Wednesday, February 22, 2017

Meanwhile While People Feared China's Fake Alcohol Industry An American Company Introduced A Faux-Tequila: Besado 100% Agave Tequila

This particular agave spirit has been on our radar for a few years now. Around 2015 we noticed some PR put out by an International Spirit & Beverage Group, Inc. (ISBG) regarding their Besado Tequila, Cavoda Vodka, and Dziaq Liqueur. The Besado Tequila was being promoted as a premium handcrafted triple-distilled 100% blue agave Platinum *highlands* Tequila delicately infused with an herbal blend of Maca, Damania, and Ginseng. Where exactly is the tequila distillate sourced? No idea. There is no available information anywhere or a NOM for that matter that identifies the certified distillery within the Tequila Denomination of Origin. Where is Besado bottled? Apparently at Florida Caribbean Distillers' Auburndale, Florida plant. Are you thinking what we're thinking, that 100% agave tequila can not legally be exported from Mexico to be bottled in another country? There are however a few various trade agreements between Mexico and other countries that permit the export of bulk mixto tequila to be bottled in certified facilities within certain countries. For instance, The United States of America and Mexico have such a Trade in Tequila Agreement.

Since 2007, the trademark ownership of the Besado brand-name has circulated through a few companies. In Mexico, the Besado trademark is currently owned by Core Groupe, LLC. from Miami Beach, Florida, USA. In the USA, the brand-name has passed through Core Groupe, LLC.OTR, LLC.Top Shelf Brands Holding Corp., and finally to its current owner, International Spirit & Beverage Group, Inc. (Houston, Texas). It does seem that all of these companies have been or once traded on OTC Markets Group, (previously known as "Pink Sheets"). That's right, a volatile, highly speculative market loosely regulated, if that, by the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC). There is another company linked to Besado, an Emperial Americas Inc. "doing business as" International Spirits & Beverage Group. Funny legal maneuver? Emperial Americas Inc. appears to be the only company holding a basic permit issued under the Federal Alcohol Administration Act. The individual names that appear all over these various companies - in whatever capacity are: Mr. Alonzo Pierce, Mr. Jeff Freiberger, Mr. David Salmon, Mr. Jack Cacciato, Mr. Anthony Mazzo, Mr. Bruce Klein, Mr. Todd Waggoner, Mr. Joel Contreras, Mr. John Kingston, Mr. Graham Ross, and possibly a few others.

Now before for an alcoholic spirit can be allowed to be imported, distributed and or sold in the United States of American a Certification/Exemption of Label/Bottle Approvals (COLA) must be filed with and approved by the Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau (TTB). There have been COLAs submitted for Besado Oro, Besado Silver, and Besado Platinum. A summarization: one submitted label contains "Premium 100% Oro (Gold) Tequila, Lighly Infused With Maca Root Extract, Ginseng Flavor, Damiana Liqueur Flavor, With Other Natural Flavors And Caramel Color"; and another submitted label contains "Premium 100% Agave Tequila, Lighly Infused With Maca Root Extract, Ginseng Flavor, Damiana Liqueur Flavor, With Other Natural Flavors Added". If it did contain 100% Agave Tequila legally this product would have to have a NOM on the label. There is no NOM indicating the certified distillery within the Tequila Denomination of Origin this distillate was sourced from. Jose Cuervo imports bulk Tequila (mixto) into the USA to be bottled and has a NOM. Check the COLA for Jose Cuervo Especial Silver (below) - notice the category 978 (Tequila), origin 81 (Mexico), and source of product Imported. This Tequila (mixto) is bottled in Lawrenceburg, Indiana. All COLA submissions for Besado identify them as category 649, Other Specialties & Proprietaries not the Tequila categories 977 & 978 and Diluted Tequila categories 985 & 986. Origin 16 (Florida) and Source of Product is indicated as Domestic. And all COLAs have a submitted formula - meaning minimum 2.5% total volume contains approved additives? Maybe Bow Wow has a clue...

