We've looked at rums, whiskies, and even vodka over the past few months, but one fantastic spirit has escaped us. That of course, is tequila. Part of my reluctance to embrace tequila was that my familiarity with it was shaped primarily by experiences during college and spring break type situations where tequila was cheap, plentiful and tasted like shit.
Casa Noble's CEO Jose Hermosillo was determined to change my impression of his favorite and offered to do a Casa Noble tequila tasting via skype.
Upon opening the bottles and beginning our conversation, two things became very clear:
1. Despite its reputation as a party / shooter spirit, tequila can be every bit as sophisticated as a rum or whiskey.
2. Tequila isn't the same as I recall drinking in college.
So, without reading any further, if you haven't tasted a fine tequila like Casa Noble before, try it!
Now on to the fun stuff - tequila tasting ...
Jose led me through three samples: Crystal, Reposado, and Anejo. Like rum, tequila is enjoyed at various stages in the aging process, with "blanco" or clear tequila being the equivalent of white rum. Reposado is aged one year, and Anejo is aged two years in white French oak barrels.
Casa Noble starts with 100% blue agave that is grown in the mountains. Then after harvesting, they use only the core and hearts of the agave to produce a sweeter flavor than some of the other less sophisticated tequilas. Also, I learned during our discussion that some of those brands that I enjoyed in college actually are essentially 51% tequila and 49% rum since they typically add cane sugar instead of using the blue agave plant only.
When I do alcohol tastings on a guys weekend, I want only the best - and so should you!
Observations and Thoughts as we Tasted:
Being able to taste each in succession was a privilege that I recommend you try on your next mancation. It truly allows you to understand the spirit of the spirit if you will.
This is Casa Noble's unaged silver tequila or "blanco". It comes in a gorgeous glass decanter and had a somewhat sweet and floral nose as well as taste. Personally, I usually prefer aged spirits, but this provided a fantastic base that I was able to follow through the aging process on the next two.
As an unaged spirit, it was still completely sip-able and delicious, but it had the rougher, more earthy flavors, and a bit of fire (in a good way).
Casa Noble ages Reposado for 364 days in French White Oak barrels. It looks gorgeous in the glass with a golden hue that just invites you to taste it. The sweet, floral, somewhat fruity flavors are still present from Crystal, but they are now blended with caramel and a bit of smoke. Everything that was there in Crystal, is still there - but it is much more relaxed and delicious.
After another year in the barrel, Casa Noble is ready for Anejo to be bottled. Anejo continues to relax and pick up more flavors from the wood including chocolate and a bit more spice.
Frankly, I preferred the Anejo the most as it was closer to what I enjoy in a whisky. That doesn't mean that the other two aren't exceptional - only that I really enjoy spirits aged in oak barrels.