Dulce Vida Organic (Reposado Tequila)
Review: Dulce Vida Organic Tequila (Reposado) 92/100
a review by Chip Dykstra (Aka Arctic Wolf)
Published on December 27, 2015
Dulce Vida Tequila is produced from 100% organic agave grown in the Los Altos highlands which are situated in the Tequila Region of Mexico. The company produces the only 100° proof, 100% organic tequila (also free from additives of any kind) in the world. As well as being 100% organic, their tequila is also produced in a manner which embraces the concept of sustainability. During production of the spirit a complete waste recapture program is set in place which results in the production of a nutrient-rich soil supplement which is supplied to the local farming community. As well, the methane gas which is produced as a by-product of the waste collection & processing is captured and utilized to help power Dulce Vida’s production facilities in the village of San Ignacio Cerro Gordo at Campanario (in Mexico of course).
Although the Dulce Vida website does not specify the exact distillery which produces this agave spirit, I did notice that the identified NOM on the bottom of the label 1443. 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 it is the Don Pilar Distillery who of course also produce Don Pilar Tequila.
Dulce Vida Organic Añejo Tequila has been aged for 11 months in American Bourbon Whiskey barrels, and my review shall begin as it always does with a look at the bottle.
In the Bottle 4.5/5
The spirit arrives in a tall slender bottle shown to the left. More and more of the Tequila spirits I have been reviewing lately seem to be arriving in some form of this tall slender bottle. These bottles have good eye appeal; however they do have the drawback of being rather difficult to place upon my tequila shelf which is constructed for the more typical short and squat tequila bottle. The ‘slender tallness’ of this style of bottle has the additional drawback of being a bit unstable requiring only a small jostle to knock it over.
Having said that,the bottle is sealed with a nice synthetic cork closure, and included upon the label of each bottle is the batch number from which the bottle was produced (Batch # 43 for this particular bottle). The good certainly outweighs the bad, and my score for presentation reflects this reality.
In the Glass 9/10
When I poured the Reposado into my glencairn glass I saw that the spirit held a very pale colour of light sandalwood consistent with a spirit which has sat for less than one year in a refilled oak barrel. When I tilted the glass and gave it a slow twirl, I saw a light sheen of spirit on the inside of the glass the crest of which held back for a few moments before dropping small droplets of spirit which ran slowly back to the bottom of the glass.
The initial breezes above the glass carry a nice updraft of fine oak spice and sandalwood interspersed with wisps of butterscotch and honey. It takes only a little while for a nice peppery agave scent to come forward. The spicy agave slowly reveals its signature ‘punky’ fruity aroma; however the oak and sandal wood in the air never lose their way. They remain as lovely accents upon the spicy punky highland agave fruit.
I find the merry little breezes above the glass very enticing. The spirit is bottled at 50 % alcohol by volume and the nose seems to promise an extra intensity of agave heat. However, the light wisps of honey and butterscotch intrigue me as does a very menthol aroma which has slowly revealed itself in the breezes. These mild accents of soothing mint and silky sweetness seem to be just the right foil for the readily apparent peppery spice.
In the Mouth 55/60
My first reaction to my very first sip was mmmm!
I very much like what I am tasting. There is a nice solid squeal of highland heat, but wrapped within that peppery heat is a lovely corn and honey sweetness. That’s right, I said corn! The American Whisky Barrel used to age the spirit seems to be leaving a not too subtle imprint upon the spirit in a very positive way. As I sip, I am surprised that the high alcohol strength does not cause the agave and alcohol to overwhelm me, both presences are felt but the intensity is kept in check by the light sweetness of the spirit which has been accompanied by a soothing wintergreen menthol. As I sip on the spirit I also notice the normally punky agave fruit seems tainted with orange citrus flavours as if a light amount of Orange Curacao had been added to my glass. It is a welcome tasting note and adds to the delightful nature of the spirit.
I decided that although sipping is very nice, I should also explore a cocktail or two. To that end, I mixed a nice cocktail with lime and grapefruit juice which I have dubbed the Pelican (see below), and I found myself well-pleased with the result. This reposado spirit is quickly becoming a favourite of mine both for sipping and for mixing.
In the Throat 14/15
I have to give credit where credit is do. This spirit is both a tequila and a spirit which is bottled at 50% alcohol by volume. Neither attribute would normally give me reassurance that the spirit would be smooth and easy to sip. Yet the Dulce Vida Organic Reposado is both. Although the palate heats up with spice as you sip, there is a lovely soothing quality created by the corn-like sweetness and the wintergreen menthol.
The Afterburn 9.5/10
I was not expecting what I discovered. Although the online reviews I found for the Dulce Vida Organic Reposado Tequila are generally positive, I found myself scoring the spirit north of these on-line reviews. I find this tequila well-crafted, smooth and delicious.
You may read some of my other Tequila Reviews (click the link) if you wish to have some comparative reviews.
This cocktail was inspired by one of my favourite gin bar drinks the Darby. The Darby is a stunning cocktail which is sure to please even the most discriminating of palates. For this variation I simple replaced the gin with Reposado Tequila. After all grapefruit and lime works just as well with agave and they do with juniper. The result is very similar to the Paloma albeit with much less soda.
The Ruffled Pelican
1 1/2 oz Dulce Vida Reposado Tequila
1/2 oz Fresh Squeezed Grapefruit Juice
1/2 oz Fresh Squeezed Lime Juice
1/2 oz Sugar Syrup
Pour the first three ingredients into a metal shaker with ice
Shake until the sides of the shaker are frosted
Strain into a suitable glass
Add a small splash of soda
Garnish with a slice of lime
Remember to enjoy my cocktail suggestions responsibly!
Note: If you are interested in more of my original cocktail recipes, please click this link (Cocktails and Recipes) for more mixed drink recipes!
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)