Raw, Tequila and Werthers Originals!

Hey Guys

I fear again, i must apologise for my absence. I love blogging, it’s just finding the damn time!

Much has happened in the last 2 weeks: visits to numerous bars, some great drinks, a few interesting propositions and actually a new role for me over at SAF in Shoreditch working with Joe McCanta on their organic and raw food concept. I won’t go into it now as i’d prefer to leave that until i have more time at the bar. Suffice to say that the new menu is just about to be launched and you should all check it out if you are passing, it’s a drinks style that is very exciting and DAMN tasty. Although its a restaurant, you are able to just pop in and use the bar. http://www.safrestaurant.co.uk

So the other big thing i’ve been doing in the past two weeks was a 2 day trip across Devon and Cornwall with Speciality Brands offering tastings across their portfolio. Now although i do some freelance work for the company and hate to shamelessly plug, there are a few products in their range which i am loving and thought you would like to know about. If not, then click on and read about the volcano and the planes and stuff, or get your ass over to youtube…..

First up is Tapatio Reposado! The Tapatio range is fantastic. Just look at the bottle, it just screams Tequila and shots and Mexican cantinas. It doesn’t have the premium feel of the likes of Patron or Don Julio (those little dumpy, cognac-esque bottles) but it’s traditional look conveys it’s heritage as a popular domestic product and a classic Tequila.

The distillery, La Alteña, is owned by the Carmanera family. It is the distillery that Tom Estes chose to make his Ocho Tequila when he set it up and Julio Bermejo, also of Tequila fame, has just married into the family! They make 3 products there. The aforementioned Ocho, Tapatio, and another fantastic product, El Tesoro, which goes into the US. Tapatio is only available in Mexico and the UK, with 95% of the product staying within Mexico and the other 5% coming here.

Tapatio is a cross between the highland and lowland styles of Tequila. Traditionally, those tequilas from the lowlands have a sweet and fruity character whereas those from the north contain more savoury and vegetal notes. Tapatio has a sublime mix of both these characters. Whilst they produce a Blanco, Reposado and an Anejo, my favourite is the Repo. Aged for 4 to 6 months in ex Bourbon barrels, it has a very light amber, off-yellow colour which is crystal clear. The nose is earthy with notes of eucalyptus, cardamom, maraschino and wooded spice. On the palate, there is light green fruit with vegetal, grassy mid notes and a soft wood, light vanilla and somewhat dry finish.  Ole!! try it with Sangrita if you haven’t before, by far the best way to drink Tequila!

Next up is Diplomatico. This is very much the flagship brand in the Speciality portfolio. The Diplomatico Reserva Exclusiva has achieved great success here in the UK and is a favourite of Rum aficionados. The Rum is from Venezuela and is produced by a mixture of Column and Pot Stills which are then aged and blended to produce the different blends. Reserva has the highest percentage of Pot Still Rum (around 80%) in the family and is aged for a period of 8-12 years. The Reserva averages out at around 6 years with 70 -80% Column Still Rum content with the Anejo at 95% Column and aged for 2-4 years. The Exclusiva is to be sipped and savoured neat and need not be mixed. In doing so, you would lose the wonderful mouthfeel and delicate secrets the rum holds. The Reserva and the Anejo are both highly mixable, though potentially slightly costly for the average bar. The Anejo is the perfect choice for anyone who is new to sipping rum, lots of Vanilla, great mouthfeel and very much an expression of pure molasses. Try them all! However, what i really want to talk about is the Diplomatico Blanco. A real play on the senses, the Rum iss aged for 6 months and then charcoal filtered to strip away its colour. Great complexity, smooth and a huge finish which is the complete opposite of what you expect when you pour the crystal clear liquid into a tasting glass.

Last but not least, the XM rum 10 year. Ian Burrel, the UK Rum Ambassador has declared this as one of his favourite rums. Whilst the package for the brand is somewhat lacking, its contents are extraordinary. Made in Guyana and aged in a mix of Bourbon and Sherry barrels, the rum has a very complex flavour with a finish that has waves of flavour that roll back and forth across the palate. Upfront notes of vanilla and butterscotch give way to light citrus, mint and very fresh flavours before returning to a dry, intense oak flavour and an experience for me which is wholly reminiscent of Werthers Originals!

Something which has just occurerd to me is a point i made recently when conducting a tasting which is very relevant here after reviewing what i have written.

I have given some tasting notes here which are from my notes of a tasting i did at Speciality Brands HQ. I get tired of writing/reading notes which repeat the same buzz words and kind of kill the expression of a product. Smell and taste are very hard things to describe and very difficult to use to sell to a consumer on the front line of the bar. From my experience,, when talking to people about products, these kinds of words often fall on deaf ears as their connotations can appear so generic.

For me, those taste experiences which bring back memories or very specific taste sensations are what can really sell a brand. i don’t think i have ever really said that X product has notes of A, B, C and then had a guest DESPERATE to taste it. But in saying, for instance, that the Glenallachie Cask Edition scotch tastes like melted chocolate when its been sat next to an espresso seems to grasp not only the flavour profile but also a sense of experience.


1 Response to “Raw, Tequila and Werthers Originals!”

  1. July 22, 2010 at 4:26 pm

    Some good articles here Sir, making my day at work a lot more interesting and educational.

    Big fan of your last paragraph, made me smile and reminded me of Brians Scotch was it scapa? I can’t remember now.. Tasted as if A monkey was drinking a glass of Heather Tea on the beach and dropped his bannana in.

    x Much Love x

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