We were able to piece together that Emperial Americas Inc. indeed imported one tequila shipment from Jalisco to Nuevo Laredo, Tamaulipas, Mexico, in late 2011. The tequila appears to have come from Compañía Destiladora de Acatlan, SA de CV (NOM1413). 'The Total CIF Value USD' was $4,125. Doesn't appear to be a large amount of Tequila. Can't imagine it is legal in the USA to import bottled 100% Agave Tequila to eventually dump in vats, adulterate it with additives and then re-bottle. New-age solera aging thing? Hi-def 'prestigious blending'? Is ISBG sourcing bulk mixto tequila from Compañía Destiladora de Acatlan (NOM1413)? Better yet illegally importing bulk 100% agave tequila - adulterating and bottling it in Florida, USA? God only knows. 

It does smell of good timing with the recent Luxco, Inc. v. Consejo Regulador del Tequila, A.C. matter over the use of the "Tequila" on labels in the United States of America. Albeit the Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau (TTB) has to take some responability in not protecting the American consumer and for that matter Mexico from fraudulent use of "Tequila" and "100% Agave". If one were to simply interpret the TTB COLAs for Besado a few conclusions could be drawn. Here is a somewhat confusing fact, there are two categories defined by Mexico - Tequila (mixto) and 100% Agave azul Tequila. The tequila in this product is most likely bulk mixto-tequila (51% Agave azul and 49% other fermentable sugar source(s)) imported into the USA as outlined in the Mexico-USA Tequila Agreement. Even-though various articles - perhaps PR sub-planted on behalf of Besado's owners - seem to mention "100% Agave Tequila" a lot. This created confusion seems a tad disingenuous for the uniformed consumer. Some might even say fraudulent. Previously we have mentioned the perils of adulterated agave spirits.

We have not had a chance to try Besado, but the great people at Tequila Aficionado did. Their review did appear to make some investors happy on various online penny-stock trading chat-boards. Too bad Tequila Aficionado failed to mention bulk 100% Agave Tequila can not be shipped to another country to be bottled. Or if Florida Caribbean Distillers is even certified by the Consejo Regulador del Tequila to import and bottle bulk mixto Tequila at their facility. Credit Tequila Aficionado for saying that it could not be called a Tequila. Although allowing it to be called an Agave spirit presents a few pitfalls over the use of the word "Agave". Perhaps this product doesn't even contain legitimate Tequila. Maybe some people will be caught with egg on their face. Or maybe just maybe this is  be the best damn 'spirit' on the planet? Buy a bottle of the Besado Silver for U$D 49.99 or perhaps purchase 55500 shares of ISBG stock instead for the same amount? Or maybe just buy a more established 100% Agave Tequila from a family owned traditional distillery like Fortaleza, Hacienda Vieja, Don Nacho, or Tapatio.

Pump and dump is a scheme that attempts to boost the price of a stock through recommendations based on false, misleading or greatly exaggerated statements. Caveat emptor

We did try to reach out and call ISBG but apparently their contact number is out of service. If any facts or statements are inaccurate please DM us. Thank you.

Tuesday, January 17, 2017

What Is The Story Behind Terremoto Tequila? Does It Involve, A Co-founder Of Tequila Avión?

About a year ago, a new brand of flavoured liqueur 35% Abv. (70 Proof) made with blue agave tequila was thrust upon the American spirits market. There was a Churro, a Jalapeño Lime, and a Mexican Brew. Then this past July, Terremoto released a 100% Agave Gold 40% Abv. (80 Proof) with a hint of agave nectar and a 100% Agave Silver 40% Abv. (80 Proof) with a hint of Agave nectar. All of these five offerings have a submitted formula meaning that a minimum 2.5% of total volume contains approved additives? The liqueur released last year was originally classified in the 'Other Herb & Seed Cordials/Liqueurs' category. A newer release of the Churro & Jalapeño Lime has been reclassified in the 'Other Specialities & Proprietaries' category. The Gold & Silver are classified in the 'Tequila' category. The strange part is that laws in Mexico clearly state that 100% blue Agave Tequila can only legally contain a maximum 1% total volume of approved additives. Yet this brand had filed formulas in the United States prior to the 100% Agave Gold and Silver release. Possible clerical error?

