Have you ever stopped to wonder why there are so many different distillers of what should essentially be the same spirit? I mean, there are over a thousand brands of vodka, hundreds of scotch’s and gins and whiskeys, etc. Part of the reason is that the definition and consequential regulation of certain spirits is rather loose, allowing for substantial variations, while remaining true to the core definition of the spirit. On the other hand, some spirits are very tightly defined and regulated like Cognac and Tequila, and yet, there are hundreds of distillers of both of these spirits, and yet, each one ends up being unique unto itself.
Tequila can only be distilled in the state of Jalisco, Mexico and made only from blue agave, but from there, it gets very interesting. Over 300 million agave plants are harvested each year and depending on where in that region they were grown, they have unique flavor profiles. Then there are various methods of baking the pinas (the succulent core of the plant), which are then shredded or mashed and then poured into either wooden or stainless steel vats for several days to ferment and then distilled in either a column still or a pot still and then either not aged or aged in oak barrels that are either charred or not charred. As you can see, the slight variations and the distillers’ preferences and skill all add up to very individual and nuanced differences in each brands taste profile. That would certainly explain why there are currently nearly 1,000 tequila brands.
And that now brings us to Alacran Cristal Tequila. The brand launched in the U.S. in 2011. It is distilled in a column still, but that’s about the only information I could find other than it is produced from blue agave, which of course, was expected. The bottle is reminiscent of a tall flask, and if you can understand Spanish, you can read the small label at the bottom of the bottle. Okay, so let’s give this tequila a taste run.
This tequila is as transparent and colorless as water. The nose is heavy with roasted agave and a touch of pineapple and a hint of coconut but hardly any alcohol vapors – very nice. On the palate, it is warm and smooth with the roasted agave again coming in front and center, followed by the coconut and then the pineapple. There is a minor tingle at the back of the mouth but it is pleasant and not at all distracting. The finish is warm and smooth and features the agave and leaves a slight warmth and fruit flavor behind for a short time. This is very flavorful and fruity and warm, and yes, smooth tequila that is very nicely made. At over $40.00 per bottle, it had a lot to live up to, and I do believe it accomplished just that. This is truly a super-premium tequila that absolutely does not sting like the scorpion depicted on the bottle.
Alacran Cristal Tequila is 40% ABV, that’s 80 proof and can be purchased for an average $42.00 per 750ML bottle.
By George Brozowski