Tequila has come a long way in a short time. From a low-priced, shudder-producing, raw alcohol, many have moved up the quality scale to become everything they were not before. All tequila is made from the blue agave plant, grown in Mexico and produced in the state of Jalisco and a few surrounding areas. But whereas less expensive mixto contains a minimum of 51 percent blue agave, premium tequila is made 100 percent of the plant. And while cheaper tequila is aged solely in used bourbon casks, the elite is often aged in such containers as used Bordeaux and Napa Valley barrels.
Tequila comprises four main categories. Blanco (also called silver, platinum or plata) is a clear tequila aged less than two months. Golden-shaded reposado is aged from two to 12 months. Añejo, the color of whiskey, is aged one to three years. The fourth category, added by the Tequila Regulatory Council in 2006, is extra añejo, aged more than three years.
And that is where AsomBroso, a small, family-owned tequila maker, comes in.
Tasting three of AsomBroso’s extensive line, all 40 percent alcohol, I began with El Platino, or silver, the base of the entire AsomBroso line. Water-clear, it presents an aroma that reminds one of herbs with a mild almond and orange undertone. The smooth body accompanies a flavorful taste reminiscent of vanilla and a slight touch of anise, followed by an aftertaste that lingers. The least expensive of this upscale brand, El Platino sells for $75.
La Rosa Reposado, aged in Bordeaux oak, features a delicate pink tone and an equally delicate, aromatic nose. In the mouth, it is full and supple with a light sweetness and a floral undertone. Price: $85.
And from AsomBroso’s Ultra-Premium collection I tasted The Collaboration. A tawny-shaded tequila, The Collaboration is aged 11 years, partly in American oak barrels that previously held the Cabernet Sauvignon of Silver Oak Cellars in Napa Valley. The inviting, complex aroma evokes a mingling of vanilla, caramel and butterscotch. The texture is full, round and velvety smooth, and the finish leaves a long memory. Presented in a crystal decanter housed in a humidor, it is priced at $1,800.
And these are only three of AsomBroso’s premium tequilas.
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