A word from Matt: Let me start by saying that I am not a tequila drinker. I have not had tequila in probably eight years (apart from the very rare margarita). I have danced with Jose and Pepe and a myriad others and I always come away with a black eye, a wicked headache, and other maladies I’d rather not discuss. No matter the price or the quality, tequila has always brought the hurt. So when Charbay said they had a new tequila and they wanted me to try it, I was a little afraid to say the least. I have an open mind though. I am always a supporter of craft distilling. After all, rums are doing it, whiskies are doing it, even educated fleas are doing it. And I’ll try anything once. I was more than surprised by my findings…
Charbay Tequila Blanco
40%ABV, 80 Proof
SRP $49, Limited Availability
What the distillery says:
This is fragrant, true to the source, clean tequila. From all of the world’s distilled spirit classes, Tequila is by far one of the most challenging. We combined to traditional methods of classic tequila distillery in the Arandas area (Mexico) with our proprietary Charbay distilling methods that have developed for 13 generations. The mutual trust, respect and camaraderie with our host distillers will last a lifetime. This has been a real learning experience. (Miles Karakasevic)
During the final distillation at 142 Proof, our Tequila tasted as if you were chewing on fresh chamomile buds. Later, at 140 Proof, it started to taste like cinnamon. At 138 Proof, the flavors were herbaceous, rich agave, with a pepper spice finish. We captured all these flavors… (Marko Karakasevic)
What Matt says:
Nose: Agave nectar, vegetal (cactus?), cucumber, juniper, lime
Palate: Viscous, white pepper, herbal, whole lime that translates from lime meat to zest and back, a little burn around the edges
Finish: Short and sharp. Powerful lime zest and a side-of-the-tongue burn.
Comments: I can honestly say that this is the first tequila I’ve had in a long while that did not make me gag. As you may have guessed, I drink mostly whisk(e)y and the occasional gin. I think what I like most about this is that it is very much like a gin and not much like a tequila (from my experience with tequila). To me, that is very much a good thing. If you are a hardcore tequila drinker, this may leave you wanting. You will enjoy it, but it may not serve that craving (do people crave tequila?). I think most people use tequila as a mixer. Charbay Tequila Blanco is part of the craft movement that hopes to elevate tequila to something worthy of sipping. On that front, this is very successful. If I decide to stock tequila in my home bar, this will be the one. I always say that you should never stock a mixer that you can’t drink neat and Charbay’s Tequila Blanco fits the bill.
Rating: Stands Out
What Richard Says:
Nose: This definitely smells better than any tequila I’ve ever smelled. The agave is still there but without the dirty jockstrap notes of other widely available tequilas.
Palate: Admittedly, I don’t drink much tequila anymore, especially straight. That said, this doesn’t taste like any tequila I’ve ever tasted. Fruity notes flow throughout and it is a very pleasant experience.
Finish: The flavors clear the mouth very quickly and leave only a clean crisp hint that the drink was there. Top notch!
Comments: I was at first hesitant to review this offering from Charbay. If I categorically don’t like a particular spirit then I don’t feel that it is my place to offer opinions on the quality. However, I was intrigued by what Charbay might do and I can honestly say that I never knew tequila could be like this. I’m still not going to be a regular tequila drinker but this is in a league of it’s own.
Rating: Must Try
Overall Rating: Must Try