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Tequila is a spirit that represents a variety of different cultures and identities. Since being introduced in the 17th century by the Spaniards, the distillation process has been used in a number of different cultures and countries, making it a mixed bag of identities. What is not a mixed bag, however, is how tequila is produced.
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Tequila is the product of the distillation and fermentation of the mezcal plant known as Xerofica-Agave-Tequilana, or as we know it, agave. From the agave plant there are two types that originate in the states of Jalisco and Nayarit in Mexico; Agave-Azul and Agave-Xinguin. However, there are other species of agave as well, including Moraneno, Mano Largo, Chino Azul, Bermejo, Singuin, Chato, Sopilote and Pie de Mula. The designation of the tequila is based on the type of plant that it comes from.
The agave plant requires ten years to develop, and three more years to be produced and manufactured. In order for a spirit to be considered tequila, it must be made up of 51 percent agave-azul, also known as weber-azul. If it does not meet this requirement, the liquid is referred to as mezcal.
In order to make the tequila, the agave plant is put into a processor that extracts a paste from the plant that is then diluted with water. Once the paste is obtained, it is put into containers and fermented, then distilled. After the spirit is produced, it can fall into one of three categories based on how long the liquid is aged for: Tequila-Blanco (white) or Plata (silver), Tequila-Reposado, and Tequila Anejo. Tequila Blanco does not age at all, Tequila Reposado ages for a period of at least three months, and Tequila Anejo ages for up to a year or more. This aging results in the tequila taking on a light amber color as seen in the Reposado, and a deep amber as seen in the Anejo.
Below are tasting notes on a few tequilas that I was lucky enough to try. Get your hands on these brands and let us know what you think!
PaQui Silvera: On the nose, very heavy on the agave. Sweet, floral, juicy. No burn in the nostrils. Very light and floral on the palate. Grassy and smooth. A very pleasant tequila to sip on.
PaQui Reposado: Chocolate, cocoa, lots of spice on the nose. Notes of vanilla and cinnamon, with a hint of charred oak as well and grilled corn. Smoky on the palate with a hint of fire but very smooth going down. Creamy mouthfeel with a grilled aftertaste.
PaQui Anejo: Very charred and smoky on the nose. Slightly fruity, grilled peaches and pears. For an Anejo, this is very light in color and taste, chocolate and smoke is very present on the first sip. Slightly fiery at the end, but very pleasant. I would sip this over ice any day!
Sauza Gold: Sweet on the nose, very floral and fruity, the smell of the agave is very present here. Stone fruits and raspberries. Meaty on the palate, like a grilled chicken. Not very smooth going down but a pleasant charred flavor to it at the end.
Don Julio Anejo: Beautiful amber color, very strong alcohol feel in the nose. Grilled and very oaky, but with hints of cinnamon and clove. Creamy and full in the mouth, very smooth going down. The first taste is fiery, but instantly turns to a gentle smoke and slightly sweet sip at the end. Very pleasant.
Espolon Blanco: Instantly, I get a huge hit of alcohol on the first smell in the glass. Very strong and pungent. Slightly floral, smells like a wet rose. For a blanco, this tequila has a lot of strong flavors of peaches and plums. Fiery and slightly sweet, but very smooth going down.
Espolon Reposado: A lot of cinnamon and clove in the nose on this one. Lots of caramel and oak. Slightly sweet on the palate, with hints of coffee and more caramel. A lingering flavor of vanilla is present long after that final sip is gone. Delicious!
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Source: Tequila Planet