Top 10 award-winning Tequilas and mezcalsBy Georgie Collins
As the agave sector continues to make headlines for all the right reasons, we’ve rounded up 10 Tequila and mezcal bottlings that scooped up medals in our annual blind tasting competition.
The Global Spirits Masters Competitions gathered a group of expert tasters together in London restaurant and bar Bantof to put the category through its paces, alongside its cousin spirit, mezcal.
Forming the first panel were: David T Smith, spirits consultant, writer and co-founder of the Craft Distilling Expo; Claire Filer, founder of Ginesthesia; Eduardo Gomez, founder of Tequila Fest; and Melita Kiely, editor of The Spirits Business, and chair of The Global Spirits Masters Competitions, who led the group.
Panel two was headed by Matt Chambers, spirits writer, and co-founder of the Whisky for Everyone blog. He was joined by Evan Prousaefs, bar manager at London’s Sexy Fish, and Marie Cheong Thong, wine and spirits judge, and Wine and Spirit Education Trust educator.
Keep reading to discover the 10 Tequilas and mezcals that took home the top accolades of the day.
February was a big month for this Tequila brand. Not only did it launch the UK’s first Margarita Week, but it also took home a Master medal in the 100% Agave Tequila – Premium Blanco category.
The aroma of Cazcabel Blanco Tequila was described by Cheong Thong as “delicate and fruity”, leading to a “clean and fresh” palate. Prousaefs enjoyed the “bright agave notes” of this Tequila.
Fósforo Tobala Penca
The “funky, spicy, earthy” Fósforo Tobala Penca bagged itself a Gold medal in the 100% Agave Mezcal – Joven – Artisanal – Tobala heat.
This release is aged for up to three months in small glass carboys alongside a cooked agave penca slice, which imparts a complex and savoury flavour. It is bottled at 43% ABV.
The only Master medal awarded in the flight of 100% Agave Tequila – Ultra-Premium Blanco, containing Tequilas costing £41 and above, went to Avión Silver. This young Tequila secured the coveted medal for its “elegant, earthy and grassy nose”.
Additional tasting notes included “plenty of agave, green capsicum, white chocolate and peppery spices”.
El Tequileño Reposado
In the 100% Agave Tequila – Premium Reposado round (comprising Tequilas priced up to £30), El Tequileño Reposado took home a Master for its flavours of “agave, butterscotch, vanilla and cinnamon – very smooth”.
This Tequila is said to be enjoyable neat or mixed in a cocktail, having spent three months ageing in American oak casks, giving it a dry finish that works well in a Paloma.
Lokita Mezcal Tepeztate
The competition’s Taste Master-winning bottle was found in the 100% Agave Mezcal – Joven – Artisanal – Tepeztate heat.
Lokita Mezcal Tepeztate, a twice-distilled spirit aged for 20 years, made a lasting impression on the judges. Chambers was blown away by the 47% ABV artisanal mezcal: “Wow, what a nose – so expressive. Wonderful mouthfeel with hints of milk chocolate, burnt agave, and green vegetal notes.”
Plenty of Gold-worthy Tequilas were enjoyed in the 100% Agave Tequila – Super-Premium Añejo heat, including Dwayne ‘The Rock’ Johnson’s Teremana Añejo.
Tasting notes for this celebrity-backed Tequila included “plenty of vanilla and toffee on the nose”, leading to “peppery spice and a hint of crème brûlée on the palate”.
Suave Premium Tequila Reposado
The Gold-standard continued into the ultra-premium portion of the reposado subcategory, with four Gold medals awarded in the flight, one of which went to the “full-bodied” Suave Premium Tequila Reposado.
Gomez spoke particularly favourably about this Tequila: “From this flight, it was the best, in my opinion, in terms of the agave notes, but also the ageing. It’s great because you get lots of caramel and oaky notes without being super charred; nice woodiness comes through, butterscotch – really great.”
Don Julio Ultima
In the ultra-premium price bracket, one añejo Tequila scored the top Master medal: Don Julio Ultima.
Chambers found this to be “very elegant” on the nose, with “hints of floral and earthy spice”. The palate brought a “hint of citrus blossom and underlying warm spices”.
This Tequila is produced using a solera ageing system, which combines and matures Tequilas of different characteristics finished in unique casks. One such Tequila in this blend is made from the Don Julio family’s last-planted agave field, making this one very rare Tequila.
Noble Coyote Espadín-Jabalí
Found within the 100% Agave Mezcal – Joven – Artisanal category, the Espadín-Jabalí by Noble Coyote impressed the judges with its Gold-worthy qualities. Tasting notes included an “elegant and earthy nose” with hints of “toffee and warming spices” on the palate.
The Jabalí agave is considered by many to create the most exotic of all mezcals; a wild style of agave that proliferate throughout the mezcalero strip in Oaxaca. This particular expression was distilled three times, and rests at 45% ABV.
Desolas Mezcal Blanco
Moving finally to the 100% Agave Mezcal – Joven – Artisinal – Salmiana heat, and a Gold medal was given to Desolas Mezcal Blanco, which presented notes of “dark sugar, apple and pear”.
This hand-crafted mezcal is made from the Salmiana Agave in San Luis Potosi, Mexico, which creates a spirit with a botanical and fresh aroma, and smooth and balanced taste.