Once again I’m writing an article about Mexico’s paragon spirit: tequila. About the basics of Tequila in general and also about the genus Mezcal I wrote a few lines some time ago in the context of past reviews (see linked articles), so that we can go directly in medias res today. (provided test product)*
The first impression today’s bottle has on me is a truly high-quality one. This is first of all due to the bottle design, which I really like. Dark, heavy glass hides the view and knows how to convince with a very successful design. A small banderole with a silver owl is tied around the neck of the bottle and acts as the brand’s mascot. The brand, in turn, is called Inicio and comes from a village near Tequila in the Mexican state of Jalisco, where Tequila is produced in the third generation by the operating family Partida Hermosillo. The Blanco Tequila, made from 100% blue agave, is double distilled in the same way as cognac and then allowed to “mature” (respectively: rest) in steel tanks for a few weeks. Before distillation, however, the hearts of the seven to twelve-year-old agaves are first cooked in a stone oven with steam for three days. Then they are juiced and the fermentation process lasts for another three days before the actual distillation process begins. The manufacturer also emphasizes that no additives are used in the production of this tequila (after all, 1% of certain additives are allowed in tequila production: glycerin, oak extract, sugar syrup or agavesirup, etc. – I have even read about cocoa powder. All is not gold that glitters in the world of tequila either. When it comes to rum, the consumer’s awareness for such additives is increasing more and more, with Tequila this is less the case).
The Inicio Tequila is bottled at an ABV of 40% while the price for a bottle is already relatively high for a Blanco Tequila with just over 50 Euro – but obviously the producer wants to emphasize the premium quality aspect among other 100% Agave Blancos, which of course raises expectations accordingly.
Aroma: On the nose, this tequila draws a very complex and sophisticated picture, which I like very much. First of all, besides the typical agave note (which is very aromatic by the way) I find a mineral impact like rock salt, as well as some chalk dust. In Italy, I once tasted a sweet salt (dolce sale) from Ravenna – this tequila somehow makes me think of it. Behind these superficial aromas lies some moss, a hint of basil, white pepper and nuances of sea water and sweetened curd.
Taste: On the palate, the Inicio Blanco is remarkably soft. Mineral tones with white pepper (although more subtle than in many other Blanco Tequilas), some vanilla and again associations of sweet salt. Herbal notes (again basil, some marjoram) finally combine with very fine light fruits and produce a quite complex taste. Very nice!
Finish: medium long, mineral and extremely smooth.
Ok, this is one of the best Blancos I have tried so far! Only the alcohol content could have been a little higher, but that is unfortunately rather the exception with Tequila. Be that as it may: I wanted to use this Tequila in a drink, where it doesn’t have to struggle with juices for enough space to unfold. Instead I wanted it to show its class quite well. So I took the inspiration for my drink from the White Negroni, although I wanted to set some additional accents. Therefore, I added some bergamot eau de vie from Faude Feine Brände (but only a little, the bergamot should not be the main focus here), as well as a dash of Dr. Sours Bitters #6 Quina. A cocktail for friends of bitter taste (like myself), which brings out the class of the Inicio. Oh yes: I named the drink after the owl of philosophy, the owl Minerva, which according to Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel only begins its flight at dusk – exactly the right time for this drink!
Recipe “Owl of Minerva”:
5 cl Inicio Blanco Tequila
2.5 cl Suze
2.5 cl Cocchi Americano
0.5 cl Faude Fine Brände Bergamotte aus Kalabrien
1 Dash Dr. Sours Bitters #6 Quina
Preparation: The drink is built in the glass. Simply pour all ingredients over solid ice, stir briefly, spray with the oil of a lemon zest, ready.
Garnish: lemon zest
Buying sources: At specialized retailers or online
*The fact that this product has 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.