The SOMM Journal

August / September 2018

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Page 14 of 124

14 { THE SOMM JOURNAL } AUGUST/SEPTEMBER 2018 { discoveries } THE MEXICAN STATE OF MORELOS, located northwest of Oaxaca, has a warm climate and specific terroir of pristine, alkaline-rich volcanic soil that add an unmistakable character to the agave grown there. Music entrepreneurs and Revel Spirits founders Jacqui Thompson and Micah McFarlane were intro - duced to the area by Minneapolis chef and restaurateur Héctor Ruiz, a native to the region. Ruiz's family owns and operates the farm and distillery where Revel is now produced. With their business partner Susan Clausen, Thompson and McFarlane set out to market a high-end tequila. Instead, they end - ed up creating the world's first Avila, a new agave-based spirits category that combines the piña-roasting methods of traditional mezcal production with the modernized steaming techniques of tequila. "There's a huge learning curve when it comes to agave- based spirits," says McFarlane, who also serves as the CEO of Revel Spirits. Made from 100 percent Blue Weber agave, the finished prod - uct is 80 proof and triple-distilled. Under the Revel name, there are currently two expressions available: Blanco and Reposado, with the Añejo Avila set for release this fall. —Meridith May REVELATION Revel Avila Blanco ($55) Revel Spirits' piñas are thrown into a pit filled with volcanic rock from an "active" volcano in Morelos, Mexico. After they're covered with sand and leaves, the piña bulbs are roasted for 48 hours and uncov- ered for another 24 as a pipe inserted into the middle helps release smoke. With aromas of vanilla bean, key lime, and white chocolate, the spirit offers a clean, creamy mouthfeel with flavors of orange rind and white pepper that lead to a finish of fresh, green agave. 98 Revel Avila Reposado ($75) Triple-distilled and aged 12 months in American white oak barrels, this expression offers scents of saddle leather, fresh agave, butterscotch, and oatmeal with just a whisper of refined smoke. The palate is incredibly complex with a range of flavors including pa - tchouli, bergamot, spicy sandalwood, lime, orange peel, and black-peppered toffee. The lingering finish and finely grained tannins caress the tongue with a rich texture. 98 PHOTO: CAL BINGHAM PHOTO: CAL BINGHAM Fine sipping spirits, Revel's Blanco and Reposado Avilas are also superb serving as the base of high-end cocktails. THERE'S A NEW AGAVE SPIRITS CATEGORY IN TOWN: IT'S CALLED AVILA, AND REVEL SPIRITS HAS IT LOCKED UP Revel Spirits co-founders Micah McFarlane and Jacqui Thompson.

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