It’s Cinco de Mayo, a date that commemorates the victory of a badly outnumbered Mexican military in opposition to the invading French in an obscure nineteenth century battle. It’s a day that’s extra carefully noticed within the US than it’s in Mexico, the place it usually passes unnoticed, and which, via some intelligent advertising and marketing, has change into an American celebration of Tequila.
It’s a superb event then to delve into Cristalino Tequila, a brand new class of Tequila that’s taking the US by storm. Tequila is the quickest rising spirit class within the US, and Cristalino is the quickest rising kind of Tequila.
Cristalino Tequila is usually an añejo or further añejo Tequila that has been filtered with activated charcoal to be able to take away its shade and improve its fruity and floral character. The result’s a transparent Tequila, much like a blanco, which additionally retains the style and aroma profile of a Tequila that has been barrel aged.
The standard Cristalino provides the barrel aged flavors of an añejo or further añejo, reminiscent of caramel, vanilla and oak, and the fruity and floral components of a blanco. It additionally provides up a rounded, silky mouth really feel, with a notable palate weight and clean texture.
Simply as each añejo or further añejo has its personal distinctive aroma and taste profile, the identical is true of Cristalino Tequilas. Some Cristalinos are candy, with a really pronounced aroma of vanilla and caramel different much less so. In some circumstances, these flavors are so pronounced that they appear synthetic; like a Chardonnay whose vanilla flavors have been overly enhanced with oak chips.
Stylistically, Cristalinos can range from dry to candy. Some producers add agave syrup to their Cristalino to boost the sweetness and smoothness. The Tequila Regulatory Council (CRT) permits the addition of sure components to Tequila, offered they don’t exceed 1% of the amount. For those who discover a Cristalino a contact too candy, attempt it with a slice of lime.
The CRT requires Cristalinos to point out the affect of barrel growing older, however doesn’t specify a minimal growing older interval or that they should be crystal clear.
Octavio Reposado Cristalino and Partida Roble Fino Cristalino Tequila Reposado, for instance, are each Reposado Tequila and are aged in oak barrels for about six months. They keep the silky smoothness typical of Cristalinos, however the vanilla and caramel notes are subtler.
Volcan de mi Terra’s Cristalino is a mix of añejo and additional añejo tequilas which were aged in both ex-bourbon casks or Cognac barrels. Every Tequila is filtered individually earlier than being blended collectively. After being allowed to marry, the Cristalino is bottled. In contrast to the crystal-clear expressions, nevertheless, Volcan’s Cristalino has a lightweight golden sheen.
Cristalino is the quickest rising Tequila class in Mexico, and has had a profound impression on that market. It’s accountable for making Tequila the most important spirit class in Mexico, and for shifting its consumption to greater than 50% feminine. It has additionally broadened Tequila’s enchantment to youthful millennials, particularly millennial ladies.
There are presently round 50 manufacturers of Cristalino Tequila in Mexico, round forty of them can be found within the US or have introduced plans to start US distribution.
Beneath are tasting notes from six of the highest rated Cristalinos presently out there within the US. All six are constituted of 100% blue agave. They characterize a spread of ending methods and a broad array of aroma and taste profiles.
Herradura Extremely, Tequila Añejo, 40% ABV, 750 ml
Extremely is a Cristalino model Tequila, regardless that it doesn’t use the identify. It’s a mix of the distillery’s Choice Suprema further añejo Tequila, which spends as much as 49 months in oak barrels, and 25-month-old añejo Tequila.
The 2 Tequilas are blended collectively and allowed to marry earlier than the ensuing mix is filtered. Herradura provides a small quantity of agave syrup to Extremely earlier than bottling, giving it a barely sweeter style than the common Herradura añejo or further añejo.
On the nostril there are notes of recent agave, adopted by a moist stone minerality. Because the Tequila opens up aromas of buttery popcorn and fruit emerge, particularly crisp pear, together with some refined notes of pink fruits and a little bit of caramel. There are additionally some cinnamon and vanilla notes, though the vanilla is kind of refined for a Tequila that has spent 4 plus years in oak. There may be additionally a really faint observe of sandalwood.
On the palate, Extremely has a candied sweetness, and could be very fruity. It’s very clean, with an apparent palate weight and a silky, mouth coating texture. The vanilla notes are extra pronounced on the palate and the fruit tends to be extra tropical, with hints of coconut and pineapple, than on the nostril.
The end is lengthy, silky, cotton sweet candy and fruity, with lingering vanilla and a few clove notes and only a trace of pepperiness.
It is a very straightforward consuming Tequila, particularly chilled or on the rocks. Hold a bottle within the fridge for an ideal accompaniment to a lazy summer season day.
1800, Tequila Cristalino Añejo, 40% ABV, 750 ml
The 1800 Cristalino Añejo Tequila is a wealthy, full-bodied Tequila. The Tequila is aged in a mixture of ex-Bourbon and new French oak barrels for at least 16 months earlier than being completed in Port wine pipes for an extra six months. It’s then filtered and bottled.
On the nostril, it has some cooked agave notes, together with a marshmallow-like sweetness. Its buttery, accompanied by fruit notes of cooked apple, a bit cherry and a touch of licorice. There are further notes of vanilla, a bit caramel and a few black pepper.
On the palate its candy, with a buttery, oily, mouth coating high quality and an apparent palate weight. The cooked agave flavors are extra pronounced, together with notes of vanilla and caramel. It’s very fruity, with refined tropical fruit notes of pineapple and mango and a touch of orange zest. There’s a little bit of cinnamon and a gentle however noticeable pepperiness that builds steadily.