This particular brand had caught our attention for some time with its promoting "#motoshots" and other gimmicky posts on various social media sites. Didn't take much poking around to discover who was behind this particular brand? Two LLCs linked to Kenneth Austin?* Of Tequila Avión? Now that is interesting. The same individual that claimed: a) to have worked as a high level executive for a winery or perhaps in the glass operation - a subsidiary of the winery - in the early 1980s; b) worked as senior VP at a historical Canadian spirits empire - no way to verify this as the company has been bought and sold so many times doubt there is even any records. One would assume that the majority sale contract of Avión to Pernod Ricard had to have included some sort of non-compete clause. Therefore it makes one wonder what the real story is behind this particular brand. The co-founder of Avión appears to still be promoting Avión all the while this newer brand is somewhere in the background.

It really is a head-scratcher. Pernod Ricard allowing another brand (Terremoto) linked to a current partial minority owner of Avión to compete against it. The labels for Terremoto state "Product of Mexico" and NOM1592 (Envasadora de Productos Lidere). Not familiar with that distillery as it's fairly new. It appears to be in the Municipio de Jesús María. So this distillery is close to Productos Finos de Agave? Are they sourcing diffuser made tequila from NOM1416 and bottling it at NOM1592? The label for the Churro, Jalapeño Lime, and Mexican Brew states that is imported and bottled by an American company. Is it flavoured bulk-mixto tequila exported to the United States and then bottled? What is even stranger is Absolut Spirits Co./Pernod Ricard USA** is acting as Terremoto's United States importer and distributor. So who is going to take one for the team and buy some bottles of this? Does the Terremoto liqueur contain mixto-tequila? The world survived cinnamon flavored whiskey, perhaps it can with the introduction of this product.

If any information stated here is inaccurate, please send us a DM here.

Calle Tres LLC and Aerial Attack LLC of Delaware, USA

** All expressions are imported by Pernod Ricard USA, Pernod Ricard USA Bottling, LLC or Absolut Spirits Co., Pernod Ricard USA, LLC. 

Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Tequila Side X Side Blind 2016 Winter Taste-Off

A blind taste testing of samples from four different categories on separate days. Again we will not being doing a breakdown of all the minutiae of each individual distillery or process. Besides there are helpful tools or tequila matchmaker apps for such information or perhaps visit the brands' social media and website. Bottles have been opened for a minimum 2 months, except for one which is from a sample bottle. Keep in mind that every palate is uniquely different, what we may enjoy you may not. Besides, is taste subjective or objective? At certain points we found ourselves reaching for an aroma kit or spices & herbs jars in the kitchen pantry. Riedel tequila glasses and Glencairn whisky glasses were used.


Brand (A)Appearance: clear, colourless, forming skinny, slow legs on the side of the glass. Aroma: cooked agave, pepper, beef jerky?, ripe fruit (banana?), some alcohol. Flavour: cooked agave, crisp, some sweetness (honey?), mild spice, roasted yam?, peanuts and caramel corn? Semi-oily upon entry - some tingling numbness on the lips, gums and in the middle of the mouth - mild sweetness and spice (pepper) in the back. Finish: short to medium - tad dry and briny - crisp roasted agave - mild heat. Mildly Recommended 

Brand (B)Appearance: clear, colourless, forming skinny, medium legs on the sides of the glass. Aroma: baked agave, earthy (grassy?), honey?, spicy pepper (jalapeño?), hint of floral and fruit (citrus), mild alcohol. Flavour: baked agave, some sweetness (honey?) and spiciness (jalapeño?) - vegetal notes seem to compete with subtle salty-black licorice and mild earthy (smokey?) notes. Medium oily upon entry that pleasantly coats the mouth - heavy numbness on the lips, gums and mouth. Even felt in the nasal passage. A minty herbal - spicy note lingers from the middle to the back followed with a slight alcohol burn. Warming. Enjoyable. Finish: nice medium-long finish with lingering baked agave, spiciness with sweet black licorice. It sort of reminded one person of Astral blanco tequila. Very Recommended

