Saturday, October 11, 2008

Jose Cuervo Tradicional Reposado

As it often does, this week's BotW selection found me versus me finding it. As there I was at El Guapo's in Denton, TX. trying to decide what to drink, not wanting the sugars of beer or wine, and opting instead to order Sauza Hornitos, my standard tequila, on the rocks when Big D the Bartender told me I wanted the Tradicional instead. I insisted no, I prefer the Hornitos, but he insisted as well-and being a friend of mine he can do that-and poured me the Tradicional instead. With three cubes and a wedge of lime which I didn't find myself needing. It was an exceptionally smooth, albeit unspectacular tequila, and on account of being in my belly and tasty is this week's selection for Booze Of The Week.

Before we go into the tequila itself though, a few tequila basics. Tequila is distilled from the Agave plant generally in the Tequila region of Mexico which is near Guadalajara in the state of Jalisco. It is similar but not the same as Mezcal, another spirit which most folks know for the worm in the bottle. There are two types of tequila, mixtos and 100% Agave. Mixtos use up to 49% of other sugars in the fermentation process where as the latter is obviously 100% agave, with the best tequilas being 100% blue agave. As with other spirits, there's also an aging classification system with tequila. Blanco (or silver) tequila spends less than 2mos in oak barrels, oro (or gold) is blended with aged tequilas, and mixed with coloring and or sugars, reposado tequila is aged between 2mos and a year in oak barrels, and anejo is aged 1-3 years in oak barrels. Recently an extra anejo category was established for tequilas aged a minimum of 3 years in oak so ya, they've got that going for them.

Normally at this point I'd also go into the history of Jose Cuervo, but it's a really long and strange history. Suffice it to say that there have been several different Jose Cuervos, although José Antonio de Cuervo was the original in 1758 with a grant from Spain for the distillery, and that tequila was the drink of the masses and/or proletariat during most every war and uprising within Mexico. For such a weird beverage it has an equally weird history.

As for the subject here, Jose Cuervo Tradicional Reposado, it is obviously a reposado tequila-and beyond that a fantastic entry level high end tequila. On account of a shortage of Blue Agave a few years back tequila tends to be fairly expensive for anything but the most rotgut, and as a result of that and our familiarity with the Margarita, most people have little regard for high end tequila. This however qualifies as a higher end tequila, and at ~$25 a bottle isn't prohibitely priced. It's quite smooth, although you can definitely taste the alcohol, with a little bit of smoke and wood on the taste and a fairly long finish. It's very indicative of a reposado tequila, and a nice entry level selection for those not wanting to spend the money on a high end tequila which can easily run $50 a bottle.

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