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The 2015 Rum Howler Awards – The Year in Tequila

RH-winner2015In 2013, I lamented that it was a bad year for Tequila as far as my home Province of Alberta was concerned, and in 2014 things were to the point that I decided to omit my Rum Howler Awards for Tequila altogether. In 2015, I decided to do something about this state of affairs and I made a concentrated effort to make Tequila a larger part of my website. I began in May with my Rum Howler 2015 Margarita Challenge. As part of my efforts, I sent a call out to industry and asked for samples of Blanco Tequila with the aim of having a small competition to see which brand made the best Margarita Cocktail. I even designed my version of this quintessential cocktail just for the competition, the Alfred Cointreau Margarita Cocktail

My efforts were rewarded as I managed to garner about a dozen samples and when the dust had settled I determined that a new agave brand from Patron, Roca Patron Silver was in the opinion my cast of jurors the best Blanco tequila for our summer time tequila cocktails. My competition had the ancillary benefit of drawing the attention of more tequila producers to my website,  and I received not only a good selection of blanco tequila samples, but also a nice smattering of Reposado, and Anejo tequila as well as a very delicious Extra Anejo.

All of this means that my Rum Howler Awards for Tequila are back, and quite frankly, I could not be happier about that. These are the awards are for the best Tequila Spirits I encountered in the year 2015.

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The 2015Roca Patron SAM_1530 Rum Howler Award for Best Blanco Tequila

and the winner is:

Roca Patron Silver

Runner-up Award to: Tromba Tequila

Honourable Mention: Dulce Vida Organic Tequila

To choose the winner of this category I went straight to the results from my Rum Howler 2015 Margarita Challenge. The Margarita Cocktail is the quintessential Tequila bar drink and it seemed rather silly to ignore those results when choosing the best blanco tequila of 2015.

When I served Roca Patron (Blanco) to my jurors, the Rum Chums, it was in a blind format. In that blind format, this was the spirit that my entire judging panel went crazy over. It would not be an understatement to say that the Roca Patrón Silver ran a scythe through the competition. What amazed me was that, even though the agave and the hot peppery spice are understated in this expression of Patrón Tequila, those aspects of the spirit nevertheless shone through the cocktail experience.

No slouches either were the Tromba Tequila, and the Dulce Vida which earned Runner-up and Honourable Mention Awards respectively. All three of these tequilas were new additions to my website in 2015, and they were all welcome additions.

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Dulce Vida ReposadoThe 2015 Rum Howler Award for Best Reposado Tequila

and the winner is:

Dulce Vida Organic (Reposado)

Runner-up Award to: Casamigos Reposado

Honorable Mention: Patrón Reposado Barrel Select

For the Reposado category, I decided to sample two cocktails upon which 50 % of the weight for my judging was placed. As well I placed 50 % of the weight upon how well the spirit tasted when served neat at room temperature. In case you are interested, the two cocktails I chose for judging this year were two of my creation, the first being The Valerie Project and the second, Spin on to Spica. Each of those cocktails was designed last summer with Reposado Tequila in mind.

Dulce Vida Organic Reposado is a smooth, elegant tequila spirit with a nice Highland squeal of white pepper counterbalanced by lightly sweet honey and corn and a soft soothing mint. It is a reposado spirit which has crossed the border where I would recommend it as a very nice sipping spirit. It is also (of course) recommended as a high-end cocktail spirit.

Casamigos Reposado is a worthy Runner-Up Award Winner, and the Honourable Mention goes to another new spirit from Patron, their Reposado Barrel Select. Again all three spirits are new to my website  this year.

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Dulce Vida Lone Star IIIThe 2015 Rum Howler Award for Best Anejo Tequila

and the winner is:

Dulce Vida Lone Star III

Runner-up Award to: Don Julio (Anejo)

Honorable Mention: Dulce Vida Rocky Mountain SE (Review Pending)

For the Añejo category, I judged each spirit by sipping them neat and then constructing two cocktails, the Autumn Margarita and an elegant sipping cocktail, the Maximiliano. Half of the weight was given to the spirit when served neat and half was given to its performance as a cocktail spirit.

It was almost a clean sweep for Dulce Vida as the Dulce Vida Organic Anejo also received very strong consideration. The winning spirit Dulce Vida Lone Star III was aged in Garrison Brother’s Texas Straight Bourbon Whiskey barrels. The Garrison barrels are a special cooperage, 10-gallon barrels which were used to age the First Texas Bourbon produced.

The Don Julia Anejo, and the Dulce Vida Rocky Mountain Special Edition Anejo tequilas earned Runner-up and Honourable Mention Awards respectively.

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Dulce Vida Extra Añejo SAM_1886The 2015 Rum Howler Award for Best Overall Tequila

and the winner is:

Dulce Vida Organic Tequila (Extra Añejo)

Runner-up Award to: Roca Patrón Silver Tequila 

Honourable Mention: Dulce Vida Organic (Reposado)

In 2015, I tasted one tequila spirit which I felt was very special, the Dulce Vida Organic Extra Anejo. And it was not just I who felt it was amazing, my entire tasting group, The Rum Chums, went absolutely bananas over this aged wonder. I first served it at a spirits tasting in a line-up with some aged rums and whiskies and this bottle stole the show. It was in fact the highest scoring spirit upon my website this year, and deserves the accolade of Rum Howler Tequila of the Year! And in fact Dulce Vida stole the show this year receiving a full 50 % of the awards upon my website for Agave based spirits. Which is not bad considering that this year I received more Tequila sample than I have for any other year upon my website.

The Roca Patron Silver deserves accolades as well. It is a tremendous Blanco which is easily the best Margarita spirit I have encountered to date.

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RH-winner2015The Winners:

The 2015 Rum Howler Award for Best Blanco Tequila: Roca Patron Silver

The 2015 Rum Howler Award for Best Reposado Tequila: Dulce Vida Organic (Reposado)

The 2015 Rum Howler Award for Best Anejo Tequila: Dulce Vida Lone Star III

The 2015 Rum Howler Award for Best Overall Tequila: Dulce Vida Organic Tequila (Extra Añejo)

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RH-Runner-Up-2015The Runner-ups:

The 2015 Rum Howler Runner-up Award for Best Blanco Tequila: Tromba Tequila

The 2015 Rum Howler Runner-up Award for Best Reposado Tequila: Casamigos Reposado

The 2015 Rum Howler Runner-up Award for Best Anejo Tequila: Don Julio (Anejo)

The 2015 Rum Howler Runner-up Award for Best Overall Tequila: Roca Patrón Silver Tequila 

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RH-HM-2015The Honourable Mentions:

The 2015 Rum Howler Honourable Mention Award for Best Blanco Tequila: Dulce Vida Organic Tequila

The 2015 Rum Howler Honourable Mention Awards for Best Reposado Tequila: Patrón Reposado Barrel Select

The 2015 Rum Howler Honourable Mention Awards for Best Anejo Tequila: Dulce Vida Rocky Mountain SE  (Review Pending)

The 2015 Rum Howler Honourable Mention Awards for Best Overall Tequila: Dulce Vida Organic (Reposado)

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