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  When is a tequila not a tequila?
Posted by: AussieHarry - 08-07-2019, 12:51 PM - Forum: Tequila Discussions - Replies (1)

When it is made in another country.

Hi I am looking for help/assistance/guidance in bringing to the UK market a agave based spirit. I'd love to get my product tasted and rated, and to see if it's a viable business. 

Hopefully I can expand to the EU and then on to Australia before tackling world domination  Big Grin Big Grin Big Grin 

Yes, I'm an Aussie, but the product is not from Australia. I'd rather not say where it's from yet but to be honest I am not the maker of the fine spirit. 

I am just looking at glabal distribution rights

Any help would be appreciated


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Posted by: Long Island Lou Tequila - 05-02-2019, 08:55 AM - Forum: Long Island Lou's Reviews - Replies (1)

 4 days ago  by Long Island Lou Tequila  on ReviewsBlancoReposadoAñejo2019

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Don Sueños Tequilas are produced at Casa Tequilera de Arandas- NOM 1499 in Arandos, Los Altos, Jalisco. Tre and Kumiko Zimmerman (BELOW) are the owners, and they have Jose Aceves, a fantastic Master Distiller overseeing it all. Aceves has created many brands and has years of experience, and puts his signature on every bottle- (BELOW). Jose and his brother Ceasar build brands, and have their own company called Casa Aceves. The Aceves family has been cultivating agave for 3 generations in the area, and Aceves and Don Suenos just won Platinum awards for all 3 expressions at the 2018 SIP Awards, as well as winning silver in all 3 expressions at the 2018 San Francisco World Spirits Competition. Don Sueños Tequila is the first tequila company owned and operated by a Japanese woman. This is in fact, a woman minority owned, all natural single estate tequila company. Kumiko Zimmerman runs most of the business, and she is very passionate about tequila and her brand. They love tequila in Japan and being from there, Kumiko has worked very hard and has now arranged for Don Sueños to be sold in Japan, starting any day now. Don Sueños means 'dreams', and at these prices starting at $31.99, you dont have to dream of a smooth and tasty, inexpensive and additive-free sipping tequila anymore. I know I like to have some 'everyday sippers' on hand, so you dont have to kill your amazing, and expensive tequilas so quickly. You know who these good everyday tequilas are. They are usually the $25-45 blanco tequilas, always 100% agave and hopefully additive-free for the Repos or Anejos, in this price range. We all have our favorites in this category, but in this case, the 'entire' Don Sueños line, NOT just the blanco, is in this price range, and can easily hold it's own. After spending a lot of time discussing their brand, Tre and Kumiko explained to me, that although they are learning the business, they surrounded themselves with top quality people, and believe they have come up with a great winning team and recipe. I would say that they have indeed done this, and at the price points for their expressions, these are solid, well made, clean tasting sipping or mixing tequilas..... that will never break the bank.

Tre and Kumiko Zimmerman

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Jose Aceves- (left)- Master Distiller with Tre Zimmerman

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Don Sueños is produced by using traditional methods, and neither the Zimmermans nor Jose Aceves would ever consider using a diffuser, which seems to be the way many brands are going. Instead they use only estate grown Los Altos agaves, slow cook in autoclave ovens, ferment using natural yeast, and distill twice in all copper, then in all stainless pot stills. Without ever using additives or colorings, they achieve this natural silky smooth profile by resting the blanco in neutral stainless steel for 59 days to settle it down and round it out, making it softer with less alcohol burn, then oxygenating before bottling. They also cut much of the heads and tails away during distillation, to keep the sweet center or 'heart' flavor. So it may not be the most complicated or bold profile, but it is pleasant and tasty, with absolutely no offending flavors. It's hard to find anything really 'wrong' with this tequila. This is what they were aiming for, and without a doubt achieved this. They are coming out with an Extra Anejo by September, and I understand that Jose Aceves is very happy with it, and I know I can't wait to give it a try. Concerning quality, smoothness and approachability, Don Sueños is a bargain at these prices, especially for anyone that likes a light, fruity, tasty, smooth tequila. Anyone who thinks tequila burns or that it doesn't taste good....... never tried Don Sueños.

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I was able to try the entire line of Don Sueños Tequilas, after initially reviewing it back last year and posting it on most FaceBook Tequila pages. Having purchased numerous times from their own website, and even getting a T-shirt (ABOVE) in one order, as they often gave out at first, I realized the value of this brand. These owners are regular people, and want to be part of the tequila community. They have reached out to not only me, but others with questions and explanations, and seem to be genuinely nice people, and I like that a lot. Tre is a businessman, and regardless if it's a business venture or a tequila brand, the Zimmermans want to be associated with a great product. I have found total transparency from them, and saw how accessible Jose Aceves was to Tre, on a number of occasions, during this review. The Zimmermans have told me on a few occasions that they are doing everything possible to keep the prices down, so people will try Don Sueños, in this very competitive tequila market. As I have been tasting all 3 expressions for quite awhile now, and enjoying them, I have a good feel for this solid and tasty brand, especially at these prices. I sip tequila neat 95% of the time, and I've rarely mixed an anejo in a drink before, as mine are usually too expensive and I feel funny doing it. For some reason (probably because it was only about $42), having a drop of anejo left, before opening a newly purchased bottle, I put Don Sueños anejo in some OJ, with a drop of grenadine, and if it wasn't the most amazing and quickly made, tasty sweet tequila sunrise I ever had. My wife loved it, and she is not a big tequila fan. So for sipping or mixing at these prices.... this tequila works. Some other brands produced at Casa Tequilera de Arandas are 3 Amigos, Aqua Riva, Loma Azul, 1921, XQ and Nocaut, among others.

Watch for Don Sueños tequilas- Coming soon to key markets across the US. Some big news is that ZEE's Old Town Tequila Superstore has stocked the Don Sueños line and is available now- HERE- https://www.oldtowntequila.com/search.php?search_query=don Suenos&section=product

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I have sprung this Don Sueños blanco on friends, including 'non tequila lovers', and everyone said it was great... tasty, light and easy to drink, then asked....what was that name again? Although it is fairly simple and uncomplicated, it is also light and not overpowering, smooth, tasty... and a very easy drinking tequila. The blanco has a nice soft, floral and slight citrus and fruity presence, a sweet agave aroma, and a vanilla creamy presence... with just an ever so mild bite. Many people will find this very agreeable, and especially new people to tequila.... will absolutely love this. Don Sueños seems to be made specifically to be non offending. In my opinion, Don Sueños tequila has no manipulated taste whatsoever, and the aged expressions for example, are a better buy than many Reposados and Anejos tequila's costing $55 and more, with some tasting manipulated to me. The owners, and the Master distiller do not like additives, and say they do not use any additives in the procedure, not even the 1% which is allowed.... and it shows in the taste. If you taste oak, caramel, vanilla, and more.... rest assured, it's only from the barrels.

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Don Sueños is a 'Lou's Top Tequila' due to it's solid production methods, clean taste and inexpensive price. Please see the Don Sueños Logo here on this page, click and go to the Don Sueños website.

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PRODUCTION- Don Sueños uses all estate grown Los Altos agaves from fields located in what is referred to as "El Triangulo Dorado" (the Golden Triangle) in Los Altos, Jalisco (ABOVE). After harvesting, Don Sueños cuts the cogollo bud from the male plants at the moment it springs from the agave, before putting it in the oven for a less bitter taste. It is then steamed cooked in stainless steel autoclaves for 12 hrs in a 20 ton autoclave, and then it cools for a period of 3 to 5 hrs (SEE ABOVE). Shredder/roller milling comes next, followed by fermentation in stainless steel tanks using natural yeast. Double distillation is done, first in all copper pot stills (SEE BELOW), then in all all SS. You get the best of both worlds with the copper pots doing the job of taking out the undesirable elements like sulfur, an element that has a foul taste and is naturally created when yeast ferments. Also copper pot stills imparts a distinctive flavor, while stainless will settle, loosen and even out the profile. I'm assuming the easy to drink soft, silky smoothness is from a few things. Without adding any additives or coloring's, these procedures definitely contribute to the easy sipping profile. First after distillation, they rest the blanco to settle it, making it softer with less burn. According to the Aceves brothers- "the silver is in stainless steel for 59 days for stabilization, after passing through a cooler to remove agave fats". They also oxygenate it before bottling, through the Venturi Oxygen microbubbles injection system, for an even more softer taste. The combination of these 2 procedures will make a soft and smoother tequila, but they also do a 'wide cut' during distillation, keeping mostly the heart (corazon only), which is only the sweet, neutral flavors, thus eliminating anything else that would make people say they don't like some of the tastes. According to Cesar and Jose Aceves "at the time of distillation, we constantly review the product to determine, until we find the profile we are looking for (organoleptic review of the product), and it is there where the heads appear. The same in the Colas (tails), we cut them when we determine that the alcoholic degree and the flavors are not part of the profile". For resting and aging used American Craft Bourbon oak barrels are used.

