Friday, April 8, 2011

Pretty Good Milkshake

Or to be more precise, "That's a pretty fucking good milkshake. I don't know if it's worth five dollars but it's pretty fucking good."
                                                                                 -Vincent Vega, Pulp Fiction

Got to taste the new Casa Dragones Tequila today. Retails in the $300 range. Just like Vincent Vega and Mia's legendary $5 milkshake, I was interested in seeing what a $300 silver tequila has to offer. And what can they do to an agave bulb to make it cost that much?

One thing they do when pouring it at a tasting is use good glassware. Casa Dragones furnished a special Riedel glass with tall glass sides. The clear tequila looked smashing! The clarity is brilliant.

The nosing (in fact the whole tasting) is structured. The goal is for every taster to experience every nuance and not just toss it back. I didn't really figure out how to smell the aromas at the bottom of the glass... but here's what I got. Sweet agave surrounding wild herbal spices that suggest white pepper but that don't bring the white pepper. Instead you're left with notions of honey and vanilla. Very clean, very long, very precise.

Tasting notes follow the same order, but build on each other in layers of intensity. The layers build and resonate as the silky liquid coats the mouth. Opposites abound. Complex/precise. Sweet/herbal. Light/oily. Powerful/delicate. The rich volcanic soils of the valley make themselves felt in the intense wild herbal alkaloid flavors. These plants are not rushed, they are allowed to ripen to full maturity and the resulting sweetness matches but doesn't overpower the herbal intensity. The long finish hangs forever, in soft clouds of delicate vanilla.

But that all sounds like a great silver tequila. Except where did that vanilla come in? And those odd suggestions of toasted nuts.

The agave 'pinas' are not cooked in the steam autoclaves or gas fired ovens (hornos) as are traditional tequilas. The nectar is extracted prior to being cooked, yielding a pure flavor. The spirit is distilled in column stills which allow careful control of the condensation.

Now here's the trick. Some of the tequila is aged five years (making it 'extra anejo') in new toasted oak barrels. This extra anejo is then blended back into silver tequila, giving the tequila is 'joven' designation. Any color is filtered out, leaving the brilliant clear distillate.

Whatever. I bought the story. And, it's exceptional tequila!

1 comment:

  1. RETASTE 6 WEEKS LATER>>> Even more impressive!!!

    Had another opportunity to taste the Casa Dragones yesterday and I have to say I was even more impressed than my first tasting. The tequila presents with amazing depth, complexity and precision. Sweet agave, wild herbal alkaloids and spicy white pepper, all screaming in a glorious display of outrageous control. (Kinda like 48 points on 15 shots.) Yet the long finish coasts on a bed of cream and vanilla.

    Maybe it was the glassware. The first tasting was in the Riedel tequila glass which gave a very precise and orderly revelation of the flavors and aromatics. The second tasting was in white wine glasses and the aromatics poured out full-throttle and the taster was left to his devices to sort out the thrill of the alcohol from the spice of the pepper.

    I love the concept of the tequila. Most super expensive tequilas are the exra-anejo's where the agave flavors are almost buried in the layers of flavor imparted by the barrel. Casa Dragones strips out the excess oak and then blends the smooth creamy elements back into an extremely well made silver tequila. Brilliant concept brilliantly executed.

    Proper glassware doesn't really matter. Enjoy Casa Dragones any way you can get it!