Felipe Camarena’s G4 Tequila
MIKE: Hello there. I´m Mike Morales, you´re watching Sipping off the Cuff on Tequila Aficionado Media. I´m here in San Antonio. That gentleman laughing at me is….
RICK: Rick Levi, in San Diego.
MIKE: Sorry I caught myself off guard. How do I do that?
MIKE: Rick, you and I have been just enjoying the hell out of G4.
MIKE: This is Felipe Camarena´s Fourth Generation.
RICK: Fourth Generation.
MIKE: This is like an homage to his sons, right? Kind of sort of. It´s the name?
RICK: Yeah, well it´s his legacy.
MIKE: Yeah… You know, we – during the blanco review we talked about how the bottle has, it´s the same bottle that you see with Terra Alta only it´s flipped over in reverse, you know, which I think is very clever because you buy twice as many bottles and you´re filling it with two different types of tequilas. What a smart, that´s just smart.
MIKE: You know what I notice too, and I just brought this up to Rick, is that it´s got the distillery, I think that´s –
RICK: That´s Felipe Camarena.
MIKE: And then on the tape if you look at the tape, it´s got the name of the distillery, which it says on one side it says distilería, on this side it says distilería, and it says over here En Pandillo, which is his distillery. So we don´t forget, in case you´re catching us in the middle of whatever review because you don´t like blancos and reposados but you like añejos, the NOM number is 1579. Several of his tequilas come out of there, you may have seen our Pasote reviews.
MIKE: Yep, there you go. Great packaging on that. Selección Arte NOM 1579, which we did last year.
RICK: Of course, Terra Alta, which you know maybe you can watch that video right here, or over there.
MIKE: Terra Alta, which you may or may not-
MIKE: Yeah, maybe it´ll show up somewhere. And now we´re do – this is it! This is the whole, all four, all three lines coming out of his distillery. And I´m going to break the seal on this sucker. What do we know about the añejo?
MIKE: Besides the fact that he uses these ancient barrels.
RICK: Yeah, he uses these ancient depleted barrels, like toast. He usually just leaves it in there, not much longer than is required by the norma. So, the añejo from what I understand is a 26-month añejo.
MIKE: Oh, so he´s actually aging these probably a little bit longer, well, much longer than a Terra Alta or the Pasote. This is, so this is going to have more barrel-character, you notice it´s a bit darker. You know what´s funny, Rick, it´s darker than what I´m used to seeing from Felipe.
RICK: Yeah, yeah.
MIKE: This is unusual, it´s an unusual color for him.
RICK: Was the Terra Alta reposado, was that a 3-month reposado?
MIKE: Uh, yeah. It was very light, remember the reposado and the añejo were almost identical in color.
RICK: Yeah, and so the G4 reposado, from what we understand, is a 6-month reposado. It´s still extremely light, but you know we were picking up you know like some vanilla notes.
RICK: Whereas with the Terra Alta, it was more of just a rounding out of the blanco.
MIKE: Yes, yes.
RICK: It didn´t really add, you know, barrel notes.
MIKE: No. It was very much just softening the edges.
MIKE: It was highlighting agave all the way through. Oddly enough, even in the higher ABVs. So, again, I don´t know how this guy´s doing it, but he´s just this master. Both of us are using a Glencairn glass for this one. You may have seen us use the jarrito from the prototype that we´re working with Chisholm Trail Craft Glasses in Austin, Texas. But this is a, you´ve seen us use these before, we love them. Glencairn. A lot of oak-head friends of mine are using this. There´s a restaurant, believe it or not, in the Marriot that we´ve written about that uses these for all their tequilas including their blancos, which is kind of nice. Ohhh whoa. That was really sweet! That, there´s a sweetness that it´s, it is amplified from the reposado.
RICK: Yeah, you know what –
MIKE: And the reposado –
RICK: I´m going to throw a splash of this into the jarrito that I used on the repo.
MIKE: Okay, aright.
RICK: You know, just to compare.
MIKE: To me, this is a much more spicy añejo. I think it´s amplified what we´ve caught in the reposado. What I loved about the reposado, is I got that grilled pineapple that was more of a fruity and not as heavy on the spice. This one´s spicy-sweet. Would you even say this is like a cinnamon-spice, or a baking-spice?
RICK: Yeah you know I said I thought I was picking up some cinnamon in the repo, but it was very light. And now this I think it´s more on the –
MIKE: It´s more definite. Or more definitive anyway.
RICK: Yeah. And so we´re certainly, he certainly seems to be having a slightly heavier touch with the barrel in the G4 line, than he did with the Terra Alta line.
MIKE: It´s still really light though, let me look at it, look at it in the glass.
MIKE: It´s my lighting tonight is actually not bad, so. Wow, but still very, very light. You know, 20.
MIKE: You said 24-months, this must be the oldest barrel he´s got.
RICK: 26 months.
MIKE: 26 months, okay.