The end is medium size, candy with lingering caramel and vanilla notes, together with some pepperiness and a little bit of a inexperienced vegetative observe on the tip.
Tequila Partida Añejo Cristalino, 40% ABV, 750 ml
Partida’s Añejo Tequila is aged for at least 18 months in ex-bourbon barrels earlier than it’s filtered and bottled as a Cristalino.
On the nostril, there’s a pronounced aroma of cooked agave, together with notes of vanilla and caramel and a few cinnamon.
On the palate, there may be extra caramel, bordering on maple syrup, lemon zest, together with fruit notes of pear, some apple, golden raisin, recent fig and a few tropical fruits, specifically mango, pineapple and a few banana. The Tequila has an oily, mouth coating high quality.
The end is lengthy, clean and candy, with hints of pineapple and a gentle however lingering pepperiness.
Partida additionally has a Roble Fino in a Reposado, an Añejo and as a Cristalino expression. Roble Fino means “advantageous oak,” and is a reference to the usage of Oloroso Sherry butts that had been beforehand used to mature single malt whisky. Solely, 7,200 bottles had been launched throughout all three ranges.
The casks are obtained from Edrington, the homeowners of such iconic single malts as The Macallan, Highland Park and the Glenrothes. Edrington Americas handles distribution, advertising and marketing and gross sales for Partida within the US.
Within the case of the Partida, Roble Fino, Cristalino Tequila Reposado Sherry Oak End, 40% ABV, 750 ml, the Tequila is aged in ex-Bourbon casks for at least six months, after which undergoes an extra two months of ending in a “ex-single malt, sherry seasoned casks.” This expression is the primary ex-single malt Sherry cask completed, reposado Cristalino.
The Sherry cask seasoning provides notes of dried fruits and almonds, typical Sherry cask influences, to the notes of cooked agave, caramel, vanilla and toasted oak.
On the palate, the Cristalino is sweet candy. The Sherry cask ending additional provides to the Tequila’s clean, silky character. The Cristalino provides up flavors of dried pink fruit, lemon zest and marzipan, together with cooked agave notes. There are further notes of vanilla and caramel, though these are extra refined than within the typical Cristalino, together with some dried natural notes and a gentle chili pepperiness.
The end is lengthy, candy, with dried fruit flavors and a lingering vegetative and peppery observe.
Maestro Dobel, 50 Cristalino Additional Añejo, 40% ABV, 750 ml
The Maestro Dobel Cristalino spends a minimal of 36 months in a mixture of French Oak, ex-Bourbon, and Sherry casks. The additional añejo Tequila casks slated to change into a Cristalino are hand chosen from the corporate’s inventory of aged Tequilas.
The identify “Dobel” is an acronym shaped from the identify of Juan Domingo Beckmann Legorreta. Beckmann Legorreta, the eleventh-generation chief of Jose Cuervo, based the corporate in collaboration with grasp distillers Marco Anguiano and Luis Yerenas. Their first launch was in 2008.
The Cristalino commemorates Beckman’s 50th birthday, therefore the reference to “50” on the label.
On the nostril, there are aromas of cooked agave, together with baked apple, caramel, vanilla and candy honey notes, adopted by Sherry cask induced dried fruit notes of golden raisin, fig and quince. There are further notes of milk chocolate, some espresso and a slight dried natural taste.
On the palate, the Cristalino is silky clean, with an oily mouth coating high quality. It’s candy, with dried fruit notes of fig, date and hints of pineapple. There may be additionally a cooked squash/spicy pumpkin pie high quality, together with spice notes of cinnamon, clove and a little bit of pepper.
The end is lengthy, silky clean and candy, with lingering dried fruit notes, some milk chocolate, a light pepperiness and a slight trace of bitterness on the finish.
Volcan de mi Tierra, Cristalino Añejo, 40% ABV, 750 ml
In contrast to different Cristalinos, the Volcan Cristalino has a lightweight gold/straw shade. It is a very flavorful, strong Tequila. It’s a mix of añejo Tequila, which has been aged for a yr, and additional añejo Tequila that has been aged for 3 years.
The Tequila is matured in a mixture of ex-Bourbon and Cognac casks. The distillery makes use of a mixture of high-pressure autoclave and conventional stone ovens (hornos) to cook dinner the agave, and makes use of a mixture of a tahona, a conventional stone wheel and a curler mill to crush the cooked agave. One other uncommon function of Volcan is that it makes use of a Champagne yeast in fermentation.
On the nostril, there’s a very pronounced cooked agave aroma, together with distinctive notes of vanilla and caramel. The Tequila is fruity, with dried fruit notes, a little bit of dried natural aromas, in addition to some milk chocolate. There may be additionally a definite moist stone minerality that this typical of Volcan de mi Tierra expressions.
On the palate, there’s a notable, candy, cooked agave taste, accompanied by caramel and vanilla and a pronounced chili pepperiness. There are further notes of dried fruit, together with milk chocolate, some dried herbs, a little bit of TSTIME and a moist stone/mineral observe.
The end is lengthy, candy, with dried fruit notes and a definite lingering pepperiness.
These are all excellent Cristalino Tequilas. They’re different, underscoring the truth that as distillers proceed to experiment with totally different cask finishes and manufacturing protocols to create new aroma and taste profiles in Tequila, these modifications will finally be mirrored in a broadening of the types of Cristalino out there to shoppers.
Whether or not straight up, on the rocks or in cocktails, Cristalino Tequilas have a lot of to supply shoppers and are nicely price exploring.