Tequila Tasting Party - Offer Both Blancos and Reposados?
I am hosting a blind tasting for tequilas, to see which brand/version my guests like the most.
Should I stick to one variety (e.g., all blancos or all reposados) or include both (e.g., 2 tastes of a blanco style and 2 of a reposado style)?
We could, of course, combine both and have a blanco "bracket" and a reposado "bracket", with the winner of each meeting in the final.
Any suggestions on how to structure this tast test?
I agree with you on the blanco tequilas and (joven) mezcals. I'm glad to see someone with an educated and respected palate who shares my view, most people have told me I "just haven't learned to like aged tequila yet.'
I find the agave flavor to be somewhat delicate and ethereal, and easily obscured by wood. While I have had some very good repo and anejo Tequilas, most of them taste less like Tequila and more like a unique brown liquor.
I have had a couple with bold enough agave taste to still come through in aged form, foremost among them Casa Noble. I haven't tried many that are coveted by Tequila aficionados because they tend to be expensive, upwards of $50-60 or more a bottle.
Yes, we are on the same page. The delicate floral and vegetative flavors, and hints of earthiness, of agave spirits, are so easily overwhelmed by more than a few months in wood.
I have only been studying agave spirits for 4-5 years, so I am not an expert. Although I hope to be down the road. I have completed the first two levels (out of four, have to go to Mexico for the final two) of the Master Mezcaleria certification, a program regulated by the Mexican government. I also love going to seminars by the BAR team, especially when Steve Olsen goes into depth. It's a bit of an overload, which is right up my alley.
As a member of a major spirits trade magazine tasting panel I am lucky enough to get to try just about every spirit available in the US, plus many that are not, all in blind tastings, then finding out afterwards what they are. I have found that many of the more aged agave spirits become more and more similar as they are more aged. The wood just takes right over. Really old ones can become almost a confused agave/bourbon mixture because of the used bourbon casks used for so many agave spirits. Others just start to taste like charred barrel.
Last year I was asked to be part of the judging panel for the major Mexican spirits competition in the US. Almost 100 mezcal/tequila in one day. (This years competition is supposed to include every one available in the US.) Blind tasting of course, but afterwards we went back and re-visited them and I was blown away with how good many of the ones in the more moderate ultra-premium range ($35-50) are.
I tend to enjoy the wider variety of mezcal, but then again, all tequila is mezcal, it's just a sub-set.
I have purchased several Tequilas for under $30 which I absolutely love - Don Agustin Blanco ($26), and the repos from Don Fernando ($20). Muchote ($25) and Don Celso ($21 at the time, now $27).
Also, Corrido blanco and repo are outstanding for the $28-32 I paid, but unfortunately the brand has been discontinued since the owner died and the heirs had no interest in keeping it going. I just got these, but many Tequila lovers consider this one of the best brands around.