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Don Sueños blanco, is double distilled and sells for about $31.99. It is one of the lightest and smoothest tequilas I have run into. Don Sueños blanco has aromas of fresh agave with a hint of citrus (lime) and earth. There's a softness, with a slight floral and fruity presence (melon), a light olive brine, light spice, light mint, and there is a nice amount of cooked agave sweetness, without being overpowering. I also picked up some light anise (licorice) which is always pleasant, smoke and some black pepper. It had a vanilla creamy aroma as well as in the mouth-feel. Tastes of sweet cooked agave, light vvanilla, some citrus and a touch of fruit, with a creamy presence, some nice agave sweetness and definitely smooth and silky, and very easy to drink. Some minor heat on the back end, with some anise and light spice, earthy and peppery,ending in a nice medium length clean and light finish. Overall a light additive-free clean blanco, and an extremely smooth tequila to drink. This is one of the cleanest tasting, lightest and smoothest blancos I've ever had... with almost zero burn.

NOSE- aromas of earth, grassy, fresh cooked agave with a hint of citrus (lime). I found on the nose a softness, with a slight floral presence, light olive brine, light spice, light mint, and there is a nice amount of cooked agave sweetness, without being overpowering. I also picked up some fruit (melon) notes, light cinnamon, some light anise (licorice) which is always pleasant, smoke, and some black pepper.

TASTE- medium oils, sweet cooked agave, creamy vanilla, slight pepper, silky/smooth mouth-feel, clean and light with just a hint of spice and some citrus, in a very natural taste, earthy and clean. A nice sweetness, but not artificial or overdone,and a nice mild sweet citrus presence. Earthy and grassy, with light cinnamon and pepper.

FINISH- some very mild heat on the back-end, pepper, earthy, with light spice, fruit and citrus, anise (licorice), ending in a pleasant medium finish.

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Don Sueños Reposado is a killer- Oh Boy!! This is light colored but full bodied Reposado, is double distilled to 40% abv, and selling for about $36.99. I loved this light colored Reposado, where you really dont smell much alcohol, especially at first, and is so clean, balanced and enjoyable. It was my favorite of the line by a hair, with the Anejo right there as well as the Blanco. Don Sueños Reposado really shines, with the full flavors coming through for a light color, very soft, even, and smooth tasty sipper. I was pleasantly surprised at this $36.99 price point. The Reposado is aged 9 months in used American Craft Bourbon oak barrels from Kentucky. It's unbelievable, and for this price....it's a slam deal. It showed butter, honey and caramel, with some vanilla notes, sweet cooked agave, light smoke, and a little bit of spice on the nose. Like a quality tequila should be, the taste mimics the aromas, being it's free of additives. It is so delicious to drink and at this great price, you won't find anything offensive at all with it. For anyone getting into tequila or someone that wants to sip a quality Reposado at an inexpensive price ....this is it. I enjoyed this the most, and this repo needs to be included in any Reposado lovers inventory, especially at this ridiculous price.

NOSE- spice, mild fruit (melon), creamy vanilla, light smoke with light caramel, and only a touch of alcohol.

TASTE- medium oil, creamy brulee-like vanilla notes, pinch of caramel, floral and fruity, with pepper, cinnamon, and sweet agave and whiskey notes.

FINISH- light vanilla and caramel along with light cinnamon, spice, fruit, and oak, going out in a medium exit with very mild alcohol heat.

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Don Sueños Anejo is slightly rich in color and a very good sipper, with notes of light spice, light pine, sweet bourbon notes, caramel, creamy vanilla, oak, a touch of cinnamon and mild chocolate. Some cherry presence, honey, and roasted nuts make this a light but complex anejo, but not a heavy after-dinner type anejo. The nose is fantastic and complex for it's color. The Anejo, is aged for 23 months in used American Craft Bourbon oak barrels from Kentucky. Selling for only $42.99, it has cognac/whiskey/bourbon aromas, honey, caramel, light vanilla and butterscotch, with light smoke. It was also balanced and easy to drink, again with honey, sweet notes, caramel, some spice a little bit of vanilla with some light pepper. A very nice anejo and a steal at this price.

NOSE- mild, balanced and nice, light butterscotch, caramel, smoke, fruit, honey, almiost a cherry aroma with roasted nuts, sweet agave and whiskey/bourbon aromas, and an ever so slight note of pine, spice, earth, spice, brown sugar and light vanilla cream.

TASTE- medium oil, sweet agave and whiskey notes, slight roasted nuts, honey, light caramel, creamy and silky smooth. A delicious light, balanced clean taste.

FINISH- sweet, almost cherryish, slight burnt nuts, caramel, creamy light vanilla, with a pinch of heat on the back-end ending in a medium to long finish.

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I gave Don Sueños blanco an 84, the Reposado 86 and Anejo an 85 rating on Tequila Matchmaker, as the brand is a very clean, tasty, sipping tequila, at a fantastic price. CLICK- https://www.tequilamatchmaker.com/brands/2037-don-suenos-tequila

Don Sueños Tequilas are very smooth, fruity, silky and very easy to drink at unbelievable prices. They use natural production methods to make it so silky/smooth without the use of any additives, and this is perfect for a new person to tequila or an everyday drinker that wants a clean additive-free, inexpensive tequila, made without any shortcuts.

SEE More Honest Reviews and REAL Top Tequila Lists, and Please 'like' Long Island Lou Tequila on Facebook- HERE- https://www.facebook.com/Long-Island-Lou-Tequila-641682619241422
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I'm a Tequila/Agave Connoisseur, Taster & Reviewer from Long Island, NY. I want to teach others what I know about ALL Agave spirits, keeping it simple and fun! On Facebook, I am known as Lou Agave.

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Posted by: Long Island Lou Tequila - 02-08-2019, 10:05 AM - Forum: Long Island Lou's Reviews - No Replies

 18 hours ago  by Long Island Lou Tequila  on ReviewsExtra Añejo2019hi proof

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G4 produced at Destileria el Pandillo- NOM 1579, has released a special treat. It is an extremely limited batch of 55 month aged (4.58 years) Extra Anejo at 90 proof. This Gem is for serious Extra Anejo lovers who can deal with a higher price, but also an extremely high quality fine sipping tequila, from maybe the top Tequila maker in the world. Not only is it aged 55 months in used American white oak bourbon barrels, but only 4 barrels were used and blended, and it's 90 proof 'still strength'. Less than 800 bottles were made worldwide, all signed by Felipe Camarena, and are numbered. This "55" comes in a beautiful but simple, laser etched wooden box with a slide cover and sticker. Felipe Camarena with his sons Alan and Luis make G4 (4 Generations), as well as Terralta, ArteNOM 1579, Pasote, Torai and Volans tequilas. These are all amazing brands, and this is one family of producers who do things the right way.... without cutting corners.

(L to R) Luis, Alan and Felipe Camarena

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El Pandillo, named for Felipe's grandfather's favorite bull, is located 80 miles from Guadalajara, deep in the highlands of the western Mexican state of Jalisco. Felipe Camarena is often called 'the mad scientist', as he has created his distillery with many inventive alterations and upgrades, creating a sensible, efficient operation, allowing him to save money on operation costs. He'd rather put the money into the product that is 'in' the bottle. This delicious G4 "55" is extremely full-bodied, but light in color and not full of oak, even though it was aged this long. The flavors of aging are all there, but in a subtle way, nothing is overpowering, and yes you can taste the sweet cooked agave notes, which shine through. A whiskey/bourbon drinker will appreciate it, although may be baffled at first on the light color, along with the delicious somewhat light barrel notes (SEE COLOR BELOW), and an agave lover will definitely appreciate the way it has these light barrel notes, but also includes the agave presence. This has it all, and a high proof to boot. It it so balanced and light that even with the extra alcohol, is silky and easy to sip. There is a lot of flavors here, and you can taste the elements in the layers. It has definite wood notes and attributes, but for 4.58 years in barrels.... the agave sweetness is without a doubt present. I'm thinking anyone who likes a high proof aged expression, as well as whiskey and bourbon drinkers, who want to take a chance with some lighter wood presence, but want to taste tequila's agave presence....will absolutely adore this.My son Dan (BELOW) for example, who is only used to dark looking and heavy extra anejos, absolutely loved this. He kept looking at the color, saying it's different, but it has everything. Felipe believes in keeping the agave as forward as possible, and always free from coloring's and additives. With G4 "55" Extra Anejo......he doesn't disappoint.

