Dulce Vida Organic Tequila (Anejo)
Review: Dulce Vida Organic Tequila (Añejo) 89/100
a review by Chip Dykstra (Aka Arctic Wolf)
Posted on September 14, 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 24 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 # 37 for this particular bottle). The good certainly outweighs the bad, although a shorter squat bottle would have garnered a perfect score.
In the Glass 9/10
When I poured the Añejo into my glencairn glass I saw that the spirit was the colour of pale straw consistent with a spirit which has sat for less than two years in a refilled oak barrel. When I tilted the glass and gave it a slow twirl, I saw a slightly thickened sheen of spirit on the inside of the glass the crest of which held back for only a few moments before dropping medium-sized leglets.
The breezes above the glass carries indications of a lightly sweet honey scent which is melded with enticing wisps of butterscotch and caramel. I also sense a firm indication of fine oak spices combined with hot white pepper. The typical earthy/fruity aroma (reminiscent of garden squash or pumpkin) of the agave is quite mild, however the peppery spice so typical of highland tequila is front and center.
As I inspect the breezes I decide that the fine oak spices resemble sandalwood, with additional hints of cardamom and ginger scattered within as well as some dusty grain and perhaps a few scattered tea leaves as well.
All in all, the scents and smells in the breezes excite me as the tequila promises to be intense and full of heat. I should add that a touch of alcohol push reminds me that the spirit is bottled at 50 % abv., and this alcohol push will certain concentrate the flavour and the heat. Fortunately, a few hints of menthol and licorice in the air provide some reassurance that the intensity of the spirit may be tempered just a little.
In the Mouth 53.5/60
The spirit is as bracing and intimidating as the nose promised. There is a light sweetness of honey, butterscotch and vanilla, combined with an intense peppery heat of agave spice and white pepper. This is a true highland tequila with an aggressive, ‘in your face’ attitude. Sipping must be approached cautiously. When I take some of those cautious sips I find I can can discern a certain light creaminess within the spirit as well as lighter flavour nuances of vanilla pudding, licorice and menthol.
The spirit certainly has its charm, although I find the high-proof masks those lighter flavours, and I decide to add a tough of ice to my glass to see if I can bring them forward. The ice brings more of that creaminess which I noted earlier, and I do indeed find that the flavour nuances are more enjoyable as well. Next, I make myself a nice Autumn Margarita (see recipe below). The cocktail is full of flavour, and I would have no problem serving this to my friends at my next deck party.
In the Throat 13/15
The hot intensity of the finish is certainly a product of both the higher alcohol content the spirit carries as well as the agave spice. However it would be true to say that this intensity is perhaps a little too much for my palate (and tonsils) to handle without ice (although the bracing ‘in your face’ style of the añejo tequila will definitely have its adherents). Had there been a touch more menthol in the finish to soothe the throat and palate, I would have bumped the score half a notch in the exit.
The Afterburn 9/10
There is a lot to like about the Dulce Vida Añejo Tequila. The spicy flavour is invigorating, and in the realm of cocktails the spirit brings all of its bold character to the fore. When chilled, served over ice, or mixed into a cocktail, the añejo spirit is very pleasing.
You may read some of my other Tequila Reviews (click the link) if you wish to have some comparative reviews.
When the evenings turn chill, I often want a stronger more intense cocktail than the typical tall deck drink offers. Making such a cocktail with an aged spirit also offers a cocktail with more depth and character. Here is my Autumn Margarita made with those cool evenings in mind.
2 oz Añejo Tequila (Dulce Vida Organic)
3/4 oz Orange Curacao
1/2 oz fresh Lime Juice
1/2 oz fresh Lemon Juice
1/2 oz sugar syrup (1:1 ratio)
Add the first five ingredients into a metal cocktail shaker with ice
Shake until the sides of the shaker frost
Strain into a cocktail glass
Add a Lime Slice for garnish
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)