The Tasting Panel magazine

November 2015

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Page 52 of 136

52  /  the tasting panel  / november 2015 TEQUILA A lmost two decades ago, when deciding what to do with his life, Arturo Lomelí, founder of Clase Azul, wrote a list of business ventures that piqued his interest. Industrializing a popular Mexican pomegranate punch drink rose to the top, so he created an expression, La Pinta, to bring to the masses. Over the course of the next two years, Lomelí "made every mistake you could imagine," so he went back to school and, in 2000, relaunched his idea—along with a line of premium tequilas: Clase Azul Tequila. Lomelí decided to produce high-end tequilas—far before the recent boom within this category—and build a company, not just a brand. He also wanted to give back to the Mexican people, which is why he employs Mexican craftsman to sculpt the distinct bottles of the portfolio. Each tequila cooks in traditional stone ovens for 72 hours and ferments with yeasts especially developed for Clase Azul. The offerings have grown to now include the unaged Plata; the Reposado, which rests for a minimum of eight months in second-use American oak barrels; the Añejo, aged for 25 months; and the Ultra, made in batches of only 100 and aged in Sherry casks for five years. "For me, it has always been about showcasing Mexico and its culture," explains Lomelí. "Our company has been fortu- nate to be a part of major trends, like pomegranate becoming a popular flavor and consumers looking for luxury tequilas. This wasn't because we were searching for what was hot; we were established before these trends ever took off." We just wonder where he has his Magic 8 Ball hidden. Jason Eisner, Beverage Director for Gracias Madre in Los Angeles, uses Clase Azul Reposado in his Yes, We Cantaloupe cocktail, noting: "Clase Azul is a top-of-the-line tequila that sips like a fine wine. It's clean, high in Brix but not in sugar—made as the gods would envision it." Ahead of the Pack CLASE AZUL LEADS THE WAY FOR ITS CATEGORY by Emily Coleman / photos by Cal Bingham Yes, We Cantaloupe ◗ 1 oz. Clase Azul Reposado ◗ 2 oz. housemade cantaloupe soda ◗ 1 dash orange bitters ◗ Sprig of dill ◗ Shiso leaves The Clase Azul portfolio in its distinct, hand- crafted bottles: the Reposado, Ultra, Plata, their newly launched Mezcal and Añejo.

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