Knowing that almost anything can be fermented to produce alcohol, every time I drink Tequila I ponder the following prickly point. Who in the world first decided to uproot a big old Agave cactus and tear of all the pointy parts and mash the heart and ferment it? These were either very stoned people or very bored people or desperate alcoholics who had run out of beer. Either way, it may have happened I’m really glad it did because Tequila is one of my favorite tipples.
Altos Tequila is named after the Los Altos (Highlands) area of Jalisco, Mexico where the sweet Agaves that are used for this Tequila live happy lives until they are uprooted and crushed under the weight of a massive volcanic millstone in the 500 year old Tahona method. I wonder who came up with that idea?
Let me start with the Plata (Silver) un-aged un-barreled, un-bourboned and just pure plain no nonsense Agave goodness. The nose is sweet agave, very fruity and full and unmistakable Agave. There is very little alcohol in the fumes and that is, of course, a very good thing. On the palate, the fruit continues forward but is soon apprehended by the alcohol in the finish which is long and spicy. The Agave flavor of this Tequila is wonderful, but I think it could be tamed down a bit more.
The Altos Reposado Tequila is aged in used bourbon barrels for six to eight months. The nose seems to be equal muted parts of sweet Agave, oak, and Bourbon with the Agave just a bit more forward than the other two. The palate is warm with Agave and fills out nicely with oaky highlights and a Bourbon back. The aging has tamed the finish to an appreciable tickle that is full and rich and long with a final spice note.
These are complex Tequilas with depth. I normally lean toward the Silver but in this case the Reposado is the winner in this taste test.
Prices for this Tequila seem to be all over the place so look for the best deal but expect to pay $30.00 to $40.00 per bottle. If you can find it for less than $30.00, that’s the time to pounce because in the twenties it’s a real steal.
By George Brozowski
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