Dulce Vida Organic Tequila Lone Star III (Anejo)
Review: Dulce Vida Organic Tequila Lone Star III (Anejo) 91/100
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 Tequila Lone Star III (Anejo) has been 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.
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 # 44 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 Lone Star III 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. It was in fact slightly paler than the previously reviewed Dulce Vida Anejo which surprised me a little. Aging in a small 10 Gallon Barrel would normally impart more oak and colour than aging in a larger barrel. However, it is true that every barrel is unique and drawing any sort of conclusion based upon colour would at this point be perilous.
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-to fat sized leglets. The fatter leglets are most probably a reflection of the higher than normal bottling strength of this spirit.
The breezes above the glass carry indications of a lightly sweet honey and fruit scent which seemed to reflect impressions of vanilla, canned pears and sweet apricots the combination of which seems to me to be quite unusual for a tequila spirit. I also sense light indications of fine oak and sandalwood spices combined with mild indication of white pepper. The typical earthy/fruity aroma (reminiscent of garden squash or pumpkin) of the agave is buried deep within the spirit as is the typical peppery squeal of highland spice. I would say that despite the high bottling strength (50 % abv) this seems to be a softer gentler tequila than I was expecting.
In the Mouth 55/60
The spirit has more of a spicy kick than the nose would have indicated, however having said that, it is my feeling that bracing spice and punky fruit was not the direction the producers were heading for. In fact, instead of punky agave and hot spice, I taste an emphasis towards softly sweet canned fruit (peaches and pears) along with lightly sweet fruit and sugar syrup. Some scattered baking spices within the spirit give me an impression of vanilla and wisps of cinnamon. As I sip I also receive a lightly soothing impression of menthol and camphor.
I do not mean to imply that the soft earthy agave fruit which tequila is known for was not present, nor the peppery highland spice; however both attributes are held in check allowing for a softer, more gentle agave spirit which displays light layers of flavour, and which is very sippable.
I made myself a nice Autumn Margarita which has become a favourite cocktail of mine this fall. The cocktail was full of fruity flavour, and I enjoyed it quite a bit; however, my inclination at this point would be to serve the spirit neat or in a simple cocktail such that I could more fully enjoy its nuances (see recipe below). This is because the underlying flavour subtleties I tasted when I sipped the spirit neat become somewhat lost in the Margarita cocktail.
In the Throat 13.5/15
The finish brings more flavours of vanilla and canned fruit forward within a mild agave spice. The palate is left gently heated. As my mouth and palate rest I am amazed faint impressions of red licorice Twizzlers.
I found the spirit very easy to sip despite its high alcohol content.
The Afterburn 9/10
Dulce Vida Añejo Lone Star III Anejo Tequila is an enigmatic spirit. It is clearly tequila, yet it carries many flavour characteristics which are at odds with my previous experiences with the agave spirit. Canned fruit is apparent upon the nose and in the delivery, and those red licorice Twizzlers which haunt the finish were very surprising to me.
Despite the apparent contradictions the spirit brings forward. I find myself enthralled. The spirit is very satisfying to my palate.
You may read some of my other Tequila Reviews (click the link) if you wish to have some comparative reviews.
The Old Fashioned Cocktail is usually associated with Whisky or perhaps brandy, but it only recently has become acceptable as a Tequila Cocktail. This is perhaps because the flavour characteristic of tequila (añejo or otherwise) does not lend itself easily to this simple cocktail. What I have found is that rather than adding simple syrup as the sweetener, a better course of action is to add a mixture of agave syrup and orange Curacao. In particular the orange Curacao plays wonderfully with aged tequila. I like to omit the brandied/maraschino cherry garnish used so frequently by other and instead add the more traditional garnish, a small strip of orange peel.
With a wonderful tequila like the Dulce Vida Añejo Lone Star, the results can be quite stunning.
Tequila Añejo Old Fashioned
2 oz Dulce Vida Añejo Lone Star III Anejo
1/4 oz Orange Curacao
1/8 oz Agave Syrup
Add a thin coil of Orange Peel to the bottom of a rocks glass
Add a few cubes of ice
Pour 2 oz Añejo Tequila over the ice
Note: If you are interested in more of my original cocktail recipes, please click this link (Cocktails and Recipes) for more of my 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)