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The 2017 Rum Howler Awards – The Year in Tequila

rh-winner2017Beginning in 2015, I made a concentrated effort to make the Agave Spirit a larger part of my website. I began with my Rum Howler 2015 Margarita Challenge and, as part of that effort, designed my version of the quintessential tequila cocktail just for the competition, the Alfred Cointreau Margarita Cocktail. That effort triggered a response from industry as Tequila producers began to take note of my website, and I was contacted to provide spirit reviews from many new producers.

Margarita

Margarita Cocktail

Alas the quirks of Canadian Customs and Excise scared more than a few of these companies away as getting me samples is not easy if you are not based in Canada. However, a steady trickle of samples began to cross my desk and my Tequila Review Page began to grow. That trickle continued into 2016, and not only did the quantity of tequila which I was able to taste increase, the quality of tequila which I was exposed to went off the charts. This new high quality of agave spirit is reflected in the 2017 Rum Howler Awards for Tequila.  (I did make one significant change this year bringing my awards forward one year such that my awards would be in the same calendar year as the awards from other publications and websites.)

As most of you know, when I conduct my deliberations for my annual Rum Howler Awards. I consider not only the spirits which I received as samples in the given year, I also include the samples from the previous year. This means that the body of spirits for my 2017 Rum Howler Awards for Tequila represent the best agave spirits I have tasted to this point.

Here are my award Winners:

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Cabresto Silver SAM_2528The 2017 Rum Howler Award for Best Blanco Tequila

and the winner is:

Cabresto Silver Tequila

Runner-up Award to: Roca Patrón Silver Tequila

Honourable Mention: Tromba Blanco

In 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. I was convinced that this spirit would easily win the Rum Howler Award for best Blanco Tequila two years in a row. Then early in 2016, I received an email from a small producer in Detroit (Cabresto Imports Corporation) asking if I would taste and review their line of Tequila. When I received the samples, I have to admit I was not inspired by the rather plain-looking bottles that arrived. But when I served the agave spirit to my Rum Chums, we were blown away one more time. The Cabresto Silver Tequila (from the Tequila Embajador Distillery) was a diamond in the rough, and it shoved the Roca Patron Blanco off of its lofty perch.

This means that last year’s winner Roca Patron Blanco is this year’s Runner-up, and last Year’s Runner-Up Tromba has become this year’s Honourable Mention. All three of these tequila spirits are great representations of the Blanco Tequila category.

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Dulce Vida ReposadoThe 2017 Rum Howler Award for Best Reposado Tequila

and the winner is:

Dulce Vida Organic (Reposado)

Runner-up Award to: Casamigos Reposado

Honorable Mention: Cabresto Reposado Tequila

When I chose the winners of the Reposado Category, I wanted not only great spirits for sipping, I wanted to select spirits which were also great mixers for classic cocktails. The winner, 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 certainly a spirit which has crossed that border where I would recommend it as sipping spirit. It is also (of course) highly recommended as a cocktail mixer.

Casamigos Reposado is a worthy Runner-Up Award Winner, and the Honourable Mention goes to another new spirit from that small company in Detroit (Cabresto Imports Corporation) with their Cabresto Reposado. Cabresto has made quite an impact upon my awards this year.

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The 2017 Rum Howler Award for Best Anejo Tequila

and the winner is:

Dulce Vida Rocky MountainDulce Vida Organic Rocky Mountain (SE)

Runner-up Award to: Dulce Vida Organic Tequila Lone Star III

Honorable Mention: Casamigos Añejo Tequila

For the second straight year my selections in the Añejo category were almost a clean sweep for Dulce Vida. The winning spirit, Dulce Vida Rocky Mountain Special Edition was aged in a special selection of barrels chosen by Dulce Vida’s Colorado State Manager to appeal to the light, crisp air of the Rocky Mountains’ high altitude and outdoor environment. The Añejo Tequila was aged in these single barrels in the Los Altos region of Jalisco at 1790 meters of altitude in the dry, crisp climate of San Ignacio Cerro Gordo near Arandas, also known as Tierra Colorada.

Dulce Vida Organic Lone Star Anejo (aged in Garrison Brother’s Texas Straight Bourbon Whiskey barrels) earned Runner-up and the Honourable Mention Award was earned by Casamigos ( a tequila brand promoted by George Clooney, Rande Gerber and Mike Meldman).