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G4 is taking the U.S. by storm as I knew it would. Shawn M. Miller- Head of Global & Distributor Marketing told me "G4 will be in 32 states by the end of March, and we’ve been working hard for the last year, but we’re just getting started."Shawn works with Jeff Ernst- Head of Sales (Chief Growth officer), and they are being very aggressive in doing everything possible to make G4 a huge splash in the U.S. While discussing barrels, Miller said "there is no special treatment of the barrels, which is actually 'special' in this world of over treatment and additives." This doesnt surprise me, as I know Felipe's work well, and his love of the agave taste. He has always felt that the agave needs to be present in his expressions, and this "55" month aged XA is no different. Everything Felipe does, is put 'into' the bottle.... not in the actual bottles themselves or the box, or by doing any phony gimmicks. This is as real as it gets, with a longer aged tequila that shows it's tequila roots. In his own words Felipe Camarena says "I'm not in the business of making fancy bottles, I'm in the business of making great tequila." The bourbon barrels are used for about 20 years before they are retired, and Felipe says "the more a barrel is used, the less wooden attributes it imparts." I like this myself, as I don't need a ton of oak and barrel presence myself, to enjoy aged expressions. As Felipe told me once- "I want to know I'm drinking tequila." As it says on his website, concerning these gentle, uncharred and well used barrels- "when we age our tequila, some of ours will stay in for up to twice as long as required for that category, and what comes out is a smoothness and additional character from the barrels." I believe by the way he used these barrels, he was able to age to a long length, getting gentle wood presence and not overpowering the agave notes.

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(L to R- Shawn M. Miller- Head of Global & Distributor Marketing, Luis Camarena, Jeff Ernst- Head of Sales (Chief Growth officer) and Master Distiller Felipe Camarena.

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Felipe Camarena and Alan Camarena
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Felipe explains how he built his El Pandillo distillery (ABOVE) to produce tequila as close as possible to what his father and grandfather did. This facility is an example where innovation and modernization contribute in making a better product, but in a traditional manner. His facility has many environmental and efficient alterations, from capturing steam and using it in other parts of the production, catching rainwater and storing it to used later, insulating fermentation tanks so he can work year round, warming tanks for his mosto, so the stills don't have work so hard, creating even oven heating, re-purposing the agave remains and turning it into fertilizer thus reducing waste. His innovations go on and on. His grandfather started the family distillery in 1937 at La Alteña, after the original distillery was destroyed during the 1910 Mexican Revolution. The tahona wheel was all that was left afterwards, which now stands at the front of his El Pandillo distillery (BELOW). 

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Camarena is expanding El Pandillo by adding a massive amount of aging space. They have begun construction of a large new underground storage space for aging, which is an indication of the growth of this great brand, and is clearly an indication that El Pandillo does aging well. Shawn Miller told me that sales of G4 Reposado has now matched the blanco, which is a big exceed of expectations. They are also doubling the ovens, and they are constructing a new outdoor tasting patio and area for guests to hang out. This distillery is all about a man and his sons. Luis operates his new laser etching machine (BELOW) to create these designs on the wooden box, and maybe soon on the bottles themselves. 

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Being a 'Lou's Top Tequila' please see G4's logo on the side of this page, click and visit the G4 website.

G4 "55" Extra Anejo can be purchased on line for about $299 HERE- http://g4tequila.life/where-to-buy/?fbclid=IwAR2eRe7u_XcbGMKDM0CZt9tZU4J2HKMoQTRTljpVjEMYUKxk8zBFS6r6Ywc

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PRODUCTION- G4 starts by using 100% of their own estate grown, fully ripened and organically farmed agaves, which have never seen chemicals of any kind. Camarena planted fig, cinnamon, strawberry and citrus trees in the agave fields to encourage natural pollination and a healthy ecosystem. They split the piñas on the floor with a machete, and trim any remaining cogollo (male parts) by hand. The cogollo is a small section of the male piña that is at the very tip, where the pencas (leaves) sprout, and is very waxy, and can impart a very bitter flavor to the distillate. The cogollo is in the male plants that did not sprout quiotes. Then the piñas cook in two traditional stone ovens (horno) for 22 hours, which he modified for even top and bottom cooking, by adding an extra steamer to get evenly cooked agaves. The cooked agave parts are then crushed in his specially made shredder, caled 'Igor,' constructed from recycled railroad car and tractor-trailer parts. The specially designed steel blades quickly grind up cooked agave using only a 15 horsepower electric motor, and is easy to clean and maintain, which equates to lower operating costs. A mechanical tahona called 'Frankenstein' or as some have dubbed 'Felipestein', is used for maceration (crushing), and again it's Felipe's own invention from used parts. It's technically a 9.5 ton mechanical tahona, slapped together from a reclaimed steamroller and somehow operates off a one-horsepower engine..... yes one horsepower, and it's the only one of it's kind to exist.

Camarena uses natural yeast (same as his father and grandfather used) during fermentation in stainless steel tanks that are wood-lined and insulated, which lasts 5 days. Distillation is done in full copper for the first and second distillations, which is more costly, takes more time to clean, and does not last as long as stainless steel stills. Although G4 products use a 50-50 blended mix of natural spring water and rainwater, meaning the rainwater batches from the wet season are blended with the spring water batches of the dry season, to create tequila representative of a year’s work.... no messing around here. Keep in mind that this G4 "55" XA does not have water in it, as it is still strength, and is bottled without adding water. When I asked if they even use the G4 water mix in the sugar extraction, Alan Camarena told me "we do use the same water source (50/50) in the irrigation, during the extraction of sugars, and the steam that goes into the ovens is also the same water source." Only 4 used and uncharred Jack Daniels American White Oak bourbon barrels were used, which were hand picked and profiled for blending by Felipe, and a total of only 615.5 liters were produced.

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G4 "55" Extra Anejo- about $299, this is double distilled to 90 proof (barrel strength) in all copper pot stills (ABOVE), and aged for 55 months in used, uncharred bourbon barrels, giving a soft light barrel presence. This is very smooth compared to other high proof aged tequilas

NOSE- vanilla, caramel, light alcohol, smoke, whiskey/bourbon notes, spice, sweet cooked agave, honey, light leather, light fruit/ berries, some citrus notes, light cinnamon and light butterscotch.

TASTE- medium to thick oils in the mouth, sweet agave and bourbon notes, smokey, leather, silky and buttery with honey, light fruit and light citrus with spice, caramel and vanilla and some minor heat on the backend.

FINISH- caramel, smoke, spice, honey, leather, minor heat to a medium finish.

I gave G4 "55" Extra Anejo a 90 rating on Tequila Matchmaker, as it is light in color and in taste, although all the barrel elements are there. This is Fantastic!! -CLICK-https://tequilamatchmaker.com/tequilas/6555-tequila-g4-extra-anejo-55?fbclid=IwAR0-mM79ZHAtizbzjUFfeuKtYfh_LqvBuCC4ZxksYtbLw5rfb6Ai2310ofc

G4 "55" Extra Anejo is 90 proof (barrel strength), aged for 4.58 years, compared to G4's 80 proof/36 month aged Extra Anejo, and the 5 year single barrel XA, only sold as barrels to special customers. Concerning price, it's like anything else.... it depends how much you can afford to spend, and how much you love a high proof XA sipper. Like other expensive sippers, this could be used for special times. This is a very clean and easy to sip higher proof, and I could taste delicious agave sweetness throughout. This will surprise whiskey/bourbon drinkers as well as blanco lovers who want that agave punch in an aged tequila. This is one of those brands that you never have to worry about what's in it, or how it was made. It was made by Felipe and family.... and that's all you really need to know. I thought it was absolutely delicious.

SEE More Honest Reviews and REAL Top Tequila Lists, and Please 'like' Long Island Lou Tequila on Facebook- HERE- https://www.facebook.com/Long-Island-Lou-Tequila-641682619241422
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Long Island Lou Tequila
I'm a Tequila/Agave Connoisseur, Taster & Reviewer from Long Island, NY. I want to teach others what I know about ALL Agave spirits, keeping it simple and fun! On Facebook, I am known as Lou Agave.

