Friday, August 15, 2014

                      Tequila Casa Dragones Joven NOM 1489 (2009 Release)

Casa Dragones Tequila has been getting a lot of press coverage as of late due to its release of a new "Casa Dragones Blanco, a small batch, 100% Pure Blue Agave silver" at a suggested retail price of $75.00 USD. The "Sipping Tequila" Casa Dragones Joven retails for about $275USD. The Joven is also small batch - which the brand claims that only 2000 cases are produced each year. I won't get into too much details on its background other than this particular brand is the brainchild of Bob Pittman, founder of MTV, and Bertha Gonzalez Nieves, the first woman to be certified as a 'Maestra Tequilera' by the Academia Mexicana de Catadores de Tequila, Vino y Mezcal, A.C. (which is apparently recognized by the Consejo Regulador del Tequila).

The tequila packaging itself is ok, every bottle is an old-style crystal decanter housed in a blue cardboard box. I would of went with a more rustic looking wood box myself. In fact do a little internet research on Casa Dragones, all that really turns up is video(s) on its bottle production and not to mention the various celebrity accolades from the likes of Oprah Winfrey and Martha Stewart. I've emailed and Twittered Casa Dragones asking about the actual blend ratio of the 5-year Extra Anejo to Blanco in each bottle - only to get a response "We have developed a proprietary blend for a complex, smooth taste that's ideal for sipping". Which begs the question, How much 5-year Extra Anejo is added to the Blanco? A dollop?

When @CasaDragones followed me. However their Twitter account has since blocked me

I will give Ms. Gonzalez Nieve credit as it seems that she has a lot of passion for tequila and its history. But on the other hand it's strange that this tequila is being produced at Destileria Leyros NOM 1489. A distillery that some people might describe as highly efficient - I will call it industrial. And it should come as no surprise that Ms. Gonzalez Nieve was once employed by Casa Cuervo. The information provided on the Casa Dragones website states the "agave is grown at 1200 meters above the sea level, in Tequila, Jalisco". It must be noted that I have not visited Destileria Leyros but there is a great video posted on YouTube by Quiero Tequila . One cannot mistake the mechanical contraption outside the distillery - that folks is a textbook example of a difusor/diffuser - this industrial equipment's sole purpose is to extract the maximum desired sugars from the agave with the aid of hot water and sometimes chemicals. There is no mention how the blue agave is cooked - I'm guessing the agave juice is cooked with a stainless autoclave specially fabricated for liquid . There is no mention of the fermentation process prior to distillation. **Contacted reps/owners of Republic Tequila, which has since moved to NOM 1489, and was filled in with a few bits of information. Raw uncooked Agave tequilana is put through a larger chipper/shredder. Then the agave pieces go through the diffuser. The liquid after the diffuser process is in fact cooked in an specially fabricated liquid autoclave - ** this is where the diffuser manufacturer says that acid catalyzed hydrolysis must take place for processed raw uncooked agave ** - prior to being placed in large stainless tanks for open-air fermentation. The distillery utilizes a continuous column stainless still - not unheard of in the tequila industry. Through these methods, it is quite feasible to produce a tequila blanco in abou 36+ hours. A traditionally made tequila blanco can take about 6 - 10 days to be produced.

Tomsa Destil - Goven Investments difusor 

Friendly to the environment? What is the carbon footprint of such an industrialized distillery? What methods are used to collect and recycle the acid, neutralizers and other waste(s)/byproduct(s)?

How does such tequila get its constant aromas and flavours? Guessing additives

Other brands from Destileria Leyros

Aerial view of Destileria Leyros, notice the agave piñas piled up next to the difusor and in the truck loads. How many storage tanks (silos) is that?

Destileria Leyros entrance

Appearance: colourless, thin legs that do their best to cling to the side sides of my Riedel. Aroma: mild citrus, floral hints (hibiscus?), and the hints of roasted agave is buried in there somewhere. Flavour: mild spice, mild vanilla, minty that almost masks the agave, and a slight sour bubble gum thing - something I've picked up in certain brands that use a diffuser. Don Roberto is another brand that I've gotten this flavour from and it's definitely not pleasing. Finish: burnt sugar flavour? Fades pretty fast though not leaving much to desire. Guess this is where people use the descriptor "smooth"? Very disappointing and overpriced seeing how there are many better options out in the tequila market. It also reminds me of this statement: "Por citar un ejemplo, prohibir el uso de difusores (hidrólisis de jugos de agave) que les quita "el alma" (el sabor a agave cocido) a nuestros destilados, únicos en el mundo por su complejidad aromática y de sabores". Translated: To cite an example, prohibit the use of diffusers (hydrolysis of agave juice) it takes away the "soul" (the taste of cooked agave) our spirits, unique in the world for its aromatic complexity and flavors. The website for Destileria Leyros boasts that "the flavor and aroma remains constant for each of our brands". Perhaps this is reached with legal additivesIt's interesting to note that a brand with a different NOM could feasibly source diffuser produced tequila from Destileria Leyros and not have to indicate it on the label. In other words a brand from NOMXXXX could source tequila as a 'raw' material from another brand/distillery from NOMXXXX. Something to think about. **CANNOT RECOMMEND**

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