RICK: That´s the information I was able to find.
MIKE: So it´s much more baking spice. There´s some fruitiness at the bottom. I´m virtually getting no alcohol at all, and I had not previous to this I had not had the añejo so I just, I´ve just broke the seal on this one.
RICK: And I am getting more of the spice than the vanilla. But still very agave-forward.
MIKE: Yeah, the repo had some vanilla.
MIKE: Now I´m getting more of the baked fruit on the inside.
MIKE: Not grilled, but baked. It´s… crazy.
RICK: Oh and something we haven´t mentioned yet with the G4 line, is that you know in the past, ones that we´ve done in the G4 line we talked about some of the innovations Felipe´s done in el Pandillo. And one of them that he did, is that when he built his ovens, he built them with steam jets on both the bottom and the top. Typically, what you have is you have all the steam coming from the bottom.
RICK: And then you end up with over-cooked agaves on the bottom, and under-cooked agaves on the top, and you get this whole mix. And so what he´s done is he´s engineered it so it cooks the agaves much more evenly.
MIKE: And yet, he won´t – he doesn´t have as far as we know, he doesn´t have any autoclaves, correct?
MIKE: These are still brick ovens.
MIKE: But he´s got the brick oven working like an autoclave. He´s got it working –
RICK: Yeah, well – he´s not cooking it under pressure, but you know, he is getting steam throughout.
MIKE: Yeah! He´s just this mad genius, I´ve got to say. The guy is a scientist, man. (laughing) I think I mentioned in the reposado that they´ll wheel em out with a leather mask, you know, and they cut them loose in the distillery. Oh my gosh.
RICK: Some of the promotional photos you´ll see, especially through the Terra Alta line. He is, you know, he´s sitting back and looking quite stern. You know, he´s a very approachable guy.
MIKE: The importer Creo Spirits that´s bringing in Terra Alta, I asked him, and his name is Enrique Ramos and I said, ¨Enrique, is he does he always look is he a real crotchety kind of guy?¨ He goes ¨No, he just looks that way. He´s actually really nice¨, he says, but you know he´s a real numbers guy. He´s got he figures stuff out in his head, I don´t even know how he does it, and I don´t know if you caught that or not when you were speaking with him, but he´s like I said, he´s in his head way too much. You know, because he does this math in his head, and he just gets he just gets it. You know, it´s like – wha – he must be amazing to just be near.
MIKE: Like you get splash back from IQ or something.
MIKE: Oh! Oh my gosh!
MIKE: Oh it´s – it´s like candy!
MIKE: Oh! It´s this caramelized fruit.
RICK: Yeah, it´s not cloying though.
MIKE: No, no, no, no, don´t get me wrong. This is caramelized fruit, okay?
MIKE: Something caramelized or baked, like baked peaches or baked apples. There´s –
MIKE: There’s a baked, not a grilled like I got with the reposado, but this is baked and it´s sweet on the intake.
RICK: I would say maybe baked pears.
MIKE: Oh, now you´re, now you´re just… I don´t know who´s making fun of me, him or you!
RICK: Well, you know it´s like it´s highlands agave, it´s very starchy. And so, you know it´s often a related to starchy fruits like pears, or apples.
MIKE: Well, traditionally when you take a stone-oven wedge of baked agave, or if you ever walk through the streets of tequila, what you smell literally smells like pumpkin pie!
MIKE: It smells like pumpkin pie on Thanksgiving, that´s what it smells like. But, this is not, this is not a baked pumpkin.
MIKE: That´s what I´m not getting and see that´s the weird thing. I got something other fruit baked. But right, I got that right on the intake too, it was really a surprise to me.
RICK: Like some kind of a baked stone fruit, maybe.
MIKE: Could be, could be.
RICK: But lovely pepper as well.
MIKE: Yeah, on the after like on the finish, you get a little bit of the bitterness that we talked about earlier. The finish, the finish is kind of a short to medium; it´s not very long, so I´m not getting the warm-fuzzy, but it coats your palate beautifully. This thing has got some nice structure. If you haven´t figured it out by now, that each of these expressions are very complex. There´s a lot going on in your glass with this line. But yet, Rick is right. He is…
RICK: Very approachable, very accessible.
MIKE: Very approachable, yes.
MIKE: I think if we were to use a – to introduce somebody to Felipe Camarena and his method, in Spanish we would say if you were to introduce a chef to someone, la cuchara del cocinero, the cuchara is his, his… his method, his style of cooking, okay. Cuchara is literally, just means spoon, but you know. In cooking terms, you use that as a term of: this is the – this person´s hand at the stove or at the baking. So if we´re going to introduce anybody to Felipe Camarena we would probably use G4. That´s what I meant. Because it´s really, you know, and like you said, if you wanted to learn more, if you wanted to get deeper into this guy´s character, into his head, you go for Terra Alta. Or you go with Pasote.
