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Agave 99 Anejo Tequila

Review: Agave 99 Anejo Tequila  80.5/100
a review by Chip Dykstra (Aka Arctic Wolf)
Re-posted – January 2018

Agave 99 Tequila is product of Worldwide Beverage Imports (WBI) who are located in Los Angeles California.The  number 99 represents the bottling proof for the spirit which is bottled at 49.5 % alcohol by volume. As part of the media package I was given for the anejo spirit when I received my sample were two copies of official looking certificates. These indicated that Agave 99 Tequila is considered legally ‘organic’ by both the European Union and the USDA. It was also indicated to me that the tequila is kosher and is therefore suitable for both Cinco de Mayo and for Passover.

Although I was not told the exact distillery which produces this agave spirit, I did notice that the identified NOM on the bottom of the label 1472. This NOM identifier is required by the Mexican Government to be placed on the label of each bottle of tequila to verify that it is produced legally from agave sourced in the Tequila region of Mexico. Each distillery has its own NOM, and thus we can trace the distillery of origin. In this case the producing distillery is Fabrica de Tequilas Finos, S.A. De C.V.. who produce a number of Tequila brands including KAH Tequila.

This distillery is located in the central lowlands. The distinction between agave produced in the lowlands instead of the highlands is important because lowland agave tends to carry more earthy and vegetal flavours into the final distilled product than agave grown in the highlands. These lowland characteristics should be even more assertive than usual given the high bottling proof of the spirit.

According to the information given to me, Agave 99 Anejo Tequila has been aged for a minimum of two years in American White Oak.

In the Bottle 4/5

To the left is a nice J-peg picture of the Agave 99 Anejo Tequila. The shot stubby bottle itself looks fine. It is a bottle which looks like it will be easy to hold and the mid-sized neck will make pouring without spilling easy. The bottle also has a nice synthetic cork closure which will give me that nice “pop” when I open it.

However, the labeling is a little disappointing. The front label is rather plain with an uninteresting logo and colours which blend in rather than stand out. When I saw my first bottle on the shelf at a local liquor store, I was not inspired. It would be difficult to choose this spirit over any others in a store display based upon its presentation alone.

In the Glass  9/10

As I stated above, Agave 99 Anejo Tequila is produced from agave grown in the lowlands of Jalisco. Lowland agave tends to carry more earthy flavours into the Tequila than agave grown in the highlands. This difference in character is noticeable in the glass as the aroma from the Tequila is indeed quite earthy with that underlying punky agave scent reminiscent of baked garden squash. There is also a light oak scent which resembles sandalwood, and enticing wisps of butterscotch and caramel rising into the air. Hints of cardamom and ginger are scattered within the breezes and perhaps a few orange pekoe tea leaves as well. Within all of this is a very subtle citrus spiciness which seems beautifully melded into the aroma.

In the Mouth  48/60

As the Anejo spirit entered my mouth I noticed two very different aspects of flavour. The first was a firm butterscotch sweetness, and the second sensation was the sharp taste of herbaceous pepper which gave this spirit real bite. The firm sweetness was not welcome, as it did not fit easily into my perceptions of the taste profile for anejo tequila. As well, the herbaceous spiciness pushed forward by the high alcohol strength of the spirit made sipping uncomfortable especially as the peppery bite seemed to have a sharpness which I would normally associate with alcohol burn. Now, this is 49.5 % alcohol by volume product, and so I expected intensity, in both the flavour and the bite; but I am finding it hard to reconcile these two taste sensations in what was represented to me as smooth aged agave spirit.

On the positive side, the spirit does have a soft texture in the mouth. I taste a lovely ribbon of fruity/earthy agave, some mild oaky notes, as well as an undercurrent of herbal tea. However, these pleasing aspects of the spirit are somewhat buried under the initially strong sweetness of butterscotch and the unbridled heat of white pepper and alcohol. When I added a cube of ice to my glass, the bite was tempered. I was though disappointed that the promise of complexity and balance on the nose was not realized during my tasting sessions as I sipped.

In the Throat  12/15

The Agave 99 Anejo exits with a fair amount of burn in the throat that is not tempered by the addition of water, nor ice. The soft oily texture of the tequila coats the palate and the throat leaving a lingering aftertaste of herbaceous spiciness which is good; but it also leaves distressing impressions of cane syrup and too much caramel.

The Afterburn  7.5/10

The sampling sessions I had with this spirit did not go as well as planned. The spirit has too much bite, and a touch too much sweetness for me to find the enjoyment I had hoped for in an Anejo spirit. I wonder about that heightened sweetness and where it could be coming from. I also note that the bite of this spirit reminds me as much of alcohol burn as it does of peppery spice. I guess I am not a fan of this interpretation of Anejo tequila.

You may read some of my other Tequila Reviews (click the link) if you wish to have some comparative reviews.


Suggested Recipe

In keeping with my recent tradition of naming my new tequila cocktails after the 21 novels in the Travis McGee series by American author John D. MacDonald.  I have named this cocktail after the eighth book in the series, One Fearful Yellow Eye. As you know, I have always liked the Travis McGee novels, and I believe that most of the titles for these novels make great names for cocktails.

One Fearful Yellow Eye

1 oz Agave 99 Anejo Tequila
1/2 oz Galliano
1/2 oz Cointreau
Orange and Pineapple Juice
Squeeze of Lime

In a metal Shaker filled with ice add the Tequila, the Galliano and the Cointreau
Add equal parts of Orange and Pineapple juice (about 3 oz total)
Shake until the sides of the metal shaker frosts.
Strain into a tall highball glass
Garnish with a squeeze of lime



You may (loosely) interpret the scores as follows.

0-25     A spirit with a rating this low would actually kill you.
26-49   Depending upon your fortitude you might actually survive this.
50 -59  You are safe to drink this…but you shouldn’t.
60-69   Substandard swill which you may offer to people you do not want to see again.
70-74    Now we have a fair mixing Tequila.  Accept this but make sure it is mixed into a cocktail.
75-79    You may begin to serve this to friends, (we are probably still cocktail in territory).
80-84    We begin to enjoy this spirit neat or on the rocks. (I will still primarily mix cocktails)
85-89    Excellent for sipping or for mixing delicious cocktails!
90-94    Definitely a primary sipping spirit, in fact you may want to hoard this for yourself.
95-97.5 The Cream of the Crop
98+       I haven’t met this bottle yet…but I want to.

Very loosely we may put my scores into terms that you may be familiar with on a Gold, Silver, and  Bronze medal  scale as follows:

70 – 79.5    Bronze Medal (Recommended only as a mixer)
80 – 89.5     Silver Medal (Recommended for sipping and or a high quality mixer)
90 – 95         Gold Medal (Highly recommended for sipping and for sublime cocktails.)
95.5+            Platinum Award (Highest Recommendation)

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