When you think of an aged spirit, the first to pop in your mind may be whiskey. However, as you explore other categories you will discover that tequila is just as dynamic as an aged spirit, specifically añejo and extra añejo expressions.
By definition, añejo is aged for at least one year, but less than three years, whereas extra añejo is matured for a minimum of three years. Sometimes American and French oak barrels are used in aging añejo. As the tequila interacts with the barrel, it picks up a golden amber hue and unique flavor profile. Casa Dragones is at the forefront of creating delicious tequilas, but with its most recent offering, the Casa Dragones Barrel Blend is stealing the show for aged spirits connoisseurs around the globe.
No doubt Casa Dragones has a quality roster of expressions thanks to its team helmed by CEO and co-founder, Bertha González Nieves. Shortly after starting the company, González Nieves became the first woman to receive the title of master tequilera from the Academia Mexicana de Catadores de Tequila. For over a decade, the handcrafted small-batch producer has released a portfolio of award-winning tequilas. In 2009, Casa Dragones launched Joven, a tequila designed for sipping and pairing with food. Then, in 2014, it released its signature Blanco expression as a pure silver tequila. Last summer — after three years of development — Casa Dragones Añejo Barrel Blend was unveiled to the world.
Innovation is the core principle behind Casa Dragones – and this takes time and keen creativity. The Añejo Barrel Blend is merely its third style of tequila to be released in over 10 years. So, the brand endeavors to explore different possibilities within the tequila category to produce something truly unique, with the Añejo Barrel Blend a result of this vision.
Agave Azul Tequilana Weber, the agave used for tequila, can only be grown in the states of Jalisco, Michoacán, Nayarit, Guanajuato, or Tamaulipas. By law in Mexico through the Tequila Regulatory Council (TRC), spirits created from agaves grown in any other region cannot classify as tequila. Thus, the agave harvest for Casa Dragones is cultivated in Tequila, Jalisco, Mexico. The locale’s combination of semi-arid and semi-humid soil, climate, plus altitude produces the prime agave plants to create Casa Dragones’s signature palate. For a minimum of eight years, the soil and crop are meticulously cared for as the plants mature and prepare to begin the process of becoming a sipping tequila. Moreover, each agave plant is hand-picked based on the level of ripeness and sweetness in the core of its piña. Subsequently, this allows the team’s maestro tequilero to take on the complex varietals of each annual harvest.
Casa Dragones’s blue agaves are cultivated for around seven years until they are fully ripe. The process begins with harvesting agave shoots (hijuelos) to certify the consistency and quality of the plant. As the plants mature, they are pruned and maintained. When it comes time to pull the liquid from the plant, Casa Dragones uses steam and water to produce a clean liquid extraction. This modern process produces less waste and uses less energy and water – so much so that it is now acknowledged by the CRT (Tequila Regulatory Council) as one of the most sustainable methods of producing tequila.
The Casa Dragones Añejo Barrel Blend is a 100 percent blue agave añejo tequila aged in both new French oak and new American oak. The company’s maestro tequileros and the master cooper worked with one of France’s most esteemed cooperages to skillfully craft two distinct custom-made oak barrels in which their team is able to age the tequila. The wood used for the new French oak barrels is a proprietary blend of 100 percent Quercus Sessile oak that’s sustainably sourced from five different forests in France and is then custom toasted. Meanwhile, each new American oak barrel receives a custom medium toast, meaning they’re heated more gently than the charred barrels many use today for aging whiskey. This allows Casa Dragones to impart more vanilla and spiced notes, rather than caramel and honey notes often resulting from charred barrels. At the end of the maturation process, Casa Dragones blends both barrel styles together, resulting in a complex agave-forward taste profile. –
The Añejo Barrel Blend’s aromatic nose gives you a whiff of agave, toasted almonds, and a hint of floral notes. Its gleaming, complex palate features an array of flavorful nuances with spicy black pepper, fresh berries, and oak (the blend of new American oak and new French oak complements the character) and finishes with a lingering spice and pop of cacao.
Some may say this añejo tequila is too good for a cocktail, so we recommend drinking it neat in a whiskey glass or with a small cube of ice. The Barrel Blend makes a great gift for the curious imbiber in your life and delivers the perfect after-dinner treat. Try pairing it with your favorite delicious desserts, your preferred cigar, or pouring it to pleasantly surprise even the toughest whiskey crowd.
This year, the Casa Dragones Añejo Barrel Blend is the perfect pick for every aged spirits enthusiast — even if it’s yourself.
This article is sponsored by Casa Dragones.