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Posted by: Long Island Lou Tequila - 01-15-2019, 12:38 PM - Forum: Long Island Lou's Reviews - No Replies

 12 days ago  by Long Island Lou Tequila  on ReviewsExtra Añejo2019hi proof

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Adolfo Murillo has done it again. His brand 'Alquimia' (pronounced alkee-mia) has put out his second Extra Anejo, and this one is a super aged/over-proof, with plenty of agave notes and has a bold and feisty taste. Alquimia Reserva de Oro is made at Tequila Alquimia - NOM 1468 at Distillery Grupo Tequilero México, in Los Altos. Reserva de Oro is a 14 year aged, cask-strength (100 proof) Super Extra Añejo, and it's a limited initial release. Dr. Adolfo Murillo, who is a Doctor of Optometry and also has a Bachelor of Biological Science degree, is the Founder/President and CEO of Tequila Alquimia. Murillo was born on the ranch that he farms today, and Alquimia truly is a family-owned and operated brand. They only use agaves grown organically from Rancho Murillo's fields (single estate), near the village of Agua Negra. Four generations of Murillo's have farmed this land, and since Adolfo has been involved, he uses all-organic methods. He said his organic agave protocol has not only been improving his soil for the past 26 years, but it has yielded record-setting agaves in terms of weight and sugar content. He decided to do it all organically, without the use of chemical fertilizers, toxic pesticides, weed-killers, and fungicides. Some people seem to want to diminish the organic label, saying chemicals must be used, but Murillo says "I have to disagree, the CRT does monitor our fields, as they should, and for the past 26 years of our growing our organic agave, we have not had to resort to any use of pesticides whatsoever. Our naturally-grown agaves are allowed to develop their own defenses against any pests and diseases, and we had USDA Organic Certification way before most other organic brands, as we were one of the first to get USDA Certification". He explained to me that they have a 'buffer zone' of natural vegetation, all around their 125 acres, and any fields that are harvested, are allowed to lie fallow for 2 years. He said "to keep our planting area free of insects and possible disease, allowing us to not use any pesticides, this buffer zone of vegetation is an open invitation, for all the natural insect population to move in. Among the natural insect population are insects that are at the ready to attack any bad bugs we may encounter, so they would rather move onto other fields that are not well protected.... and not organic." There's no pesticides used in that buffer zone, so as to purposely attract the bugs to that section, and away from the growing area. An infected or diseased bug can cause a disease to the agave plants, along with a bacterium, a virus, or a fungus. Murillo (BELOW) believes in allowing a good balance, and in that population there are good bugs, and bad bugs, and he believes that if we nurture them, the good bugs will be on our side. This is all very interesting stuff, and seemingly necessary to have a fully organic planting area.

Dr. Adolfo Murillo
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Murillo told me "this Extra Anejo is from our very own production of our own tequila, from our USDA certified organic agaves. We left a number of those barrels sealed (once-used Jack Daniels barrels), and they are now 14 years old. We bottled it at cask strength, in this case, 100 proof." We had a great long conversation, and knowing it's aged 14 years, my first question was "can you taste any agave at this point"? Adolfo Murillo was happy to answer, that yes you can... the agave does come through. Murillo explained that "the reason that so many years in oak did not overpower the sweetness of the agave, is because our organically-grown agaves have a much higher sugar content than conventionally-grown agaves. We are averaging 44 Brix units, measured in the field, and this gives us more of that agave sweetness and flavor in the tequila, and it still comes through after all those years in the barrels." Trust me when I tell you, that this is a tremendously high brix level (sugar content), and 44.5 is almost unheard of in the industry. Adolfo told me "what you see are 'sugars seeping', because when an agave has an extraordinarily high sugar content, the sugary juice begins to seep down the side of the plant, when fully ripe. This is a very rare sight to see anywhere else, but it is very common in our fields with our high sugar content." The pictures he sent me were unbelievable of the sugars oozing from the plants in the field, and the testing done out in the fields on these agaves. These are not pictures you see often of harvested agaves (SEE BELOW). 

(Photo credit to Khrys Maxwell)

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Keep in mind, Alquimia is all organic, not just the agaves. That means for the brand and distillery to be certified, they must clean the trucks spotless as well as the distillery he contracts at. Every spot an agave touches as well as all the production equipment must be cleaned. The American white oak whiskey barrels they use, were purchased directly from the cooperage that makes Jack Daniels barrels (owned by JD), and were 'first use' barrels. This means this tequila was the first tequila ever in those barrels, and these barrels were medium charred. Being that only Jack Daniels whiskey was in them prior, you will get some of the whiskey/bourbon barrel notes you find common, like sweet whiskey notes, stone or dried fruit, caramel, honey, toffee and vanilla. I think that this very high sugar level brings on additional flavors. I was also able to pick up cooked agave sweetness, and besides the obvious alcohol heat you would get, being 100 proof, caramel stood out to me, along with with apricot, honey, vanilla, spice, stone and dried fruit, some leather, cinnamon and smoke. I used a number of glasses and decided for me that Romeo H. Hristov's high-proof Jarrito glass (BELOW) gave me a lot more aromas of caramel, apricot, spice and brown sugar, and handled the bold and robust flavors well. For high proof spirits, try to use a high proof glass or a wider open top glass. Just look at the dark bronze color of this (BELOW).... WOW!!

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Alquimia Reserva de Oro-14 year/100 proof XA can be purchased on line at Blackwell's Wine and Spirits in San Francisco HERE- https://www.blackwellswines.com/products/copy-of-tequila-alquimia-extra-anejo-vi-reserve-de-don-adolfo OR at ZEE's Tequila Superstore HERE- https://www.oldtowntequila.com/alquimia-14-year-extra-anejo-tequila/. Southern Wine is Alquimia's distributor in California and now in Colorado. They will be adding the 14 yr XA to their system soon, as well as likely being added by the Oregon Liquor Commission who already carry the 6 yr XA.

Adolfo Murillo and his daughters- Eliana (L) & Paloma ®

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PRODUCTION- Alquimia Tequila is stone oven cooked, shredder/roller milled, and fermented in stainless steel tanks with natural airborne yeast, along with a proprietary organic-certified yeast made for them in Europe. It is double distilled to 100 proof in all stainless steel pot stills. An interesting tidbit is they wanted minimal filtration (as opposed to the trending carbon-filtered añejos), so in order to retain as much of the flavor profile as possible, they filtered it through a lady's silk stocking. Adolfo Murillo told me they barreled it at just over 100 proof, because the alcohol content can change over time, and from barrel to barrel. They blended the 200 liter casks together, getting a good cross-section of barrels (some higher, some lower in the stack). The initial release is 1,000 bottles from several casks, after losing a high percentage to the angels.

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Organic agave field

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Alquimia Reserva de Oro is a 14 year old aged Extra Anejo, in medium charred Jack Daniels American white oak barrels, that have never had tequila in it. It is double distilled to 100 proof and costs about $235. Being 100 proof, it is best to use a wider top open glass, and let it sit for a good few minutes to mellow it. This has some backbone to it, and is a bolder and more aggressive high proof. It's different from many overly smooth XA's, and that's a good thing. The appearance is a very dark- brown/bronze color, has some definite cooked agave sweetness, a whiskey/cherry aroma, with honey, spice, light roasted nuts, brown sugar, toffee, and apricot, with light smoke and some definite vanilla and caramel. Taste is a nice medium oily mouthfeel, caramel, honey, light chocolate, spicy and some slight heat, which is understandable for 100 proof. Overall I have to say it goes down pretty nice and silky considering the proof, and it's very tasty for sure. The price is up there, but remember it's a limited edition small batch overproof XA, aged 14 long years, and many extra expenses go into making organic products. If you like Extra Anejo and enjoy over-proofs..... this is it.

NOSE- caramel, stone and dried fruit, a whiskey/bourbon oak presence and some agave sweetness coming through due to the extremely high brix level. Almost a light cherry aroma, pinch of cinnamon, toffee, light roasted nuts, brown sugar and apricot, honey, spice, light chocolate, light leather, vanilla, some alcohol, and light smoke.

TASTE- medium oils, caramel, some heat, honey, vanilla, roasted nuts, light leather, apricot, spices and dried fruit.

FINISH- caramel, spice, honey, fruit, vanilla and a nice appropriate heat taking you out in a medium to long finish.

I gave Alquimia Reserva de Oro XA an 88 rating on Tequila Matchmaker, as it is a bold and delicious high proof Extra Anejo, exploding with flavors- CLICK-https://www.tequilamatchmaker.com/tequilas/6513-tequila-alquimia-extra-anejo-xiv

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Alquimia Reserva de Oro is a clean, bold, flavorful and intoxicating Extra Anejo at 100 proof. Likely because of the amazingly high brix level, the wood presence is kept to a minimum, being that it was in oak for 14 years, and gives you a sweet, multi-level, powerful and bold experience. The more you sip it..... the more you will love it.

