Just a sip or two from the new, complex generation of tequilas will erase your bad memories.
This past fall, popular distiller Corralejo released 1,000 cases of the limited-edition 1821 Extra Añejo ($130), a remarkably smooth offering made using the Charentais pot-still method (the same distillation technique used in the making of cognac). The result, aged 36 months in American oak, has toasty green-olive notes and is remarkably smooth.
Among the favorite sipping tequilas from Clase Azul, a brand that marked its 20th anniversary last year, is its Clase Azul Añejo ($470), aged 25 months. The bottle symbolizes the union of authentic Mexican indigenous roots (represented by the unfired clay) with European glazing techniques.
To celebrate the 80th anniversary of the La Alteña Distillery in the highlands of Jalisco— known for having some of the finest agave fields in Mexico—El Tesoro released the El Tesoro 80th Anniversary Limited Edition ($200). Aged eight years in former American oak bourbon barrels, this 100 percent estate-grown agave nectar is released at a robust 83 proof, but its age makes it a wondrous, caramelized sipper.
Even the legendary Patrón, which essentially invented the ultrapremium category for the spirit, has upped itself, introducing Patrón Extra Añejo ($90). The company had not debuted anything in its core line in 25 years, and this was worth the wait. It is of course 100 percent blue agave, but the difference here is more than three years of aging in oak. As with other sippers like scotch (and, heck, chardonnay for that matter), the contact with the wood imparts complexity. The Extra Añejo offers gorgeous honey notes and an easily discernible vanilla nose that make for a smoothness typical of the brand.