Del Rey, in the Belltown neighborhood of Seattle, hosted a complimentary tequila tasting on 10/14/09. We found out about the event via Twitter and was lucky enough to RSVP to TwtVite before all of the slots were filled. Tequila is not usually my first choices when ordering a cocktail. This is due to unfortunate tequila experiences in days gone by. I am sure I am not the only one who shys away from the distilled agave plant for this reason. Thus, my motivation for attending was to have the unfortunate experiences replaced with a pleasant, informative one. I was not disappointed.
The tasting was presented by a rep from the Patron Spirits Company. The rep was a “sommelier” of tequila, very knowledgeable and able to explain to the uninitiated what to expect and how to evaluate tequila. The tequila flight consisted of five small, different pours in a specific order. Patron Silver was the first up followed by Patron Reposado, Patron Anejo, Gran Patron, and finally, Patron XO Cafe.
Using Patron Silver, the rep showed us a trick to learn the aroma of agave. Place the palm of your hand over the top of the glass and shake splashing some tequila onto your palm. Rub the palms of your hand together quickly to create heat to evaporate the alcohol and the liquid. Cup your hands around your nose and breathe. The aroma left behind is agave. From that point it was easier for me to identify the very, very subtle aromas in the different tequilas. The systematic evaluation technique I knew for wine, I now used with tequila.
Patron Silver and the Gran Patron are the clear tequilas with the Gran Patron triple distilled making it smoother than the Silver. Both were definitely not the stuff of my days gone by. The other three were pale gold to almost black in color. The Patron Reposado is aged in bourbon barrels. The Patron Anejo is aged in bourbon barrels and then further aged in oak barrels much like wine. This aging builds in color and aromatic complexity that I find interesting. The taste is also more intriguing. The last pour, Patron XO Cafe, was a coffee liqueur. A spirits rep must be very sure of a coffee liqueur to include it in the lineup for Seattle folks. Turns out he did not need to worry. The XO Cafe was delicious and not overly sweet. The coffee flavor was very true to espresso.
The tequila tasting provided me what I desired – an informative and educational experience with different tequilas and a replacement for the tequila experiences of days gone by. The Patron Cafe XO would be a fine as an after dinner sipper with friends.
If you would like to sample some of the high end tequilas available at Del Rey, check out this raffle for a $50 dollar gift certificate!