SEE More Honest Reviews and REAL Top Tequila Lists, and Please 'like' Long Island Lou Tequila on Facebook- HERE- https://www.facebook.com/Long-Island-Lou...2619241422

[Image: 2014-09-09-08-39-05-1-1.jpg]
Long Island Lou Tequila
I'm a Tequila/Agave Connoisseur, Taster & Reviewer from Long Island, NY. I want to teach others what I know about ALL Agave spirits, keeping it simple and fun! On Facebook, I am known as Lou Agave.

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Posted by: Long Island Lou Tequila - 12-20-2018, 09:23 AM - Forum: Long Island Lou's Reviews - Replies (2)

 Connoisseur, Taster & Reviewer from Long Island, NY. I want to teach others what I know about ALL Agave spirits, keeping it simple and fun! On Facebook, I am known as Lou Agave.

 2 days ago  by Long Island Lou Tequila  on Reviews2018blanco- High proof

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Sophie Decobecq from Calle 23 has released a new high proof blanco, called Criollo (pronounced Kree-o-yo), which has immediately become one of my favorite blancos, and my favorite presently made high proof blanco tequila. Criollo is a high proof tequila which was released first in Australia, and for me all it took.... was one sip- WOW!! This is a limited release, special tequila made from unique small agaves, and inspired by the birth of her son Able. Criollo is produced at Tequila Quiote - NOM 1433 in San Francisco de Asis, in the Los Altos region of Jalisco. Sophie told me she had been thinking of using these small, but sugar filled agaves for awhile now, and after the birth of her baby boy... she has done just that. This stuff is 'out of control good', a whole new level for a real tequila blanco connoisseur. Some seem to feel it has a Mezcal presence, but I just think the concentration of sugar in these smaller agaves, give a bolder and more layered effect, although it does taste different from other high proofs. Criollo is sweet and sugary on the nose, but less sweet in taste, and it doesn't show it's proof in alcohol presence, likely due to one year of resting. This blanco has superior drinkability. I have evaluated over 100 blancos, and this is right at the top for me. The amazing aromas, taste and higher alcohol punch is there, but it is different because it simply rolls down your throat in a sweet, silky, amazingly delightful and flavorful way. You can't get enough of this, and if you don't move fast.... you may not. Calle 23 Criollo is 100% made from this special type of blue weber agave, grown in the highlands of Jalisco, and locally called 'Criollo' often meaning 'Creole' or 'from this region', or showing it's localization and speciality, can be meant to mean 'it's not from the store'.Sophie Decobecq discovered the perfect alcohol level to highlight these unique and special agaves at 49.3% abv/98.6 proof. She decided not to mix these small blue agaves with other regular blue weber agave, but to make it even more unique, by only using these small and super sweet agaves. I asked Decobecq about how many bottles were made, and she said "we did a first run to cover a future bottling of approx 7,000 bottles. That juice was so amazing coming out of the pot still, that we decided to use all the mature Blue Agave ‘Criollo’ we had in hand, and did finally produce 16,019 bottles (6,600 bottles of 750 ml for Mexico and the US, and less than 10,000 bottles of 70cl for Europe, UK and Australia). You better hurry because I have a large supply myself, as I'm thinking others may as well. I have been budgeting to buy one every 2 weeks myself, for awhile now. To me being a blanco lover, Criollo was life changing juice, and with the limited amount made, and being that it's been out a while now.... you better get 'em while you can.

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Decobecq is a French-born biochemist and engineer, who worked in France’s cognac industry before falling in love with agave. Working at the research center at Polytechnics Institute in Mexico City, she studied the art and science of fermentation, and later honed her agave skills, concerning fermentation and distillation. Sophie has years of experience in the study of yeast and microbiology, loves Mexican culture, and has been living in Mexico for over 17 years. Decobecq survives splendidly in this male-dominated world, and I believe after the US tastes this new Calle 23 Criollo Blanco, she will have more respect than she can possibly handle, as Criollo must be compared with the best blancos being made presently. She mentions that with 3 sisters in her family, she often was the one to help her father, and was never afraid to get her hands dirty, or to damage them a little, doing manual work. She said "I guess the fact I have put my hands in the process since day one, helped a lot to get the Tequileros doors open, and I found myself very comfortable in that world. I do not consider my gender as a difference, since we do the same work and have the same passion." She created her 'Calle 23' brand in 2009, where she is not only the owner, but is involved in every aspect of production. Calle 23 is a solid line of Tequila, known around the world, and available in blanco, reposado and anejo, with 'Criollo' being her 'special line' of limited edition Blanco. Because of the agaves used, this is a unique and totally different product. Criollo like her other products, is produced at Tequila Quiote, in San Francisco de Asis, in the Los Altos region, in an area usually called San Pancho, which is very close to Arandas. Sophie has been developing and testing yeast for years, and she has also tested and blind-tasted, between autoclave and horno-cooked distillates, settling on autoclave. The horno can be more romantic, and many purists may prefer it, but through strict blind-tasting, Decobecq discovered that the result she wanted was best achieved through autoclave. Concerning any production differences from her Calle 23 line, Sophie told me "for our Blue Agave 'Criollo' limited edition, focus was to change only one main parameter, which was using only Blue Agave 'Criollo' plants for the production. We used the same cooking process, which is autoclave cooking. We are proudly using that process, not to speed up the cooking as many people would think, but with a moderate cooking in our autoclave, and a long resting time in autoclave with no steam. This way we obtain the cooked agave that we enjoy for our Calle 23 Blanco, Reposado and Añejo." She uses the same yeasts as her original Calle 23 blanco, which are yeasts initially isolated from agave fields, and which are one of the signatures of the Calle 23 profile. SEE photos (BELOW) of Criollo agaves, sent to me by Sophie Decobecq.

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Sophie always took notes in the field, and years ago while testing and scraping for yeast samples to experiment with, she noticed in the highlands a small type agave known as a 'criollo'. They were smaller in size than normal blue weber agave, even when fully mature. Criollos are usually mixed in with regular blue weber agaves, and after seeing a harvest of mixed agaves one day, Decobecq realized that the smaller Criollo agaves had a distinctive aroma, and were sticky to the touch, indicating an abundance of sugars. When freshly harvested, this little blue agave smells intensely fruity and spicy, reminiscent of the complex flavors that it will acquire after cooking, fermentation & double distillation in a small still. All of this was written in her notebook, and a lot of this was forgotten until her son Abel was born. When she went through her notebook, she decided to create a tequila from only these special, small and unique agaves, to honor him. I asked her about specifics on these criollo's, and she explained, "these blue agave 'Criollo' plants are usually found in the highlands, close to hills with small farmers, and even if they have a small size, these plants have all that we like for Calle 23- healthy plants, high level of sugars and a great smell. We have always used some of these Blue Agave ‘Criollo’ in our Calle 23 production, when we can find some, which is not so common." Sophie said "yes these were very mature, small size agaves, with high sugar level, but more than anything... a smell (even at the raw stage) that was intense and complex". She went on to explain that for this limited edition, her goal was to simply find enough mature Blue Agave 'Criollo' to do a sole production. Decobecq told me these 'criollo' have an average brix level of 38.... and that's SWEET!! but she also said "brix level is not the unique criteria, as it is relative. An agave plant at the end of the dry season will have a high brix level, same as an agave plant after the rainy season will have a much lower brix, but a high brix level is amazing to use for production." She explained to me, that you can obtain fantastic tequilas during or after the rainy season, it is just a matter of adjusting cooking & milling parameters, but most important to her is the maturity of the plant, and that the agave she used were harvested at a perfect point of ripeness. 

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I asked if they'll be a second run someday, and Sophie Decombecq's response was "with agave, it is always a matter of timing, and there will be some available when the fields will reach maturity, so we'll wait and see." She said it was such a pleasure to do this 'Criollo' production, to celebrate the birth of her son, and to enhance each organoleptic characteristic of these plants, and said "we are thinking in doing one day, another experiment using the Blue Agave ‘Criollo’, but it will be different though, therefore this batch will keep unique." Unknown to many people, is the fact that she is not alone in all production details, including that of being master distiller. Sophie told me when I asked about this, "Calle 23 is the baby child of a team, and I am the face of the family, as I did start that adventure and the brand, but thank God I am not alone, I work hand by hand with Hector & Claudio Davalos for more than 10 years now, who inherited decades of Master distiller experience from their amazing father, and I can proudly say that together we form a quite creative team coming up with many new ideas." She went on to say..."expect to hear from us again soon." 

