One of the most discussed topics in the world of spirits is certainly the marketing dimension. Especially when it comes to the design of bottle labels or packaging, opinions differ widely. The number of people who appreciate information that is more transparent and prefer labels with an almost natural-scientific appearance seems to be growing steadily. (provided test products)*
On the other hand, there are sometimes ludicrous stories about old recipes from great-grandfather’s cellar, the favourite rums of famous buccaneers or super-duper premium deluxe qualities and family traditions from the old days. These, in turn, are becoming more and more discredited, which is certainly proportional to increasing consumer awareness and the above-mentioned preference for factual product information. I would also like to stand up for product transparency, but I would also like to admit that I certainly like a good story and do not want to miss a certain flair either. The extreme vision of a world of spirits with uniform bottle designs full of numbers would put me off. However, why am I telling this here?
Admittedly, I spoke a little bit verbosely because actually I only wanted to talk about a Tequila. The demand for 100% agave tequilas, which has risen rapidly in recent years, has had very visible consequences in this branch of the spirits world and has driven forward an industrialisation that has distanced many tequilas from their origins. Illustrious marketing stories often hide a very little romantic manufacturing process that nevertheless produces a solid tequila. But many connoisseurs see the original production process for tequila not just as a question of flair, but also as a quality criterion. Beyond the “100% de Agave” declaration on the labels, it is also interesting, for example, whether the piñas were ground with a traditional Tahona stone grinding wheel after the roasting process or not. Numbers and transparency are supplemented here by tradition and craftsmanship. And this is where the Tapatio Tequila comes into play, which is what it is all about today.
The Tapatio, which comes from the La Alteña distillery in Jalisco, is a tequila with a long family tradition that explicitly emphasizes its artisanal manufacturing processes. The Camarena family, which runs the distillery, has been producing tequila since the beginning of the 19th century, according to their own statements, but had to start anew as a result of the destruction of their production plant during the Mexican Civil War. Today’s distillery exists “only” since 1937, and of course, the traditional Tahona is still used here. In addition to Tapatio, the brands Ocho and El Tesoro are also produced in the La Alteña distillery, but today it’s all about Tapatio.
The Tapatio Tequila is distilled twice before it is bottled (and of course after a maturation process depending on the quality). I would like to examine two qualities here today. On the one hand the Tapatio 110 with an ABV of 55% (110 American proof) and the Tapatio Reposado, which was allowed to mature for four months in former Bourbon barrels (that is two months more than necessary for the Reposado declaration). The Reposado is bottled at an ABV of 38%.
Tasting Notes “Tapatio 110”:
Aroma: Typical earthy and spicy agave notes are the first impression I have. In addition, there are vegetal notes of floury potatoes, green beans, white pepper, a certain sweetness (white candy sugar) and herbal notes (some thyme and sorrel). Over time, some lemon peel emerges. I have had much more one-dimensional tequilas in my glass, this one here is absolutely exciting!
Taste: Wow, I really like that! From the very beginning, there is a certain sweetness, which comes up with the concentrated load of spicy agave: white pepper, mineral tones, in addition an herbaceous background, really nice! Of course, the 55% vol. already provide some “punch” on the tongue, but here it fits wonderfully and the alcohol accompanies the white pepper very skilfully.
Finish: spicy and long with earthy, dry notes.
Tasting Notes “Tapatio Reposado”:
Aroma: By comparison, the aromas are much softer here. A nice fruity note of green apples and also some caramel fits into the overall picture. Woody notes also complement the vegetal tones, which here tend more towards zucchini or paprika. The Reposado offers a beautiful, complex aroma, although not quite as impressive as with the Tapatio 110.
Taste: Also on the palate, this one is noticeably milder with the expected vanilla from the ex-Bourbon barrels, but also surprisingly fruity tones of peaches and apricots. Here, too, there is an earthy-spicy agave present, but it is much less impetuous than in the Tapatio 110. Over time, the association of a cream dessert such as crème brûlée densifies.
Finish: quite mild and reserved with oak and some cinnamon, medium long.
Two different tequilas, two different drinks – on the one hand I opted for a variation of the classic Margarita. And while the Tapatio Reposado can of course also be used in a drink the way it is, I decided to infuse it with fresh mango for 48 hours for my Mamatarita. By the way: the recipe for the Mamatarita does not come from my or another mom, but is the result of the prefixes Mango-Mandarina-Tamarind. Some tangerine/mandarine eau de vie from Faude Feine Brände and a little tamarind puree bestow a very nice, fruity-fresh twist upon this variant.
5 cl Tapatio Reposado infused with fresh mango (see below)
1.5 cl Faude Feine Brände Mandarine aus Sizilien (tangerine eau de vie)
2.5 cl lime juice
1 bar spoon tamarind pulp
1 cl agave syrup
Tapatio Reposado infused with fresh mango: Simply add a handful of mango cubes to 250 ml Tapatio Reposado and let infuse for 48 hours. Finally filter out through a filter cloth (I am using the Alkemista Infusion Vessel).
Preparation: Shake all ingredients vigorously on ice and strain into a pre-cooled glass.
Garnish: dried slice of mango
I also went for a drink, which is offered as Sandia Negroni at its place of origin, the Simbal Restaurant in Los Angeles. However, because the drink does not have much in common with a Negroni and I discovered it at Imbibe Magazine as a Sandia Watermelon Cocktail, I just took that name. I hope that David Valdez (the creator of the drink) will forgive me. The Tapatio 110 seems particularly suitable to me in this drink because of its increased alcohol content. It has what it needs to prevail a little better against the other ingredients and it was able to convince me completely. Oh yes: The Bittermens Habanero Bitters do not appear in the original recipe. Nevertheless, because they harmonize so fantastically with watermelon, I decided to add a dash… – a good decision!
Recipe “Sandia Watermelon Cocktail”:
3 cl Tapatio 110 Tequila
3 cl Aperol
3 cl fresh watermelon juice
1.5 cl lime juice
0.75 cl ginger syrup
1 Dash Bittermens Hellfire Habanero Shrub
Preparation: Shake all ingredients vigorously on ice and strain into a glass filled with a solid block of ice.
Garnish: Melon wedge (originally a watermelon ball soaked in Fresno chile juice with a leaf of mint)
*The fact that these products have been sent to me free of charge for editorial purposes does not – in any way – imply any influence on the content of this article or my rating. On the contrary, it is always an indispensable condition for me to be able to review without any external influence.