Patron Reposado Barrel Select
Review: Patrón Reposado Barrel Select Tequila 86/100
(Wine & Beyond Reposado Selection #1 – Barrel #3, Bottle 264/408)
a review by Chip Dykstra (Aka Arctic Wolf)
Posted on March 15, 2015
Patron Tequila is a pure 100% Blue Weber Agave Tequila made from agave grown in the highlands of Jalisco, Mexico. This Agave is 6 to 7 years old when harvested, and the heart of the plant or the piña is all that is used. These piñas are cut and slowly steamed in traditional masonry ovens for 79 hours. The steamed piñas are then shredded and placed into a traditional stone pit, where they are broken into finer pieces with large stone milling wheels called “Tahonas”. The resulting juice is fermented for 72 hours in a wooden fermentation vat, and distilled twice in copper pot stills.
Several weeks ago (at my first Rum Chums Tequila Tasting of 2015), I asked each member to bring a special tequila for the group to share. One of my newer members, Val, brought a very interesting reposado from Patron. Patrón Barrel Select Reposado is a single barrel bottling brought into Alberta by one of our new liquor store chains Wine and Beyond, who describe themselves as “Alberta’s newest premier destination liquor Super Center”. (They carry over 6000 wines, 2500 spirits and 1800 varieties of beers.)
I found this new Reposado tequila very exciting as single barrel vintages while quite common for Scotch Single Malt whisky, are almost unheard of in the world of tequila. Val allowed me to borrow her bottle after the tasting such that I could provide a review here on my website.
Note: the spirit has been bottled at 40 % alcohol by volume and as a Reposado Tequila it would have been aged in its oak barrel for about six months.
In the Bottle 4/5
I want to cut the folks at Wine and Beyond a little slack as although there have been a few mistakes made in the bottle presentation, all of the salient information I require has been provided. It was probably a mistake to go with a clear label which allows the colour of the reposado spirit to interfere with the visual information on the front of the bottle. As you can see from the picture to the left, the label is hard to read. However, I should point out that the back label is better. As you can see (see picture above to the right), the back label is much easier to read and it tells me that this bottle is from the Wine & Beyond Selection #1, and that it is from Barrel #3, and was Bottle 264/408. The lot number, and even the barrel type are listed, although I should point out that ‘Limousine‘ with an ‘e‘ is either a car or a cow, and that the oak varietal should have been spelled without the ‘e‘ as ‘Limousin‘.
In the Glass 8.5/10
I poured out a sample of the Patrón Barrel Select Tequila into my glencairn glass and began with a good look at the spirit before I began to nose it. As you can see from the photo above, it has a darker colouration than a typical reposado tequila would have. I gave the glass a light tilt and a slow swirl and discovered that a thickened sheen of tequila on the inside of the glass which was slowly giving up some thickened legs as well. Again I was surprised as this thickened appearance is not necessarily consistent with a spirit which has spent only six month in an oak Limousin cask.
When I brought the glass to my nose, firm scents of caramel and mildly earthy/punky agave fruit were rising from the glass. The agave fruit is lightly accented with white pepper and citrus zest. The impact of the breezes is to suggest a milder, smoother style of tequila than the regular Patron Reposado (see review here) with more caramel sweetness and less peppery agave spice.
In the Mouth 52/60
The Barrel Select Reposado is indeed smoother and sweeter upon the palate than the regular Patron Reposado. I am not suggesting overly sweet, however the caramel flavour does sit somewhat out in front of the more familiar earthy agave and its peppery spice. This makes the Barrel Select tequila more sippable than its brother; but I also feel that something may have been lost in the transformation. When I sip tequila, I want to taste the agave first and foremost. Although the somewhat heightened caramel I taste makes the spirit smoother, it also distracts me from experiencing more fully that agave flavour. Having said that, I do not want to imply that the Barrel Select tequila is somehow tainted. Three of my Rum Chums tasted this tequila with me the first time I sampled it. They all loved the subtle but firmly forward sweetness, and felt that the Barrel Select was superior to the regular Patron Reposado that they were tasting with me as well.
I mixed a few margarita cocktails that afternoon, and I have no qualms about suggesting the Barrel Select Reposado not only sips well, it is also an excellent cocktail mixer (see recipes below).
In the Throat 13/15
When sipping this tequila neat, the Barrel Select has a medium length finish which heats the palate with peppery agave spice (as tequila should). Soothing butterscotch and caramel temper this heat making for a relatively smooth landing.
The Afterburn 8.5/10
The Patrón Reposado Barrel Select Tequila (Selection #1 from barrel #3) was a very nice indulgence. Although I preferred the more agave forward original Patrón Reposado, I nevertheless appreciated that this new selection from Wine and Beyond offers me something different. And in fact, all of my friends disagreed with my preference, and each said they preferred the Barrel Select. I suspect that if you prefer to sip rather than to mix, and if you have a little trouble with the more normal spiciness of an average tequila, you may prefer the Barrel Select as well.
You may read some of my other Tequila Reviews (click the link) if you wish to have some comparative reviews.
I love to look at the stars in the evening sky and try to find the various constellations which are dotting the blackened sky. And as someone who was born in late August, I always like to search for the constellation Virgo, which represents my birth sign. It can be a frustrating exercise because that particular constellation contains many less than bright stars which are hard to find in the midst of all the light pollution from the city. A few years ago however, I discovered a neat trick to locate my zodiac sign. First I find the Big Dipper which is always easy to locate in the Northern sky. Then I follow the arc of the dipper handle until I reach a bright star about one dipper length away. This bright star (Arcturus) is the brightest star in the constellation Boötes (and one of the brightest in the evening sky). After I ‘arc to Arcturus’, I continue along that arc one more dipper length as I ‘spin on to Spica’. Spica happens to be the brightest star in the constellation Virgo, and it also happens to be rising in the eastern sky a few hours after sunset during the late days of March. I may not be able to see all the stars of the constellation Virgo every night; but at least I have a reasonable chance at finding them if they are visible that night.
During the next few weeks as March fades and April begins, I plan to sit out on my back deck in the evenings with a few cocktails. I plan to follow the dipper handle and Arc to Arcturus, and then I will Spin on to Spica as I enjoy the night sky.
Arc to Arcturus
1 1/2 oz Patron Barrel Select Reposado
1/2 oz Blue Curacao
1/4 oz fresh squeezed Lime Juice
Splash 7-up (or Sprite)
Splash Club Soda
Add Ice and a Lime Slice to a medium size rocks glass
Pour the Reposado Tequila, the Blue Curacao, and the Lime Juice over the ice
Complete with a splash each of 7-up and Club Soda
Spin on to Spica
1 1/2 oz Patron Barrel Select Reposado
3/8 oz Orange Curacao
1/4 oz fresh squeezed Lime Juice
1/8 oz Simple Sugar
Curl of Lime Peel for garnish
Add the first 4 ingredients to a metal shaker with ice
Shake until the outside of the shaker frosts
Strain into a cocktail glass
Add a curl of Lime Peel
Add a lump of Ice from the shaker in the center of the Lime Peel
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)