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Calle 23's Criollo, is a tequila for connoisseurs, which will amaze you and surprise you, and make you want to drink this delightfully clean and tasty blanco all the time. You have to drink this over time, to keep finding new notes and complexities. I can understand that the price is a factor at about $80-85 a bottle, but for purists ....this is the holy grail. I think this is about as good as a high proof blanco can possibly be. It easily compares to and exceeds other similarly priced blanco tequilas. During production of tequila, many factors can change the profile (agaves, cooking, fermentation, yeast, distillation, and more), but the main ingredient is always the agaves, and these are such unique agaves, never solely used before to make a tequila, and in my opinion.... it makes a tremendous difference. Criollo is bottled at a high strength of 49.3% abv, which is the precise degree that Sophie and her small team preferred, in their blind tastings. Sophie’s preferred strength of 49.3 abv was decided, as the water was added little by little during the dilution phase, and tasted so good at 49.3%, that she stopped right there. Decobecq told me "we decided to change a second parameter in this process besides the agaves used, so after tasting this amazing juice coming out from the still, it came to our senses that it would deserve to be kept at a high proof, and then would deserve to rest some time, to allow the alcohol feeling to fade away, and leave more space for the amazing agave, fruits & spice notes. So we placed our blanco 'criollo' tequila in a stainless steel tank, and let time do it's work. It took almost a year to get the roundness and balance we were seeking, and what we obtained, made our senses get happily mad, so we are glad we were patient enough. So am I, as this high proof is integrated perfectly together, and so easy and smooth to drink, unlike many other high proof blancos. They recommend serving this tequila in a glass that will allow the liquid to open up, taking the time to discover it's aromatic character, before taking a small sip to accustom the palate to the strength. I used both my Riedel and The Chisholm Trail Stolzle Lausitz Jaritto high proof Mezcal glass, (BELOW) sold by Romeo H. Hristov to find notes, but regardless which tequila glass you choose, a few swirls and a few moments later ..... be ready to be amazed.

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Being a 'Lou's Top Tequila' please see Calle 23 Criollo's logo on the side of this page, click and visit Calle 23 Criollo's Website.

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There was some difficulty in convincing her distillery that this was a good thing to do, that it would be 'different enough,' but once Decobecq did a blind-tasting of blue agave alongside criollo blue agave..... that was it, and Criollo was born. This is a single batch, unique, special tequila, and as such Decobecq wanted to make every part special, so the bottle is hand-blown, the artwork is amazing, and the liquid is bottled at a higher strength than usual. The glass bottle is not the typical tall and thin tequila bottle, and the hand-drawn artwork which decorates each individually numbered bottle of this Criollo limited edition, is done by artist - Rose Guerrero, who Sophie met, after meeting her brother at her tasting. Guerrero has drawn together the elements of Criollo with imagery of the Mexican tequila culture, that Decobecq loves and admires so much. Rose’s artwork is rich in Mexican symbols and imagery, and was exactly what Sophie was looking for. The blue agave and the smaller criollo are on the right side, where a snake (an important symbol in Mexican culture) carries away a penca leaf and a 'rose' for the artist’s name is nestled alongside another important Mexican symbol.... the skull. The left side of the label shows a swallow, symbolizing new arrivals (baby Abel), and carries an image of Mayahuel, the goddess of agave on her wings, while wearing a necklace announcing the two arrivals- an 'agave' for Tequila Calle 23's new Criollo, and the letter 'A', for Abel. Framed by all these images, is an old street sign with the address Calle 23, which is the exact sign Sophie saw years earlier, in the old town of Guadalajara, and where she got the inspiration for her brand's name.

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Sophie likes to say that she is proud of 'Criollo' blue agaves, which give such incredible & complex notes. I couldn't agree more, as this blanco is phenomenal. This tequila is sweet, thick, and flavorful..... and very smooth for a high proof. I have tried just about every hi proof blanco made, but this is simply superb, and is now my favorite high proof blanco. As a matter of fact, for this review, I blind rated at least 9 of the more popular high proof blanco tequilas against Criollo. I did this over a 4 day period, and it included many of the ones you all know and are talking about. For me, Criollo easily won in aromas and taste, and was my overall #1 blind pick, of these 'presently made' blanco tequilas. I have now placed it in the Top 3 of my 'Long Island Lou's Best Blanco Tequilas & Brands' List..... that's how much I love it. SEE- https://longislandloutequila.com/what-brands-to-buy/#.W5Eoxc5KjAU. My body temperature of 98.6 seems to be calling for this mind blowing 98.6 proof blanco. This tequila is genius, and aficionados will go nuts over this, regardless of the hefty price. Some things just need to be experienced.... and this is one.

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Criollo may cost more than most blanco tequilas, but you'll get more in aromas and flavor, complexity, and drinkability.This is a blanco for people that appreciate a quality clean blanco. It is selling here in New York for $80-85, but like other higher priced and unique blancos like Fuenteseca Cocheca, .... this is well worth it. This is a limited edition and exceptional tequila, and you really need to try this before it is all gone. Sophie told me that Criollo is available while supplies last, at liquor stores on the U.S. east coast, including Duke's Liquor Box, Bourbon Scotch Beer, Wineworks, Stone Ridge Wine & Spirits Inc, Bottlerocket Wine & Spirit, Suburban Cellars, Coolvines Jersey City or simply order online at Astor Wine & Spirits- HERE- http://www.astorwines.com/SearchResultsSingle.aspx?p=2&search=39053&searchtype=Contains or ZEE's Old Town Superstore- HERE- https://www.oldtowntequila.com/calle-23-criollo-tequila/. Also available at Dry Creek Liquors in San Jose, California. Sophie just told me Criollo is currently available in various states, on East coast- NY, NJ and CT, and on the West Coast in CA and NV, as well as in LA, MA, MO, IA & IL. It is coming soon to FL and she asks to please be patient for other states. Sophie mentioned that you can also find Criollo in almost all European countries, including Australia, New Zealand and India, and obviously available in Mexico.Please contact Calle 23 if you can not find it.

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PRODUCTION- the agaves are small blue weber single estate unique 'criollo' agaves, from the hilly Cienega region of Jalisco, in Los Altos. Some of the earthy distinguishing characteristics come from a change in microclimate, being the criollo agave grow on parcels of land often near the base of the hills. Steam cooked in an autoclave at low to moderate pressure for a total cooking time of approximately 15 hours (this time includes warming and cooling time), before milling with a shredder/roller mill. Open air fermentation with fibers and her signature yeast, takes place in stainless steel tanks.Criollo is double distilled in a stainless steel still with a copper coil. Deep well water is used to bring it to 49.3 abv, and the finished tequila is rested for 1 year in stainless steel. Without a doubt.... this is additive free tequila.

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Calle 23 'Criollo' blanco is clear as water and double distilled to 98.6 proof, using small unique agaves, and selling for about $80. Criollo is very bold, sweet and flavorful. It has a complicated tasty profile of anise (licorice), smoke, tons of cooked agave sweetness, baking spice, floral and citrus notes, and drinks so easily for 98.6 proof. It's absolutely stunning, so silky & buttery, pleasant, and absolutely mouthwatering to sip. This stuff is the best hi proof blanco tequila available in this price range. It's pure sweet agave heaven here. Sophie loves the slogan "Agave you my heart" and she has given us her heart..... and some great tequila as well, and promises that at Calle 23, they cherish the agave character a lot, and always intend to keep it forward. 

NOSE- tons of cooled agave, citrus, light smoke, anise (licorice), light mint, very sweet and so sugary... but natural. Floral, vegital, fresh aromas of cooked agave, and only a pinch of cinnamon, vanilla cream, earthy and buttery, herbal with some black pepper and spice. A wonderful fruity (melon) presence, and barely any alcohol. It's fresh, bright, minerally, green and crisp.... such an amazing nose. A light woody presence. The more you nose these aromas,.... the more you find.

TASTE- a medium to a nice and thick oily mouthfeel, minimum alcohol presence and smooth (considering the 98.6 pr), minerals, floral, earthy, vegetables, fruit, anise (licorice), light cinnamon, olive brine, sweet agave, citrus, honey, mint, spice and some nice black pepper. It's green, clean, zesty, bold, buttery and fresh tasting. The layers just keep coming, and the silkyness is hard to believe. The nose is sweeter than the mouthfeel, but that natural sugar is there. Long to develop legs, but long lasting as well. This is Extraordinarily Delicious!!

