The Tasting Panel magazine

September 2012

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Page 92 of 132

Counting The Ways Espolón 123 Organic Tequila Reposado (Dos) 100% Blue Agave Not all blue agaves are created equal. Those used to make 123 Organic Tequila Reposado (Dos) are grown at an altitude of 4,200 feet, nurtured in the mineral rich soil of the Lowlands of Jalisco. In addition, the agaves are USDA- and EU-certified organic, meaning they were cultivated without the use of pesticides or synthetic fertilizers. A quick sniff, sip and swallow will confirm the effort and expense was worth it. This artisanal brand (pronounced "Uno Dos Tres") is made in Amatitán at Tequila Las Americas (NOM 1480). After harvest- ing, the agaves are baked in traditional stone ovens and slowly fermented before being double-distilled in small-batch stainless steel pot stills. The reposado is aged for six months in American white oak barrels, while the brand's añejo is allowed to remain in wood for up to 18 months. One of the bona fide celebrities of the range is 123 Organic Tequila Reposado (Dos). The amber/gold tequila has a lushly textured body and a bouquet saturated with the bakery-like aromas of caramel, spice, toffee and vanilla. The palate is a lavish affair of cocoa, vanilla, cinnamon and crème brûlée. The flavors persist long into the extended finish. Other expressions . . . Bottled fresh from the still, crystal clear 123 Organic Blanco ("Uno") 100% Agave Tequila has a semisweet nose and a broad palate of anise, caramel, vanilla and citrus flavors. Equally engag- ing is the 123 Organic Añejo ("Tres") 100% Agave Tequila. It has a light golden hue and a caramel, vanilla and dark chocolate nose. The tequila bathes the palate with the lingering flavors of cocoa, mint, cinnamon and toffee. The longer the tequila breathes, the more flavors it seems to exhibit. 123 Spirits Expresiones del Corazón A legitimate game changer, ultra- premium Expresiones del Corazón is a series of five wood-finished tequilas from Casa San Matias (NOM 1103) in town of Ojo de Agua in the Highlands of Los Altos. After distillation, much of the tequila is placed in barrels used previously to age such famed whiskies as Sazerac Rye, George T. Stagg Bourbon and Van Winkle Bourbon. The altogether sensational Expresiones del Corazón Reposado is matured for 11 months in Buffalo Trace Bourbon barrels. The range also includes a blanco version and three añejos. The limited-release series is scheduled to make its debut in February 2013. Gemini Spirits & Wine This classy Reposado, hailing from the 600-acre Plascencia Alvarez, is crafted at Destiladora San Nicholas (NOM 1440) through state of the art technology and traditional tequila making techniques. The estate-grown agaves are steam baked in stainless steel autoclaves, slowly fermented and double-distilled in stainless steel continuous stills. Espolón Reposado is aged for six months in small American white oak barrels. It has a rich golden hue and a lush, medium- weight body that delivers a savory palate of spices, dried herbs and roasted peppers. Campari America 92 / the tasting panel / september 2012

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