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The ultra-premium tequila niche keeps expanding, even as the category overall continues to explode in popularity. Enter a new extra añejo expression from El Tequileño, a well-respected tequila brand that was just named Agave Producer of the Year at the 2023 International Spirits Competition while also winning several awards.
El Tequileño was founded in 1959 by Don Jorge Salles Cuervo, who was indeed part of the family behind the most famous tequila brand in the world. El Tequileño is headed up by third-generation master distiller Jorge Antonio “Tony” Salles and his father, gran tequilero Juan Antonio Salles, both of whom are responsible for the new Extra Añejo expression. This is a first for the brand, a rarefied expression in terms of price and actual amount of liquid that went into this release. “We begin with only the finest mature agave from Los Altos de Jalisco, carefully crafted to produce the best possible tequila,” said Tony Salles in a statement. “Our special Extra Añejo blend was a collaboration between my father and me. Three barrels of tequila, matured in French and American oak, were hand-selected for their unique flavor and character. These were carefully blended to create an Extra Añejo tequila with rich flavor and complexity.”
The two American oak barrels selected were both previously used to age Jack Daniel’s Tennessee whiskey before maturing the tequila—one for three years and one for four years. The French oak barrel was virgin wood and used to mature the tequila for four years. According to the elder Salles, they selected these specific barrels based on the balance of agave and oak character they retained during maturation in each style. We got an early taste, and that certainly does hold true. There are still crisp pepper and grass notes on the nose, followed by cooked agave, sweet vanilla, black cherry, maple, and orange zest on the palate. This is an elegant sipping tequila, as you might expect at such a hefty price point.
El Tequileño Extra Añejo comes in a crystal Bastiaan decanter with a stopper that looks like it was modeled after an agave pina. It’s available now in select markets for an SRP of $800 (you can reserve a bottle now at the website). The rest of the lineup is available to purchase now from websites like ReserveBar.