Saturday, December 29, 2012

Bottle stock: Single field tequilas

    From the New York Times cocktail specialist, Toby Cecchini. I haven't tried this version of Ocho but do know the cheaper blanco version (merely $40), an introduction provided by my friend and tequila fan Randy Dunn. That Ocho, too, has the "primordial vegetal embrace of agave" the writer speaks of, plus a smokey undercurrent. Straight, or with a lime slice, it's very, very good. 

Tequila Ocho Single Barrel, Potencia de la Barrica 109.2 proof/54.6 percent, $75
Tomas Estes is an American who has devoted his life to tequila. He owns a number of restaurants in Europe based around the spirit and has, over the past few years, nurtured a small, ferociously curated label of single-origin beauties, Ocho, made by the cult distiller Carlos Camarena, the man at the dials of El Tesoro, Tapatio and Excellia, among other brands. Estes has also just released a book about his odyssey of a life in pursuit of tequila. Whenever people ask me what they should buy for a friend who likes tequila, I often reply “anything from Ocho.” This creature, a lightly tinted añejo delivered without any filtration and at barrel strength, is such an anomaly it can’t help but stand out. The only thing that I ask from a real tequila is that it carry across some of that primordial vegetal embrace of the agave from which it’s made. So many lack even a trace of it. This beauty has that covered with so much to spare. Every time I approach it I get new sensations: along with a touch of wood, grilled tropical fruits, minerals, camphor, horehound candy. How do you drink it? Not in margaritas. Despite its potency, it is a perfectly genteel sipper.

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