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I must be getting jaded, calloused and corrupted in my old age and to top it off I hadn’t really even noticed that transition from an open minded inquisitive person to a closed minded subjective jerk. Now that may seem like a brutal self assessment so let me put forth the following example.

I have been receiving bottles of booze for years for reviews and have concluded, and not necessarily correctly all the time, that the more fancy pants and expensive the bottle and packaging and the higher the price, the better the booze is supposed to be. Well, that’s true about half the time. As a matter of fact, I have tasted some extremely expensive hooch encased in bottles hand crafted of Swarovski crystal and finished in gold trim that tasted like overpriced skunk urine. Now, it’s not that I’ve had much experience in drinking skunk urine but I have certainly experienced my fair share of the stink of skunk road kill, and I have a fertile imagination and an acute nose, and it doesn’t take much for me to jump to wild and improbable if not impossible conclusions.

Once hooch begins to encroach upon that hundred dollar price point and even exceeds it to float around, at or above a thousand dollars my red flags start flying. My nose gets bent out of shape and the short hairs on the back of my neck stand up and my mind narrows and my attitude gets surly and I make doubting Thomas look like he never doubted anything.

All that being said, please don’t get me totally wrong as I have had the rare privilege of tasting spirits that were definitely worth $100.00 or even several hundreds of dollars not to mention certain wines that were worth every penny of $200.00 or more. Although I believe that rarity and scarcity played as much a factor in the pricing as the taste.

The winner take all of packaging and marketing and over blown pricing is Russian Russo-Baltique Vodka which costs $1.3 million dollars, and yes, that’s for just one 750 ml. bottle. Of course, there’s a lot of gold and a free SUV involved in the package. You get an SUV on steroids called the Diamond or L4P included in that price. The actual packaging consists of a 20-pound case made of solid gold. As far as I know, no one has ever tasted and reviewed the Vodka. I would like to volunteer to be the first to taste drive their vodka and they don’t need to send me the SUV but the packaging would be greatly appreciated.

So that was what started to go through my mind as these two bottles of Clase Azul Tequila arrived at my desk. They came in some of the fanciest bottles I have ever seen. I mean they were works of art. They were formed in swooping curves and pinches and stamped with designs and one was even hand painted. It’s called a “Talavera” style bottle and it is unique in its shape and beautiful in its design. Every bottle is handcrafted by local Mexican artists.

I jumped on the computer and quickly discovered that the Plata, silver Tequila sold for about $70.00 per 750 ml. bottle while the golden hued Reposado Ultra Premium sold for between $80.00 to $100.00 per 750 ml. bottle. They also produce an extra exclusive Ultra that that retails for $1,699.99 but they didn’t send me a taste so I won’t be getting into that one although I sure would like to!! Before I even get to tasting this stuff, let’s go check out their history and hype.

Clase Azul is an ultra premium, 100% Weber Blue Agave Tequila. It’s produced and bottled in the Jesus Maria region of Arandas, Jalisco, and the Ultra Premium Reposado is aged for a minimum of 5 years in heavily charred, sherry oak casks. This ultra-premium Tequila is produced in limited quantity of no more than 100 bottles per production run.

Mature, certified organic agaves are baked in stone ovens (“hornos”) for three days before being slowly fermented with a proprietary strain of yeast. The 100% agave Tequila is double-distilled in small batches in a copper alembic still, and the water goes through a five-step refining process before marrying with the tequila. The spirit is filtered three times before entering the bottle and being reduced to 80 proof. 

Tequila Plata


Enough talk, let’s taste this hooch. The Plata has a full, oily complex yet soft and smooth aroma. It is full of tender Agave fragrance and hints of vanilla but there is something more interesting going on in the background. There is a trace of terroir and char and sweet wine that combines with the agave and vanilla that turns this nose into one of the most inviting and unique of any Tequila I have inhaled.

A small dram poured from my snifter settles upon my palate and allows me to taste just a hint of the vegetative agave and even when swirling it around my mouth it continues to just tease my palate with subtle flavors. But it’s when I finally swallow that the fireworks of taste go off and I mean that in the spirit of joy and awe that a 5 year old child experiences when first seeing a huge 4th of July display live, up close and personal for the very first time. OMG!! The agave and vanilla come into focus, a pleasant peppery spice tingles all my senses; the body of the liquid is oily and thick and creamy and coats my mouth with pleasure; there’s an underlying sweetness and all this goodness is tied up nicely in a little taste package that is the most pleasant representation of what quality Tequila should be all about.

The finish is, of course, smooth and flavorful and long lasting not just in the back of the throat but upon the full palate. The agave lingers as does the sweetness and the wonderful oiliness. Only a great cigar and wild sex could make this experience better. Actually, I take that back, not wild sex but prolonged, intimate, warm, tasty, cultivated, insanely titillating and possibly 50 shades of gray sex and a great cigar is what I really meant to say. This Tequila is some really-really good hooch and I mean it.

WOW if the silver, un-aged, Plata is that good I can’t wait to see what the aged Reposado Ultra Premium tastes like?!?!?

Initial sniff of the Reposado indicates a touch of oakiness added to the agave and vanilla although the Plata was more distinct and dare I say more dramatic. The Reposado nose is muddled with the aromas mixing and playing nicely together apparently because they are more homogenized after spending years together in close quarters in a damp dark place. The palate experience is identical to the Plata in that it starts out smooth and slow and subdued although a bit more oaky and smoky. The swallow is smooooother with a few less big bangs but still with enough skyrockets to make the moment memorable. The finish is long and smoky and smooth as it should be – even a bit Scotch like but with the agave still front and center, definitely another really wonderful sipper.

Tequila Reposado

These are both Ultra Premium taste treats that deserve the hype and the price point. This is expensive Tequila, but it is worth it because you will not experience these delights with less care, cheaper ingredients or cut corners. And yes, the bottles are beautiful but all the love and attention to detail did not just go into the bottles; it went into what’s inside the bottles. Buy these and set them aside for special occasions and drink them from snifters straight up for maximum enjoyment. Do not use ice. Do not use other ingredients. Do not use mixes. Do not use exotic fruits or vegetables. Do not use a straw. Do not include other spirits. Lock the door to your library so you won’t be disturbed, fire up a great cigar, sit back, put your feet up, turn off the cell phone, turn off the TV, turn off the computer, kick anyone not drinking and smoking with you out of the room and finally you just might really be able to appreciate this wonderful tequila. ENJOY!!

 

By George Brozowski

For more George’s Rants and Raves click here