The Tasting Panel magazine

August 2014

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54  /  the tasting panel  /  august 2014 LAUNCH PAD L ike Patrón's core offerings, the newly released Roca Patrón tequilas are ultra-premium spirits created with an unwavering commitment to quality and craftsmanship. The packaging resembles Patrón's flagship portfolio, but what comes out of the Roca bottles is much more agave fla- vor, with slightly less sweetness and spice. These tequilas are agave-intense without being rough, harsh or hot. Despite this nuance, Antonio Rodriguez, Patrón's Production Manager, says that the right question to ask about these tequilas isn't "What's so new about them?" but rather "What's so old?" Roca Patrón represents the company's first line of tequilas produced exclusively by the tahona process, a centuries-old technique using a hand-carved, two-ton, volcanic rock (roca) wheel to crush cooked agave and release an abundance of complex flavors. "All tequilas used to use a tahona stone dur- ing production, but technology has meant that this process is rarely used anymore," explains Rodriguez. "Patrón is one of the few that still have tahona stones and still uses them." Thanks to this process, the juice and crushed agave fibers ferment together for three days before being distilled in handmade copper pot stills. Adjusting the proofs differently for each variety allows, according to Rodriguez, more agave flavors to come to the fore while the rest of the spirit remains balanced. Furthermore, instead of using Patrón's normal process of finishing tequilas in a series of barrels, Roca's aged expressions only rest in single-use American bourbon barrels. "The market has certainly evolved," Rodriguez says, explaining the reason behind introducing Roca now. "Maybe even five years ago, most tequila drinkers weren't all that interested in this much complexity in tequila. Now, we feel they're ready." Back to Basics INTRODUCING ROCA PATRÓN by Anthony Head Antonio Rodriguez, Patrón's Production Manager, with the newest expression, Roca Patrón—the company's first line of tequilas produced exclusively by the tahona process. PHOTO: KIRK WEDDLE Roca Patrón Reposado ($80) 84 proof Aged five months in single-use American bourbon barrels to soften and round the agave flavors, there's some vanilla and oak character that adds depth—but not needless weight—to cocktails. Roca Patrón Silver ($70) 90 proof A lot of up-front fruit distinguishes this from other silver tequilas. The agave is very pronounced and supported with subtle vegetal notes. Even at 90 proof, this remains balanced with an enticing cooked agave finish. Roca Patrón Añejo ($90) 88 proof Aged 14 months in bourbon barrels, this has more vanilla sweetness and earthy smoothness to its profile. Still, the agave always comes through and lingers on the end.

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