In case you are wondering, all of these agave spirits were served in both cocktails and sipped neat during the award selection process with the bulk of the weight in my decision being based upon the neat serving.

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Dulce Vida Extra Añejo SAM_1886The 2017 Rum Howler Award for Best Extra Anejo Tequila

and the winner is:

Dulce Vida Organic Tequila (Extra Añejo)

Runner-up Award to: Cabresto Don Silver Reserve Series Extra Añejo 

Honourable Mention: Herencia Historico Tequila (Extra Anejo 5 Anos Cristalino)

For the first time on my website I have awards for the Extra-Anejo Category, and it should come as no surprise to anyone that the 2017 winner is Dulce Vida’s spectacular Dulce Vida Extra Anejo Organic Tequila. This Extra Añejo is a celebratory spirit which has been matured for just over five years in single oak barrels from the Napa Valley.

Another celebratory spirit was released on March 7th, 2016 as Tequila Cabresto unveiled the latest addition to their line of premium tequila, Cabresto Don Silver Reserve Series Extra Añejo. This is a 100 % agave tequila which (according to the media information sent to me) has been aged for seven years in American white oak former whiskey barrels, and more importantly; it is this year’s Runner Up for best extra-anejo tequila of 2016.

Celebration seems to be the theme of the extra anejo category as the Honourable Mention goes to Herencia Historico Tequila (Extra Anejo 5 Anos Cristalino) a spirit from Herencia was produced in recognition of the domination of origin, TEQUILA which was signed in Brussels Belgium, on May 27, 1997. 

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Dulce Vida Extra Añejo SAM_1886The 2017 Rum Howler Award for Best Overall Tequila

and the winner is:

Dulce Vida Organic Tequila (Extra Añejo)

Runner-up Award to: Cabresto Silver Tequila

Honourable Mention: Roca Patrón Silver Tequila

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 the agave spirit stole the show. It was in fact the highest scoring spirit upon my website that year, and for the second year in a row deserves the accolade of Rum Howler Tequila of the Year!

Two other tequila spirits deserve special recognition as well. Cabresto Silver Tequila and Roca Patron Blanco which have been named my Runner-up and my Honourable Mention for 2017. Although each of these spirits makes a fantastic Margarita Cocktail, they each as well are rare blanco  spirits which can be sipped neat for an even greater agave experience.

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The Winners:

rh-winner2017The 2017 Rum Howler Award for Best Blanco Tequila: Cabresto Silver Tequila

The 2017 Rum Howler Award for Best Reposado Tequila: Dulce Vida Organic (Reposado)

The 2017 Rum Howler Award for Best Anejo Tequila: Dulce Vida Organic Rocky Mountain (SE)

The 2017 Rum Howler Award for Best Extra Anejo Tequila: Dulce Vida Organic Tequila (Extra Añejo)

The 2017 Rum Howler Award for Best Overall Tequila: Dulce Vida Organic Tequila (Extra Añejo)

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The Runner-ups:

rh-runner-up-2017The 2017 Rum Howler Runner-up Award for Best Blanco Tequila: Roca Patrón Silver Tequila

The 2017 Rum Howler Runner-up Award for Best Reposado Tequila: Casamigos Reposado

The 2017 Rum Howler Runner-up Award for Best Anejo Tequila: Dulce Vida Organic Tequila Lone Star III

The 2017 Rum Howler Runner-up Award for Best Extra Anejo Tequila: Cabresto Don Silver Reserve Series Extra Añejo 

The 2017 Rum Howler Runner-up Award for Best Overall Tequila: Cabresto Silver Tequila

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The Honourable Mentions:

rh-hm-2017The 2017 Rum Howler Honourable Mention Award for Best Blanco Tequila: Tromba Blanco

The 2017 Rum Howler Honourable Mention Awards for Best Reposado Tequila: Cabresto Reposado Tequila

The 2017 Rum Howler Honourable Mention Awards for Best Anejo Tequila: Casamigos Añejo Tequila

The 2017 Rum Howler Honourable Mention Awards for Best Extra-Anejo Tequila: Herencia Historico Tequila (Extra Anejo 5 Anos Cristalino)

The 2017 Rum Howler Honourable Mention Awards for Best Overall Tequila: Roca Patrón Silver Tequila

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