Brand (C): Appearance: crystal clear, colourless, forming thin, medium legs on the sides of the glass. Aroma: baked agave, crisp and earthy (grassy?), some sweet honeyed smokiness, floral, citrus and green pepper. Flavour: mild earthiness with crisp cooked agave notes, hints of honey and peppermint?, and creaminess accompanied with hints of spiciness. A little light upon entry with some numbing sensation on the lips, gums and mouth. Slightly oily-creamy and some mint and alcohol in the back of the mouth. Finish: Medium finish with cooked agave and a nice lingering citrus and mint aftertaste. Recommended

Brand (D)Appearance: crystal clear, shiny hues, forming thin, medium legs on the sides of the glass. Aroma: baked agave, citrus (lemon tea?), floral (eucalyptus?), and subtle pepper. Flavour: mild earthiness with deep cooked agave notes, hints of honey and herbs (mint?), and creamy butter? accompanied with citrus and hints of pepper. A little light upon entry with mild numbing sensation on the lips, gums and mouth. Slightly oily-creamy (silky?) and some spicy citrus notes and alcohol in the back of the mouth. Finish: Medium finish with cooked agave and a nice lingering citrus and herbal aftertaste. Very Recommended


Brand (E)Appearance: straw, light golden hues, forming medium, slow legs on the side of the glass. Aroma: crisp cooked agave, vegetal almost herbal (oregano or basil?), fruit, tobacco, hint of spice and vanilla. Flavour: mild crisp cooked agave, hint of oak, spice (white pepper?), herbal-fruitiness (dried ripe cherry?), hint of creaminess, vanilla and buttered caramel, some sweetness (raw honey?). Slightly oily upon entry that coats the mouth accompanied with some subtle dryness. Some numbness on the lips, gums and mouth. Herbal - butterscotch - mild sweetness - spice notes linger from the middle to the back of the mouth followed with a slight alcohol burn. Enjoyable barrel influence. Finish: medium finish with mild crisp cooked agave, grassiness?, spice, and raw cookie dough?. Slightly dry finish. Nice influences imposed on by the barrel. Very Recommended

Brand (F)Appearance: pale golden colour. Large-fast legs that cling to the sides of the glass.. Aroma: cooked agave, fruity (raisins?), spice (rosemary?), vanilla, some sweetness (raw honey?)Flavour: cooked agave, creamy vanilla, slightly burnt caramel mocha, mild black licorice (anise?), fruit? Slighly oily upon entry that pleasantly coats the mouth - silky feel - mild numbness on the lips, gums and mouth. A peppermint herbal - cinnamon cocoa note lingers in the back followed with some mild alcohol. Finish: medium to long finish with mild cooked agave, spice and herbal notes that linger. Nice balanced flavours. A blend of tequila aged in older used oak barrels and toasted new oak barrels? Tasty. Recommended

Brand (G)Appearance: golden straw, amber hues, forming thin, medium legs on the side of the glass. Aroma: baked agave, spice (pepper), fruit (dried plums?), vanilla-caramel, some earthiness (burnt peat?).  Flavour: mild baked agave, pepper, fruitiness, creamy (buttery?), nougat? Medium oily upon entry that pleasantly coats the mouth - some numbness on the lips, gums and mouth. A spicy cinnamon note lingers from the middle to the back followed with some alcohol burn. Enjoyable. Finish: short to medium with mild agave, spice, with lingering smokey tobacco note. Guessing 'used' Scotch oak barrels were used. Recommended

Brand (H): Appearance: golden straw, amber hues, forming medium, slow legs on the side of the glass. Aroma: caramel, mild alcohol, toasted nuts?, dried ginger?, roasted marshmallow, fruit, some minerality.  Flavour: brown sugar and honeyed vanilla, grassy, pepper, fruitiness (melon?), caramel. Slightly oily upon entry that coats the mouth - some numbness on the lips, gums and mouth. Pepper - baking spices - roasted shiitake - oak tannin notes linger from the middle to the back followed with a mild alcohol burn. Warming. Enjoyable. Finish: nice - medium-long finish with lingering spices, charred oak. A tad astringent. Ok this isn't an agave spirit. It's quite tasty whatever it is (Rum?). Recommended


