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Food & Drink

Brave resident tasters put several especial bottles to the test

Photo: Photos by Veronica Luna, License: N/A

Photos by Veronica Luna

Photo: , License: N/A

Only recently available in Texas, Casa Dragones Tequila was co-founded by Bertha González Nieves, reportedly the first female to become an accredited Maestra Tequilera. Packaged in a hand-numbered, engraved crystal decanter and retailing for around $250, deciding if this blue agave joven is "worth it" isn't a luxury everyone can afford.

Photo: N/A, License: N/A

Herradura


Extra añejo is a new category, one that requires aging for at least three years in oak vessels no larger than 600 liters. Our next bottle was the pioneer in this field, choosing to go the unusual route of entering the U.S. market first with an extra, only to come out later with a silver. TequilaMe's añejo elicited both praise and a little concern. "It's hard to imagine this as an extra-añejo," remarked Peña, who expected more wood influence. But then he went on to describe a "cloud of sweet vanilla wrapped in a floral bouquet." Millican also found flowers, and added spice, fruit, and citrus to the mix, calling it a "soccer mom" tequila. (Its advertising is a little more Desperate Housewives, however.) Voluptuous and multilayered were my thoughts. We agreed that we would pay around $55 to $60 for this one, but in fact the price is scheduled to drop to $45 retail.

I hadn't anticipated tasting the TequilaMe Ultra Silver, but it was available, and no DNA test was required to be convinced of common parentage. "Flowers, dried fruit, and agave nectar," said Millican, adding "complex" to the palate descriptors. "Perfumy, honey, dates, and whipped cream," claimed Peña. "Snappier, yeastier than the añejo, but with lemon curd and pastry cream" was my contribution. Our take on price? $35-$40. It's due to drop to $25.

At last, the bottle that launched a thousand sips — or at least several dozen. Casa Dragones is a unique product in that it's a joven (basically meaning an unaged silver with some flavor or color added — in this case a suspicion of extra-añejo) that's priced as a full super añejo, and, oh yes, it has been touted by Martha Stewart. By any stretch of the imagination is it worth the asking price? "It has a pleasant light sweetness with apricots [on the nose]," said Peña. On the palate, he found it "complex, a sharp floral aspect, rose… and a long finish. You would really have to appreciate tequila in order to understand what they are doing,"

Millican also found lavender, citrus, and orange blossom, and called it "sexy and creamy" with a long, "floralicious" finish. "It doesn't feel like it's been messed with," he concluded. "Soft and mysterious," thought Rindfuss. I found it unusually (and admirably) sophisticated in nearly every way, agreeing with the sexy-creamy in spades, and only missed a little of the peppery love bite of a good silver. Sadly for the producer, none of us could imagine paying more than $100 for it. But for the special one-percenter on your list — someone who either thinks he doesn't like tequila or is really into it — it's perfect.

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