Anejo tequila is the aged version of tequila, put down in oak barrels in much the same way that other spirits and wines are the world over. Don Julio Gonzales, a major Mexican tequila producer, has been making cactus spirits since 1942. He named this Anejo (meaning "aged tequila" [at least 1 but no more than 3 years in the barrel]) "1942" to designate its uniqueness.
Thursday, November 12, 2009
Don Julio Anejo 1942 - A World Class Tequila
Traditionally, tequila was a peasants' libation, hot, dry, with a rather leathery-grassy flavor. Taken with lime, or salt, to "cut" its dryness. Lately, makers have been experimenting with the spirit, treating it in much the same way that distillers of scotch or bourbon or brandy do, aging it for varying lengths of time in oak to create more complex adaptations of its signature base flavor.
Don Julio Anejo 1942 has a light honey golden hue, a rich burnt sugar and almond nose, and a flavor which is a combination of caramel, chocolate syrup, flamed cherry, and rose-water. The underlying agave taste is masked, which puts some tasters off, complaining that it isn't a "true tequila" since the flavor of the plant is not emphasized. But the same could be true of any aged spirit. Do people complain that Lagavulin doesn't taste enough like its core barley component? That would be silly.
Don Julio Anejo 1942 can be drunk as an aperitif, with food (as I do, with tapas), or as a finish to a meal. Or even as a night-cap. It rivals some of the greatest scotches for strength and character. This may be a harbinger of the future for tequila, as it undergoes transformations down through time. In the history of spirits, its elaboration and appreciation has really just begun.