In my lifetime, I can’t say that I’ve been a fan of tequila in any of its forms. Most of the time, if someone offers me tequila, I bluntly turn it down. Someone may say something like, “You HAVE to try this tequila; it’s the smoothest you will ever taste.” Then it ends up tasting exactly like tequila. I’ve sampled Anejo tequilas before too, and usually, they taste more like brandy or cognac. I’ve only recently embraced some pricey “Reposado” tequilas, which have more simple caramel and vanilla notes even if they may have a faint note of green pepperiness that Blanco tequila is known for.
Jose Cuervo “Extra Añejo” Reserva de la Familia (Family Reserve) is DEFINITELY none of the above. Sliding open the very handsome wooden box, decorated with origami-esque art by visual artist Gonzalo Lebrija, took a minute of effort…well worth it. Inside was a hand-numbered and dated bottle containing some surprisingly smooth and delicious tequila. The details: 100% blue agave, aged in American and French oak barrels, and blended with vintage reserves.
The first whiff made me think it was going to be yet another cognac-like spirit. I normally like my spirits on the rocks as it dilutes the drink gradually, opening up new flavors at different levels of dilution. But I decided I needed to try the first few sips “neat.”
Immediately, not any cognac I’ve ever tasted. Extremely smooth, without any hotness, only warmth, and a pleasant tingle. Flavors were surprising, vanilla with a touch of Mexican chocolate, a hint of amaretto, a bit of orange zest on the very long and lingering finish, along with an enjoyable tingly pepperiness. I tried another glass, this time on the rocks, which only increased the chocolatey character and the perception of sweetness. With little nuances of spices unfolding and
becoming clear…just as the artist’s “Veladuras” paper airplane seems to unfold. Jose Cuervo “Extra Añejo” Reserva de la Familia is a work of art that is easy to appreciate and love and would make a great gift. Even if you’re just gifting it to yourself.