Brand (I)Appearance: bright golden yellow, forming thick, medium legs on the side of the glass. Aroma: baked agavecaramel, citrus, roasted nuts?, bay leaf?, mild baking spices. Flavour: baked agave, hints of oak, creamy caramel, barbecue smoked and spiced nuts?, cocoa, mild pepper, fruit (dried cherry?). Medium oily upon entry that coats the mouth - slight numbness on the lips, gums and mouth. Pepper - baking spices - nutty - cocoa notes linger from the middle to the back followed with a slight alcohol burn. Finish: nice - medium creamy finish with lingering cooked agave, cocoa, and spices. Nicely balanced. Pleasing sipper. Recommended

Brand (J)Appearance: dark golden yellow, forming thick, medium legs on the side of the glass. Aroma: baked agavecaramel, ripe fruit, musky tobacco?, hint of cinnamon, mild oak, baking spices, old leather? Flavour: baked agave, pepper, hints of oak, candied fruit?, slight earthiness, creamy vanilla caramel, hint of cocoa. Slightly oily upon entry that pleasantly coats the mouth - some minerality - strong numbness on the lips, gums and mouth. Earthy - spicy - salty-sweetness notes linger from the middle to the back followed with a slight alcohol burn. Finish: nice medium finish with lingering cooked agave, peppermint? and cinnamon. Recommended

Brand (K)Appearance: dark golden, yellow hues, forming thick, medium legs on the side of the glass. Aroma: mild baked agavesmokey, spicy (pepper), floral?, fruity (citrus), earthy. Flavour: baked agave, pepper, smoke, cinnamon, hints of oak, nutty?, slight earthiness, creamy vanilla caramel, hint of cocoa, orange Tic Tacs? Medium oily upon entry that coats the mouth - some minerality - strong numbness on the lips, gums and mouth. Earthy - baking spices - bourbon (corn?) notes linger from the middle to the back followed with a slight alcohol burn. Finish: nice medium-long finish with mild cooked agave, lingering smoke and spice. Used bourbon oak barrels? Very Recommended

Brand (L): Appearance: deep gold, amber hues, forming thin, medium legs on the side of the glass. Aroma: baked agavecreamy butter, chocolate fudge? ripe cherry, mild spice (pepper), nutty?, earthy (grassy?). Flavour: baked agave, pepper, mild tobacco, candied spiced nuts, hints of cedar?, slight grassiness, caramel, hint of cocoa. Medium oily upon entry that coats the mouth mild numbness on the lips, gums and mouth. Slightly spicy - roasted nuts - cedar notes linger in the back followed with a mild alcohol burn. Finish: nice medium finish with cooked agave, some lingering chocolate fudge and spicy tobacco. Recommended

Extra Añejo:

Brand (M)Appearance: deep dark golden, amber hues, forming fat, medium legs on the side of the glass. Aroma: mild cooked agavecreamy buttery peanut brittle, roasted dark coffee beans?, Christmas spice cake?, hint of sawdust (cedar?), new leather?, fruity (strawberry and black-cherries?), hint of floral (jasmine?), mild alcohol. Flavour: cooked agave, nutty, mild vanilla, some chocolate caramel, fig-raisin?, pepper, mild tobacco, nutty, some cinnamon, hint of toasted sawdust?. Medium oily upon entry - some dryness - that coats the mouth mild numbness on the lips, gums and mouth. Roasted coffee - spicy fruity cinnamon - buttery corn pastry? notes linger from the middle to the back followed with a mild alcohol burn. Warming. Finish: nice medium-long finish with cooked agave, some lingering earthy (grassy?), subtle sweetness-spice, smokiness, and hint of vanilla and raisin-mint?. Fun sipper. Layers upon layers of flavours. Some similarities with (N). Very Recommended

