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Epolon Anejo Tequila

Review: Espolon Anejo Tequila   (86/100)
a review by Chip Dykstra (Aka Arctic Wolf)
Posted May 09, 2022

Espolon is a tequila brand created for Gruppo Campari by Master Distiller Cirilo Oropeza. It is made in a small batch process from ‘hand-selected’ 100% Blue Weber agave, grown in the rich red clay and cool climate of the Jalisco, Mexico. At that facility piñas of the hand selected agave are cooked for 18 to 20 hours prior to their fermentation. They apparently use a slower distillation technique than is in use at most other facilities, and when the spirit is finished, their Espolon Blanco tequila is rested for at least 11 months in ex-Wild Turkey Bourbon Barrels, and then bottled at 40 % alcohol by volume.

I noticed that the identified NOM on the bottom of the label 1440. 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 Campari Mexico, S.A. de C.V. (previously know as Destiladora San Nicolas S.A DE C.V) who incidentally also produce the vodka brand inspired by heavy metal musician Sammy Hagar, Cabo Wabo Tequila.

In The Bottle 4.5/5

The bottle presentation for the Espolon Anejo is shown to the left. According to the  information provided to me, the label is “inspired by the work of a 19th century Mexican artist” and is said to “showcase some pretty revolutionary stuff”. The artist the information sheets are referring to is most probably Printmaker and Draughtsman, José Guadalupe Posada whose political prints and drawings often satirized then President Porfirio Díaz while at the same time celebrated the popular revolutionaries, Emiliano Zapata and Francisco Madero. Posada’s work used whimsical skeletal motifs to carry a political message. This style of drawing struck a chord with the Mexican populace and has remained a popular art form to this day.

Personally, I am not a fan of skeletal imagery associated with alcohol. However, even I have to admit that the skeletal scene depicted is humourous and light-hearted and not macabre.

In my previous reviews for the Espolon Tequila line-up I noted that the synthetic cork stopper came apart rather easily. I suspect this has been addressed as I have experienced no problems with my cork stopper on the Anejo bottling.

In The Glass  8.5/10

Colour: Gold heading towards amber

Nose: Peppery agave spice combined with slightly aggressive agave fruit, fine oak spices, citrus zest, light smells of butterscotch and vanilla with just a hint of almond. As the glass breathes I notice light baking spices (cinnamon and ginger) and a very light scattering of tea leaves.

The tequila seems to bring forward classical notes of highland agave which is quite peppery with the punky agave fruit (with notes of baked squash and pineapple) sitting a little further back in the olfactory profile.

In The Mouth  51.5/60

The first sips livens the palate with peppery agave spice combined with citrus peel and a touch of oak. The punky agave fruit is somewhat more aggressive than it was on the nose bringing us earthy and fruity flavours of baked squash, grilled pineapple and roasted banana. A light sweetness of butterscotch and vanilla is present as are hints of cinnamon and ginger spice. When I add an ice cube, I also begin to notice light chocolate flavours and bits of dry fruit.

In The Throat 13/15

The Anejo Tequila has a peppery finish which is augmented by light flavours of butterscotch and vanilla. A touch of menthol cooling helps with the spice and trails of light chocolate and dry fruit seem to linger just a little while.

The Afterburn  8.5/10

I have now reviewed each of the Espolon Tequilas available in my locale, the Blanco, the Reposado, and the Anejo. They are all good examples of traditional highland agave spirit from the Los Altos (Highlands) region with a peppery agave bite combined with a somewhat subdued earthy agave fruit. My personal preference is for the Reposado spirit, but I would not quibble with anyone who differed and chose either the Blanco or the Anejo as their favourite.

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

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Suggested Recipe

Anejo Espolon Margarita

1 1/2 oz Cabo Wabo Añejo Tequila
1/2 oz Bols triple Sec
1/2 oz fresh Orange Juice
1/4 oz fresh Lemon Juice
dash Sugar Syrup to taste (1:1 ratio)
1/8 oz Campari
Lemon Coil

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 Lemon coil for garnish

Enjoy!

If  you are interested in more of my original cocktail recipes, please click this link (Cocktails and Recipes) for more mixed drink recipes!

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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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