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.
Mandarin Oriental Hotel Group announced plans to take over an existing hotel in Switzerland. The property is undergoing extensive renovations in preparation to open at the end of next year as Mandarin Oriental Palace, Luzern. The property was previously Hotel Palace Luzern, on the shores of Lake Lucerne and in the heart of the city; it originally opened in 1906.
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As part of Germany’s climate package, a plan to reduce emissions, the country will raise departure taxes at German airports. Taxes will go up as much as 60 percent, and are expected to raise up to €740 million. The funds will then be used to lower VAT on rail fares from 19 percent to 7 percent.
United Airlines’ environmentally friendly efforts lessen the impact on local U.S. communities.
Norwegian Cruise Line took delivery of its newest ship, Norwegian Encore, ahead of its naming ceremony Nov. 21. The 1,100-foot-long ship boasts a guest capacity of nearly 4,000. Since Norwegian Cruise Line took delivery of the shi, Oct. 30, Norwegian Encore sailed from Germany to England before making its way to New York City, then Miami, where the christening ceremony takes place next week.
Welcome to Rhodes, a medieval treasure beautifully preserved throughout the centuries. Rhodes is the capital of the Dodecanese, an island ideal not only for those who want to relax, but also for those looking for an action-packed holiday! With its bright green hills, rich green valleys and uninterrupted line of golden beaches, Rhodes is truly a blessed place. “The sun island” has more sunshiny days and milder temperatures throughout the year than any other location in Greece. It is, after all, one of the country’s easternmost places and among the first to welcome summer on its impressive beaches. Add in the excellent facilities for tourism, the island’s special blend of cosmopolitan and traditional, and numerous cultural and archaeological sites, the most important being the Medieval (Old) Town, a UNESCO World Heritage site, and you’ve got the perfect holiday destination. While on Rhodes, don’t miss a daytrip to nearby Sými. An island of sponge divers and seamen, Sými used to have 30,000 inhabitants before the Second World War and was the richest island in the Dodecanese, despite its small size. Today, Sými attracts many visitors thanks to its beautifully preserved Neo-Classical buildings and the famous Archangel Michael monastery at Panormitis.