Brand (N)Appearance: dark mahogany, copper hues, forming medium, slow legs on the side of the glass. Aroma: mild cooked agave, vanilla, caramel, roasted almonds?, coffee?, intense baking spices (more cinnamon and clove), hint of oak, fruity (dried red cherries?), mild alcohol. Flavour: cooked agave, nutty, vanilla, cinnamon, some chocolate caramel, red cherries?, pepper, musky pipe tobacco?, nutty, hint of toasted oak?. Medium oily upon entry - silky - that coats the mouth - mild numbness on the lips, gums and mouth. Chocolate caramel - spicy cinnamon - mild vanilla coffee? notes linger from the middle to the back followed with a mild alcohol burn. Finish: nice long finish with cooked agave, creamy, some lingering earthy, subtle sweetness, cinnamon, smokiness, then a hint of dryness?. Flavour notes integrate well with the agave. Some similarities with (M). Very Recommended

Brand (O)Appearance: deep dark amber, orange hues, forming medium, slow legs on the side of the glass. Aroma:mild cooked agave, burnt caramel, cardamom?, cinnamon, walnuts?, hint of oak, green olive?, mild alcohol. Flavour: cooked agave, nutty, vanilla, dark chocolate, cinnamon, caramel, baked apple pie?, pepper, hint of roasted coffee?. Medium oily upon entry - creamy - that coats the mouth - mild numbness on the lips, gums and mouth. Dark chocolate caramel - spicy - cinnamon? notes linger from the middle to the back followed with a mild alcohol burn. Finish: nice medium-long finish with cooked agave, some lingering earthy, dark chocolate, cinnamon, spicy (pepper), and a hint of brininess?. Nice sipper to accompany a cigar. Recommended

(A): Siempre (B): Dos Almas 55 (lote #1) (C): Two Nine 29 (NOM1499) (D): Don Nacho (NOM1508) (E): Lunazul Double Barrel Reserva Especial 2015 Wheated Bourbon Barrel Finish (F): El Mexicano (NOM1588) (G): Pancho Datos (NOM1560) (H): *SAMPLE* Puerto Angel Rum (I): Gran Padre (NOM1464) (J): The Giggling Marlin (NOM1500) (K): Don Abraham (NOM1480) older-short squat bottle (L): Rudo (NOM1467) (M): ARTA Batch #2 - 5 Year (NOM1360) (N): Tristan - 5 Year (NOM1360) (O): Evaga (NOM1502)

Monday, September 5, 2016

Not Another Possible New Future Releases: Tequila, Mezcal And Other Agave Related Spirits etc.
Mezcales de Leyenda expands their collection with mezcal from Puebla, San Luis Potosi, Tamaulipas and Zacatecas.
Fortaleza Tequila Blanco Still Strength Forty Six (46% Abv.)

Jose Cuervo to release 4 new mixto-Tequila expressions to commemorate their 222nd Anniversary (2 Gold:  El Corazón and  El Diablito; 2 Silver: El Músico and La Dama)

Tequila 357

Aces High Blanco & Extra Añejo

Colección del Fundador Casa Noble Extra Añejo Alta Belleza

Don Lorenzo Reposado Reserva Barrel Strength

Yuu Baal Pechuga Mezcal Joven

Mezcal Tosba Tepextate

Ghost Tequila (Ghost Pepper aka Bhut Jolokia Infused)

Kamisake Vino de Arroz (Japonés) and Agave (Mexico)

Murciélago Reposado and Añejo

Tequila Revolucion brand face-lift?

Tierra Caliente Silver, Reposado and Añejo

New Dulce Vida Tequila ownership pushes flavoured tequila?

La Niña del Mezcal Sotol

Terralta Tequila release from Felipe J. Camarena's Destileria El Pandillo  includes a Blanco, Blanco 55% Abv., Reposado, Añejo, Extra  Añejo and Extra  Añejo 55% Abv.

Felipe Soto Mares much anticipated tequila release. The name has evolved from El Duende to El Perdido to finally The Bad Suff from NOM 1460

Another tequila brand coming out of the legendary Felipe Camarena's El Pandillo distillery NOM 1579 called Hermosa Casagave?

Premium Suave "Lunar Rested" Silver Tequila?

Comiteco Don Elias Mezcal from Chiapas?

Wednesday, August 31, 2016

Not Tequila. Not Mezcal. Sammy Hagar's New Agave Hybrid Spirit Venture: Santo PURO Mezquila 100% Agave?

