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Fabrica La Alteña, located in the "Golden Triangle of Tequila," in the highland town of Arandas, has been crafting some of the most interesting tequilas for close to a hundred years. As one of their most cherished brands, Tapatio has been extremely popular in Mexico, but only recently available in the United States. Made using very traditional methods, the agave is crushed by tahona, with distillation in copper alembic stills, distilling not just the juice but also the fiber of the agave. Tapatio has a rich flavor and definite presence on the palate. The 110 proof intrigued us as being one of very few over-proof tequilas on the market. The nose leads with eucalyptus, mint, chalk, rainwater and honeysuckle. The palate is intense in flavor, but drinks more smoothly than its proof would have you believe. The herbaceousness of the nose follows through on the palate, more eucalyptus, tea tree oil, aloe. Notes of melon rind and raw honey, a viscous, oily texture and very long finish. With a few drops of water more sweetness emerges, along with citrus zest. We don't hesitate drinking this neat, but it also makes one of the best Paloma cocktails we've ever had. Oskar Kostecki
Tapatio Reposado is how aged tequila should be. The notes of spice and pepper coming from oak aging integrate wonderfully with the natural sweetness and tropical fruit quality of the Blue Weber agave. As you take more time with this tequila, it reveals hints of caramel, cacao, toasted coconut and floral perfume. A grassy undertone leads to a crisp and mineral finish. Great as a sipper, this finds a perfect home in cocktails,from Margaritas and Palomas to a Tequila Old-Fashioned. Oskar Kostecki
Produced from the wild agave Selmiana in the high altitude Central Mexican Plateau in the state of San Luis Potosi, this is a beautiful foil to traditional Oaxacan mezcal. The agave is not roasted, but cooked (similar to Tequila) resulting in a spirit that is not smokey, but instead bursts on the palate with a crazy array of flavors. Herbal and mineral tones weave their way through a bright citrus and floral character. There's a slight sourness, a funk that I associate with cheese rind, and noticeable acidity, which is quite shocking for a distillate. The wilder side of mezcal. What I also notice with my bottle of Selmiana is that it changes quite remarkably once open. When I first popped the cork, it felt slightly muted and withdrawn, but within 20 minutes all the exuberance I remembered from previous bottles was there again. It is fascinating watching the bottle change and evolve over a period of weeks. Oskar Kostecki
Another batch from Don Lorenzo, this ensamble of Espadin and Largo was distilled in 2014, before resting in glass for around three years. It is intense and deep, bottled at a whopping 51.8% abv. The clay pot shows incredibly well in this particular batch, not overbearing but present, and harmoniously integrated. Savory notes of hazelnuts, raw cacao, and barbecue mesh with sweeter hints of dried apricots, raisins, brown sugar, and cocoa butter. I also find mint, dried oregano and wet gravel. During the Real Minero fiesta, in between all the dancing bodies, pounding music, and smell of charred meat, this was the bottle I found myself most often reaching for. Oskar Kostecki