Well, I think I’ve seen it all now – a supernatural spirit. A Santera is literally a priestess of Santeria, a religion that worships saints. On their website, Santera tequila uses words like: wizards, journey, serpent, saints, virgin, inferno, spirit and hell to introduce their tequila. It all sounds mighty mystical to me. They go on to wax poetic by saying, “Santera is more than a liquid in a bottle; it is a work of elemental extremism: fire and water, violence and serenity, abundance and barrenness, light and dark.”
Holy cow, that’s one hell of an introduction to a tequila! Now, don’t get me wrong, I truly love tequila and have even had some seriously religious experiences after drinking a bunch of it, but I have never talked to God or his saints while imbibing. However, I have talked and even implored God and his saints the morning after imbibing to rid me of the stabbing pains of a tequila induced hangover. I do believe that was when I could swear I heard God and all his saints laughing at me.
Master Distiller Sebastian Melendrez appears to be doing everything botanically and scientifically right to produce a fine tequila. I bet he even offers up a prayer or two to his favorite saints to insure everything turns out just so. From the growing location of the agave to the harvesting of the plants through the cooking, shredding, fermentation to the single batch distillation, they pay attention to detail. Sounds like there’s enough science and religion to make it all come together and work; let’s find out.
The Santera Blanco Tequila is clear as water and fills the nose with the aroma of roasted agave and even a hint of pears. There are no alcohol traces, and overall the nose is warm and inviting. On the palate, the roasted agave comes right to the front followed by a spicy, peppery warmth that warms up my entire mouth. The finish is bright, spicy, peppery, and citrusy with a hint of vanilla and cream. If they toned down the spice just a bit this would be a perfect blanco tequila. However, it is mighty tasty, and I love the flavor of the agave – a job well done.
The Santera Reposado has been aged in oak for up to seven months, which accounts for the very pale golden color of this tequila. That lovely roasted agave aroma I enjoyed in the Blanco has mellowed considerably in the nose of this Reposado and is joined by the hint of oak and picks up a little apple and pear to fill it out. On the palate, the oak comes forward, followed by the much subdued agave and a touch of sweetness reminiscent of apples. The finish is warm and smooth leaving a subtle taste of agave and oak and apples. It is a bit more fruity than the blanco, but then again, it is also smoother and less spicy, with nuanced flavors.
The Santera Anejo, which has been aged in oak for up to 16 months, is pale golden yellow in color. The nose is quite the layered treat containing hints of agave, oak, chocolate, cinnamon and vanilla. The palate provides a depth of very subtle flavors, including the agave, oak, vanilla and chocolate that are joined by licorice and cloves. The spicy tang has all but disappeared making this a really nice sipping tequila. The finish is smooth with no bite and leaves the taste of agave and oak and vanilla and the sweetness of chocolate. This tequila is really quite nice with its many layers and smoothness; although I would prefer the agave to be a bit more forward, it’s definitely a winner.
All these tequilas are 80 proof with the Blanco coming in at $42.00 per 750ml bottle and the Reposado selling for $47.00 per 750ml bottle and the Anejo only just a bit more at $55.00 per 750 ml bottle.
By George Brozowski