Back in 2007, Sammy Hagar sold an 80% controlling interest in 'Cabo Wabo' to Gruppo Campari for US$ 80 million. Then in 2010, Gruppo Campari took advantage of the option written in the 2007 contract with Sammy Hagar and purchased the remaining 20% for US$ 11 million. Was it a ridiculous amount of money? Perhaps when you factor in the Cabo Wabo Cantina(s), Cabo Wabo Tequila brand etc. maybe not? 

Guessing boredom set in and sometime around 2011 Mr. Hagar launched a new spirits endeavour with 'Sammy's Beach Bar Rum'. Then in June of this year an article, "Sammy Hagar going back into the tequila business", was being shared on various social media sites. Many people were asking if Sammy Hagar was indeed getting back into the tequila business? Not quite. Was there ever a non-compete clause (NCC) with Gruppo Campari and did this NCC expire?  No clue. Perhaps this 'it's not a tequila, it's not a mezcal' project is a clever attempt by Mr. Hagar to circumvent such a NCC? And a way to appease the many die-hard Cabo Wabo tequila fans still out there?

In 2015, a brand going by the name, 'Santo Puro', was trademarked by an individual in Cabo San Lucas, Baja California Sur, Mexico. Then in June 2016, a limited liability company (LLC) in Novato, California, USA filed a trademark for 'Santo Puro'. This particular LLC also filed trademarks for 'Santo Agave', 'Santo Espiritu Mezquila', 'Santo Mezquila', and 'Santo Espiritu'. We can definitely picture the governing bodies for Tequila and Mezcal scratching their heads over 'Mezquila'. Then somewhere it was mentioned that this Sammy Hagar-Adam Levine join-venture project would in fact be an agave hybrid based spirit. 

Indeed the label indicates a "50% Distilled Blue Agave & 50% Distilled Espadin Agave". It does appear that a formula has been submitted for this product to get approval for distribution in the USA. Does this submitted formula mean 2.5% additives? No idea. Keep in mind this spirit has been filed under the Category 699: OTHER SPECIALTIES & PROPRIETARIES with the TTB. There is no indication where the two agave distillates  are sourced from or what region of Denomination of Origin(s) were involved. But it appears these two sourced agave distillates  are blended and bottled at Ensambles y Destilados de Agave SA de CV in Guadalajara, Jalisco, Mexico. And we are not familiar with Ensambles y Destilados de Agave SA de CV. All of this is perfectly legal under the NOM-EM-012-SCFI-2006 - which is probably the reason why there is no such disclosure where the two distillates were sourced from on the label. This spirit would qualify as a Destilado de Agave under such rules in Mexico? 

So here we are piecing together a story on this 'Mezquila'. We have heard a rumour that the 100% blue Agave tequila distillate component was being sourced from the distillery that originally produced the 'Los Cinco Soles' brand. The brand that Mr. Hagar emulated his Cabo Wabo tequila from. This is where it gets tricky, Patrón owns that original distillery, so the tequila distillate must be produced at the newer Distillery Tequila el Viejito. Now can anyone tell us where exactly the 100% espadin distillate component was sourced from? Can we expect any "Salud Con Mezquila", "Got Mezquila", "Mas Mezquila", "More Mezquila", "Forget Tequila, It's Now Mezquila", "It's Not Tequila, It's Mezquila" or "No Es Tequila, Es Mezquila" marketing jargon once this product is released? We shall see. The brand-name "Mezquila" has been trademarked specifically for spirits in the USA and Mexico a handful of other times prior in the late 1990s and early 2000s.

The jury is still out if this could ever be sold down the road for US$ 91 million à la Cabo Wabo tequila. Maybe just maybe this truly is an agave passion project...** But on the off chance this product does become successful because you know ... people. Could its potential popularity affect agave sustainability? 

Familiar looking label

Sammy's new tattoo confirms the rumour?

** pleaseif we are in any way wrong with the details and information submitted here a 'Santo PURO' representative can tweet us or DM us here

Saturday, August 6, 2016

Tequila Galán Blanco and Reposado NOM 1137 (40% Abv.)