FINISH- some heat on the back-end, citrus, herbal, black pepper, anise (licorice), buttery, natural sweetness, some fruit and earth, and a long spicy finish.

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I gave Calle 23 Criollo blanco a 96 rating on Tequila Matchmaker, which I have never given any blanco, as I NEVER rate this high. This is a high powered, but smooth tasting unique Blanco. A Top 3 Blanco- PERIOD!!- CLICK- http://tequilamatchmaker.com/tequilas/6293-calle-23-criollo

Criollo is really special and unique. It is a high proof, additive free blanco tequila, at the top of it's class, and it is absolutely stunning. It's high powered in abv as well as flavors, and so silky and enjoyable to sip. I opened a bottle the other night and it was going down so easily and tasty, that I had to stop before a good portion would be gone. This is without a doubt, the tastiest, easiest to sip, naturally sugary high proof blanco... EVER!! People that know me, know I love blancos, and if I could only have one high proof blanco tequila for the rest of my life....Criollo is it.

SEE More Honest Reviews and REAL Top Tequila Lists, and Please 'like' Long Island Lou Tequila on Facebook- HERE- https://www.facebook.com/Long-Island-Lou-Tequila-641682619241422

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Posted by: Long Island Lou Tequila - 11-02-2018, 08:48 AM - Forum: Long Island Lou's Reviews - Replies (1)

L Agave spirits, keeping it simple and fun! On Facebook, I am known as Lou Agave.

 18 hours ago  by Long Island Lou Tequila  on ReviewsReposado2018

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Azuñia Tequila is the exclusive export of distillery Rancho Miravalle- NOM 1426, in the El Valle region of Jalisco. The distillery sits off the highway between Amatitan and Tequila. Azuñia Tequila is a small privately owned brand started in 2009, and is distributed in at least 48 states. Kailee Asher the Director of Brand Development said "we have distribution in NY and NJ now, with MS Walker in NY and Fedway in NJ, and we are approved for distribution and available in all states except Ohio and Michigan right now." Azuñia is 100% organically grown estate agave, from the tequila valle in Amatitan, owned, grown and harvested by the Partida and Rivera families, who are connected by marriage and considered partners. The families are members/owners of Agaveros Unidos de Amatitan, a group they formed to manage both their lands and Rancho Miravalle. Each of the partners have an interest in Miravalle, and they each own their own lands. This delicious Reposado won Double Gold at the 2018 San Francisco World Spirits Competition this year for The World’s Best Reposado Tequila. To me this is a bolder and tastier Reposado than most. It has deep flavors, and is very clean on taste. I really love this reposado and can easily see why others feel the same way. As with all Azuñia tequilas, no additives are used at all, including chemicals to speed up the tequila-making process. Many Reposados are light in taste, but this Reposado has a delicious, bolder, very flavorful presence.... and for this price, will be one of my favorite Repos. You will love this Azuñia Reposado.

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Kailee Asher- (ABOVE- with Sergio Partida) told me "we do not use a broker, we do not outsource, we do not buy juice, and we do not use any additives." This all sounds very good to me. All the agaves come from the Rivera and Partida family, who are second generation agaveros. They make up Agaveros Unidos de Amatitan, and the family members include - Sergio Partida Zuñiga, Enrique Partida Zuñiga, and their sisters Angelica and Lorenza Partida (Rivera). Lorenza is married to our Master Distiller Salvador Rivera Cardona, and his brothers Joaquin and Fernando also have land included in Agaveros Unidos de Amatitan. This is a small batch brand producing only approximately 25,000 cases annually. They seems to be doing so many things right. Salvador Rivera Cardona asserts that, "controlling our source is key for us, because we plant in the best place on earth to grow agave, in the Amatitán area in the Tequila Valley, and we never outsource agave for Azuñia from any other region, keeping our agave quality consistent." Master Distiller Salvador Cardona went on that, "the quality and taste of each tequila is unique to each distillery, and a big part of that is the fermentation process, and by using all natural fermentation, it ensures we are making the best tequila possible." As it is not always very apparent when tasting organic versus non organic tequilas, I felt he was very honest when he said "although consumers probably won’t spot any apparent differences in organic versus non-organic tequilas, being organic helps us assure our consumers that our product is chemical free and all natural." I know I'd rather have a product grown without any chemicals....wouldn't you?

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Being a 'Lou's Top Tequila' please see Azuñia's logo on the side of this page, click and visit the Azuñia website.

Azuñia Reposado can be purchased in 48 states (except Ohio and Michigan), and is available through online retailers like Hi Times Wine and Liquorama. Also sold in California at Safeway, Pavilions, Vons and Albertsons. Some select Total Wine stores and some select BevMo stores also carry Azuñia. Azuñia can also be purchased online HERE- https://www.oldtowntequila.com/azunia-reposado-tequila/

Roller mill used
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removing cogollo from agaves before cooking

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PRODUCTION- Azuñia Reposado is made with only estate grown USDA-certified organic agaves, grown on dedicated fields of the Tequila valley. They harvest only hand selected agaves at about 31 brix, and use only 100% 'valley' agave from Amatitan, in relationship with the Partida and Rivera families. They also cut out the cogollo from the male plants, (SEE ABOVE) getting rid of some bitterness. Asher told me "some distilleries actually just load whole agaves into an oven with a tractor, but our guys cut the agaves in half, so they cook evenly in the hornos, and we take the time to cut out the cogollos.Clay/brick traditional hornos are used for hydrolysis, and are steam roasted for 36 hours, followed by the cooked agave being crushed in pressing mills to extract the juice. They use this roller mill to do a double juice press extraction, so the agave fibers may reabsorb much of the juice before its squeezed out again. Fermentation takes place using 100% naturally occurring organic wild-borne yeast, using no commercial or proprietary yeast or any accelerants to jump start the fermentation. This open-air SS fermentation process, takes about 5-7 days. No bagasso is added, and they compost all the bagasso. The double distillation is done in all stainless steel pot stills, cutting and discarding about 10% of the heads and tails in the second distillation. The final distillation comes off at 46-47% before they cut to 40% abv. All the water used is an on-site well water source, from Salvador Rivera's property, that is naturally filtered through volcanic rock, and considered some of the most pristine water in the region. Charcoal filtration is done, and this Reposado is rested in used Jack Daniels American white oak barrels for an average of 8 months. They re-char periodically to a 3-4 toast level- (SEE BELOW), and the Reposado and Anejos are a blend of the other barrels, to match a specific flavor profile, but no flavor or color additives are ever used. Kailee Asher said exactly what I was hoping she'd say..."some batches of reposado may be lighter or darker than the last, and the distillery believes that matching a flavor is much more important than matching a color." This is exactly what we want, and what I have been preaching for years. Always buy from brands like this, that do not use additives, and that includes colorings, and I don't care if 1% is allowed. Some brands add caramel coloring here, calling this the rectification stage, so all past and future batches always match in color. Who cares?..... that is artificial coloring, and we don't need any additives.

recharring barrels

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hand labeling
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This Azuñia 40% abv Reposado sells for about $39.99, is double distilled, and is well worth it. It's a really delicious, balanced and enjoyable reposado to sip. It has enticing aromas of cooked agave, sweet whiskey and oak, honey, butter, barrel spices, maybe some cinnamon and dried fruit, and only a moderate amount of balanced vanilla with some nice caramel, and a touch of smoke. It has a light and pleasant cherry-like note and maybe a pinch of nutmeg. The taste is silky and easy to sip, notes of sweet cooked agave, honey, dried fruit, butter, caramel, butterscotch, spice, a touch of pepper, and a pinch of vanilla. Just a touch of alcohol on the backend, and overall..... very little burn. This is a very enjoyable and balanced Reposado.

NOSE- sweet cooked agave and whiskey/oak notes, spice, honey, butter, caramel, light vanilla, dried fruit, cinnamon, a touch of mint, nutmeg, smoke and cherry.

TASTE- medium oils, rich and layered, caramel, light smoke, sweet cooked agave, spice, honey, butter, dried fruit, some light vanilla and butterscotch. Very little burn, and smooth to sip.

FINISH- sweet agave and whiskey notes, caramel, spice, and light heat on the backend, with more vanilla towards the finish.

I gave Azuñia reposado an 88 rating on Tequila Matchmaker, as it is a really bold and complicated Reposado, clean and additive free.... and delicious. Great aromas and a rich and balanced taste. It's a steal for the price. CLICK-https://www.tequilamatchmaker.com/tequilas/2357-azunia-reposado

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SEE More Honest Reviews and REAL Top Tequila Lists, and Please 'like' Long Island Lou Tequila on Facebook- HERE- https://www.facebook.com/Long-Island-Lou-Tequila-641682619241422
[Image: 2014-09-09-08-39-05-1-1.jpg]
Long Island Lou Tequila
I'm a Tequila/Agave Connoisseur, Taster & Reviewer from Long Island, NY. I want to teach others what I know about ALL Agave spirits, keeping it simple and fun! On Facebook, I am known as Lou Agave.

