The reposado is aged in new French Canadian oak barrels for a minimum
of six months, which imbues it with the flavors of vanilla, spice and almonds.
The Partida Anejo is aged a minimum of 18 months in oak barrels previously used
to age Jack Danielâs. The tequila has a generous bouquet of ripe red fruit,
honey and cocoa and waves of pastry like flavors. Partida tequilas are too
magnificent to share with friends.
Patron Gran Platinum
Those who find
themselves with a few extra dollars and a palpable thirst for a classy spirit
should invest in a bottle of Gran Patron Platinum. The ultra-premium silver
tequila is light bodied, richly textured and imminently satisfying. It is
triple-distilled in alembic pot stills. Another twist is that a portion of each
batch is aged briefly in American oak barrels prior to being blended back. It
has a satiny texture and a bouquet of black pepper and citrus. The tequila
immediately fills the mouth with spicy, peppery flavors. The finish is perhaps
best described as luxurious.