El Tesoro "K&L Exclusive" Single Barrel #158 Reposado Tequila (750ml) SKU #1343582

$49.99

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Tasting Notes

No single distillery visit is more eye opening than the trip to La Alteña distillery in Arandas, Mexico. The beautiful estate is surrounded by agave fields and the rich red soils create an incredible site in contrast to the old brick and vibrant surrounding greenery. La Alteña is a place stuck in time. Built in 1937, the techniques used now are nearly identical to those implemented by the founder Don Felipe Camarena 80 years ago. His grandson Carlos is a legend in the industry. Senor Camarena is the face of La Alteña, but he seems most comfortable in the fields talking about the incredible plant that his family has relied on for decades. He walks through the fields examining his crop with meticulous detail. The fields stretch in every direction, but the first thing you notice about La Alteña is the smell, a pungent mix of earthy roasting cucurbits and sweet tilled soil. It's not clean and sparkling like so many modern distilleries. Carlos insists that every little bit of grime and grit is essential to creating the ultimate flavor of this special spirit. The decade of energy stored in these magical plants and the methods used at La Alteña are without a doubt the best way to capture the soul of this revered plant with true authenticity. Despite trends in modern tequila, controlling the powerful magic store in the rich fibers of the agave plant is not science, but equal parts art and ritual. This single cask represents the most honest and authentic expression of agave anywhere.

Staff Reviews

  • David Othenin-Girard
    By: David Othenin-Girard
    2/28/2018
    K&L Staff Member
    Visiting La Alteña distillery was truly a dream come true for me. Jalisco is one of the most interesting and dynamic places in Mexico and the drive up to Arandas was like a holy pilgrimage. What's striking about the drive from Guadalajara is how gradual the ascent to nearly 6000 is. You barely notice it. You also don't see a lot of Agave growing along the way, a sign that the agave shortage might actually be real. Once you've reach altitude, you begin to see tiny blue green dots contrasting the vibrant red earth. The tiny young agave planted in small fields near homes and around villages on any exposed patch, another sign that some locals are hoping to cash in on the current high prices of agave. Unlikely that they'll be getting the inflated price once those plants are mature, but the haphazard nature of the plantings mirrors the industry's crisis perfectly. Arriving at La Alteña, you notice the incredible security. High agave prices mean potential for agave thieves and our guide Carlos Camarenas eluded to the problem as we walked through the fields. Carlos is a wizard in the fields and his depth of knowledge is astounding. He jokes and smokes a cigarette and the green smell of cut agave wafts through the air. The striking red brick and open air distillery are exactly what you'd imagine an old tequila distillery to look like, blue agave stretches out in every direction. The old way of making great tequila isn't that complicated, but it's a lot of hard work. Simple tricks have made La Alteña more efficient, like driving the Tahona with a tractor instead of a donkey. A conveyor belt to lift the freshly cut agave to the ovens. A mesh bag to hold the bagasse in the fermenters for easy cleaning. The process is the same as it would have been when Don Felipe opened the distillery 80 years ago. We were offered 9 samples to select from when the tour was over, but they had another 40 cask samples awaiting our evaluation. IT was a race to find the best. Carlos had separated the samples into three flavor profiles going from lightest bodied to heavier. When I came across barrel 158 I knew instantly that we'd found a gem. Big bold nose of fragrant agave, steamed pumpkin, subtle mineral, deep floral and tropical fruit only accented in the most subtle way by nine months in oak. The palate was luxurious and rich, with an unexpected softness that belied the pungent qualities on the nose. The unprecedented purity of the spirit itself matched only by the purity of this most authentic of experiences.
  • Anthony Russo
    By: Anthony Russo
    2/28/2018
    K&L Staff Member
    This is truly one of the most unique and delicious tequilas I've gotten to taste so far in my first year here at K and L. Since having access to a more curated selection, I've been obsessed with finding soulful, artisanal, aguave spirits and this bottle easily makes its way right into this category. What is remarkable here is the balance; a touch of spice, with the ageing process timed perfectly. The mellow barrel notes swoop right in to create a super smooth tequila. The grassy/citrus notes are just as delicate, making this sipper one to be best enjoyed on its own. Yet, at the price point, I wouldn't feel bad making a mean Margarita.

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