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  Tequila & Mezcal Fest 2018 details
Posted by: Fordi - 08-30-2018, 02:18 PM - Forum: Tequila Events - No Replies

Oh man i cannot wait for this, its going to be amazing!! Looking forward to catching up with old friends and making new ones too!!!

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Sent from my iPad using Tapatalk

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  London Mezcal Week
Posted by: Fordi - 08-24-2018, 12:21 PM - Forum: Mezcal/Racilla/Bacanora/Sotol Discussions - No Replies

Wonder if anyone went to the London Mezcal Week? I bet it was amazing!

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  Bottle leak?
Posted by: kirr45 - 08-21-2018, 07:00 PM - Forum: Tequila Discussions - Replies (2)

Hey! I just got a bottle of Patron Reposado. I opened the box and noticed the wrapper had water stains on it. Has anyone encountered this before? The bottle was closed and had everything where it should be other than this small liquid stain on the wrapper. Can this happen?


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Posted by: Long Island Lou Tequila - 07-10-2018, 10:01 PM - Forum: Long Island Lou's Reviews - Replies (1)

 7 days ago  by Long Island Lou Tequila  on ReviewsReposado2018

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Route 66 Reposado from Tequila Quiote, S.A. de CV distillery- NOM 1433 in the Atotonilco area of Los Altos, may not be what you expect. Many collectors and aficionados, don't expect much from a 'novelty' bottle of tequila, but this one will surprise you. It only comes in this small size, but packs a big punch. This replica of a motorcycle, brings back the image of the era of biking and motoring, from the Midwest out to California, in the 'good old days'. For generations of Americans, Route 66 still remains a romantic symbol, an invitation to set yourself free and hit the open road. Route 66 stretched over 2445 exciting miles from Chicago, IL where it all started back in 1926, to Los Angeles and Santa Monica, California. Along the way you will pass through 8 states, through some of American's most beautiful and historic cities. Route 66 was long heralded as "Main Street USA" or "the Mother Road". Route 66 Reposado is Del Bravo's most recent release. Owner Larry Large was inspired by the success he had sponsoring motorcycle rallies, and introduced Route 66 with it's unique, motorcycle-lowrider shaped decanter. This Reposado drinks like a full bodied Anejo, and once you sip this..... you may empty that cool bottle a lot quicker than you'd like.

Based in San Antonio, Larry Large and his son Brad, own and import Route 66 Tequila, Diva Tequila, and Peñasco Tequila under the name Del Bravo. They are also investors in the distillery. Brad is based in Texas, while his dad is in Arizona. This brand was launched in 2014, and that year is on the gas tank of the bottle, along with the initials of Brad's family, his dad and partners. Brad told me "Route 66 is a 'higher end' tequila, and the one I am most proud of, because of the quality."Besides their other two tequilas, this distillery also produces Calle 23, among others. Route 66 Tequila has won Platinum Awards for Best Tequila in the Reposado category, in the 2015 SIP Awards, as well as others. If you like a full flavored, bold and tasty, slightly sweet Reposado.... this is it.

BELOW- Brad Large (left), son Christian and nephew Bryon, with dad Larry on right.

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After lengthy conversations with Brad Large, I realize the uniqueness of this Reposado is the brand new barrels used.Some, but not many brands use brand new (never used) charred barrels, from the start. It is no doubt costly, but that is exactly what Route 66 does. Of course this would give a bold, full presence, with a good amount of barrel notes, like caramel and vanilla, but the charring also seems to tame it down while adding a smoky presence as well, and none of the oak flavors totally overpowers anything. I love the way it tastes, and as Brad told me, "we use brand new American oak barrels, that are re-charred after 3 uses, making sure the flavor and color stays bold." Del Bravo’s tequila is distilled from mature blue agave plants, grown in red volcanic soil, in an area known as 'El Alto', where they are at an even higher elevation than the typical highland agaves. Large told me "we grow about 20% of our own agave, and the rest is sourced from 3 different farmers in the area, to assure nothing is coming from farther than about 10 miles, which can assure similar agave being used." They are adamant about soil content, altitude & water source, and want continuity in their products. Well water on site is used, giving some nice mineral notes and Brad told me he rests for 6 months in these new barrels, which start off with a heavier than medium char, and then are re-charred every 3 cycles to a medium, before reuse on other brands. Route 66 told me "we don't believe in using bourbon barrels to flavor agave, as agave is it's own spirit".Route 66 Reposado has an amber/gold color, with a whiskey/bourbon presence and with a somewhat floral and fruity bouquet. The owner showed honesty when I asked about additives, saying that only a touch of natural cinnamon is added, which is all under the 1% allowed.

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PRODUCTION- Los Altos mature agaves are used, cooked for 36 hours in stone brick hornos, followed by milling in a shredder/roller. Slow fermentation follows in stainless steel tanks, and then it's doubled distilled in all stainless steel pot stills. Brand new (never used) American Oak barrels with a heavier than medium char are used for 6 months of resting. Well water with mineral notes is used. This tequila is then filtered and oxygenated before bottling.

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The father & son team work with the distillery's Master Distiller, Andres Correa- SEE BELOW- on the right, to create the different brands.

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The bottle and packaging are very nice. It's not often you can buy a cool bottle, which has quality tequila inside.... but this is one time for sure.

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Route 66 Reposado sells for an average of $34.99 at Total Wine, for this 375 Ml bottle, and can be purchased at Total Wine & More in AZ, CA, TX, SC, and also sold at the state stores in NH. It's also sold around IL, Michigan, CO, FL, MO & NV, as well as on line- HERE- https://www.oldtowntequila.com/route-66-tequila-reposado/ or HERE- http://www.internetwines.com/rws57641.html

Route 66 Resposado - for between $30-50, comes only in this 3.75 ML bottle, is double distilled to 80 proof and is absolutely delicious. Notes of caramel, honey, vanilla, fruit, whiskey/cognac and sweet oak prevail.... and is delightful to sip. I was surprised, as I thought it was a typical 'novelty' bottle, but it has a definite high quality taste. It tastes full and layered, and in my opinion....drinks like an anejo. It has the dark golden color and taste to justify that. I immediately questioned that, thinking maybe caramel coloring was added, but I was assured that the gorgeous color and rich taste is from 6 months resting in new, never used/heavy charred American oak barrels, and nothing else. It does have a very clean taste and is super rich, and I'm convinced that no additives beyond the 1% are added. The nose is fantastic, and those long sticky legs.... aren't bad either.

NOSE- sweet whiskey/cognac dominates, nuts, dried fruit, caramel, vanilla, honey, cinnamon, pinch of brown sugar, some light smoke, some floral notes, a woody sweetness, some spice and a pinch of nutmeg. A really great nose.

TASTE- medium oil, soft and smooth before you taste caramel, vanilla, honey, nuts, some cinnamon, maybe a pinch of nutmeg, a bit of dried fruit and without a doubt a whiskey presence, and then a touch of heat. Some spice and a touch a pepper, with a sweet, bold and rich mouth-full.

FINISH- sweet oak and whiskey, caramel, vanilla and honey, with some heat, fading in a medium length spicy finish.

I gave Route 66 Reposado a 88 rating on Tequila Matchmaker, as it is rich and flavorful and does have great packaging as well. CLICK-http://tequilamatchmaker.com/tequilas/5294-route-66-reposado-tequila

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Route 66 Reposado is dark, rich and full of flavors. It comes from new barrels, and has a sweet, wood and whiskey presence. This tastes as full as an anejo, and you won't want to put it down. This is a rare example of a great bottle containing delightful juice. I was impressed and I really enjoy and recommend Route 66 Reposado. If you like a bold rich and bold Reposado, and enjoy whiskey or cognac....you will love this.

SEE More Honest Reviews and REAL Top Tequila Lists, and Please 'like' Long Island Lou Tequila on Facebook- HERE- https://www.facebook.com/Long-Island-Lou-Tequila-641682619241422
[Image: 2014-09-09-08-39-05-1-1.jpg]
Long Island Lou Tequila
I'm a Tequila/Agave Connoisseur, Taster & Reviewer from Long Island, NY. I want to teach others what I know about ALL Agave spirits, keeping it simple and fun! On Facebook, I am known as Lou Agave.

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