Currently Tequila Galán is being produced at La Cofradia (The Brotherhood) NOM 1137 in Tequila, Jalisco, Mexico. We won't go into great detail on the process at this distillery since we have already covered this distillery in a past blog post. But we will try to point out the small differences that sets this brand apart from the others produced at La Cofradia. Founded in 2014, this maquila is a 100% agave tequila. Currently this brand only has a blanco and reposado offering - no idea if other expressions are in the works. Perhaps an añejo? It's no secret that we are fans of some other brands coming from this distillery. Even-though, it has been mentioned autoclaves have found their way onto the property. There has even been a suggestion that a tahona will eventually find its way into the distillery, but we shall see. The distillery is still on our 'please, we would really like to visit' list.

Will assume the mature blue agave is sourced from somewhere within the valley region (lowlands) of Mexico's Jalisco state - no clue if the agave is sourced from La Cofradia's estate fields. The halved agaves are slowly cooked by steam in the distillery's traditional stone-walled hornos. The cooked agave is put through a wood chipper and extractor-like press device. The mosto is placed in large stainless vats to allow natural open-air fermentation (not sure if Galán adds yeast(s)). After the fermentation process the juice is double distilled with La Cofradia's Alembic stainless steel pot stills - keep in mind some brands are triple distilled at this distillery. After distillations the tequila meant for the Blanco is placed in stainless steel vats. According to Tequila Galán's website tequila destined to become a reposado product is placed in "brand new medium-roasted American white oak barrels" (180 litres) for approximately four months. Let's go with brand new toasted white oak barrels with a medium char? The blanco tequila enters the barrels for aging somewhere around 55% Abv. (110-proof). The blanco is rested/stored in steel tanks at the same alcohol gradation 55% Abv. (110-proof). Assume the aged tequila is eventually tanked and mingled in steel vats at some point. Then prior to bottling the aged and unaged tequila would then be activated-carbon filtered and diluted to the desired alcohol gradation - in this case 40% Abv. (80-proof).


Appearance: Colorless and crystal clear. Long uniform slow legs in my Riedel glass. Aroma: cooked agave, faint floral/herbal (more a peppermint?),  pepper, citrus (lime?), subtle hint of alcohol, smokiness and candied cinnamon?. Flavour: cooked agave, mild spice,  some citrus notes (lime?), hint of sweetness (fresh honey?), and brininess. Semi-oily upon entry, mild numbness on the gums and roof, nicely coating the mouth and then a mild spice (jalapeno?) and a hint of mint in the back palate. Nothing too overpowering. Finish: Medium soft finish with that enjoyable Cofradia-esque cooked agave, spice, herbal (peppermint?) and  mild sweetness that lingers for minutes. Worthy sipper. MILDLY RECOMMENDED


Appearance: Light blonde - with gold hues. Medium length - slow legs that coat the sides of my Riedel glass. Aroma: mild cooked agave, caramelized honey, vanilla, spice (pepper), subtle mint and faint alcohol. Hint of fruit (citrus?). Flavour: mild cooked agave, candied caramel, vanilla, nutty, mild brininess, and spice (jalapeno?). Semi-oily upon entry, very mild numbness on the gums and roof, a nice caramelized vanilla candy thing that coats the mouth just enough, some mild spice (jalapeno?) and a hint of chocolate peppermint in the back palate. Finish: Medium finish with mild cooked agave, subtle candied caramel treat with pinch of chocolate and nutella?, that mild spice and mintiness that lingers for minutes. Nice accompanying flavours influenced by the barrel and char level for only four months. Some of the blanco flavours seem dialed down just a tad. Curious about the source and origin of the barrels used. Would definitely like to try this at barrel-strength. And definitely interested about their possible añejo. Could pair well with a Maduro cigar. RECOMMENDED

At first the packaging really jumped out at us, the first thing that came to mind was La Calavera Catrina. Perhaps a first where a calavera has graced a bottle of tequila? No. Espolón Tequila has adopted a sort of Jose Guadalupe Posada design for its bottles' labels for the last few years. But we really dig the packaging and what is inside the bottle. We have yet to be disappointed with a product hailing from NOM 1137. Saludos.