MIKE: Because Pasote is just…but Pasote´s an acquired taste. That – don´t try that at home until you´re ready.
MIKE: Because we are professionals here.
RICK: In music we´d call that a deep cut.
RICK: G4 is probably in the top 40 hits, and you know. Pasote is the deep cut.
MIKE: The deep cut! (laughing) That´s the Inagotta Davita that’s 30 minutes long, right? Geez, I remember that, see?
MIKE: Oh my gosh. This is just lovely, and in a Glencairn it´s like it is perfect. How do – okay. You had, you sipped some off the jarrito. What´s – are we getting anything different? Or are we getting the same?
RICK: Yeah, it´s – I´m getting a lot more of the warmer barrel notes off the jarrito. Whereas with the Glencairn, you know, it´s brighter it´s more of the fruit, I think.
MIKE: Yeah. Nice combo, though. It´s really nice to be able to compare and contrast the same juice, where I´m not even going to say this – some of the elements are being muted. It´s just it´s some – or being presented better than others. Wow… This is lovely. This is really a lovely tequila. Now, you know, I know you´ve done cocktails before. Would you use a G4 if you got it at a really good price, would you use any of these in a cocktail? Like the repo maybe or the blanco or the…?
RICK: Well, like the blanco you can pick up now for $30 at Old Town. You know, so, everyone should just get online and order a case.
MIKE: (laughing) Yeah!
RICK: And you know, you could at that price you can use it as your rail at home on your porch.
RICK: And you know, go ahead, you know, throw it into a nice Palomar or something.
MIKE: Yeah. Something citrusy exactly, because it´s got those notes.
RICK: Yeah, something light. Something light. Not something heavy because you´re really going to want the juice to come through.
RICK: Because it´s very well-done. And it´s a bit softer than he has created with the Terra Alta line.
MIKE: Right, it is a soft tequila, so, you know, if you do use it, if you decide to use the darker versions in cocktails, you´re going to be using more, probably.
RICK: But this is definitely, you know, the whole line so far, it´s definitely sipping tequila.
MIKE: That’s kind of what, yeah. I personally I really wouldn´t mess these with, in a cocktail, but that would be me. I also probably wouldn´t pair this with cigars either. I think the notes up here are way too sweet to find a cigar that would be comparable. I think they would clash. I haven´t had the XA yet, we´re going to get to that in a little bit, but I´m really, really just enjoying this one. This is just really something.
RICK: And it´s, you know, it´s a great tequila for aficionados because there´s a lot there to pull out and explore, but again, it´s just very approachable. And so, you know, if you´re an aficionado and you know you´re – every time you pull out a tequila you don´t want to be sitting there and examining the whole thing, you know maybe you´re doing something else and you just want something to chill with.
RICK: You know this G4 line is great for that. Because you know, you don´t have to think about it, you know it´s going to be great.
MIKE: Pair it with Netflix.
MIKE: You know, right? Or your favorite –
RICK: Netflix and G4.
MIKE: Or your favorite sporting event, you know? That´s what you do with this. Wow, it´s just the more I let it open, the more I just let it sit there, the more I start pulling out of it. This is really, insanely delicious. Wow…
RICK: Yeah, and you know, I lean toward the younger end. You know, and my favorites are usually the blanco but Felipe´s light touch on the barrel, it just feels right. It´s light, and it´s… always presents this gorgeous agave.
MIKE: Yeah, it is really, again it´s an about-face, it´s a 180 from what we are used to seeing in reposados and añejos. Although again, we´ve said it before and other, and other tasters have said it, this year particularly there are brands that are making statements with the reposado and Felipe has made a statement with every one of these, but his repos are really strong. They´re very representative of the line. They are not the afterthought, where you know, we´ll just pull this one out for 6-months and that one after 12-months, and you know. They´re – each one of his expressions have been very, very deliberate. So, if you are a reposado drinker, you´ll love his stuff because it´s going to say something but don´t, don´t discount what the other expressions can say, can convey to you. Because you´re doing yourself a disservice. There are some brands you can just enjoy the repo and they´re made for that, but with Felipe´s, it´s a whole other ball of wax, man.
RICK: Yeah, you know, if you love tequila, you´ve got to get some of Felipe´s juice because he is – he´s one of the best games out there right now, you know, he´s probably top of the game.
MIKE: Yeah, that´s saying a lot too, because from what we´ve seen for our Brands of Promise Nominees and the ballots, there´s a lot of stiff competition. The people are – I know that we´re in the middle of a crisis, I know that there´s a lot more brands coming out, but I´ve got to tell you, the quality is there. And some of these, you don´t even have to look so hard to find the quality. Some of these have wider distribution than others. But, this is definitely one that you want to look for. It´s G4, if you´re an oak-head, it´s prbobaly nto as deep and rich as you might enjoy, but if you´re an aficionado, or just a Netflix watcher, (laughing) I love it. You might want to just chill with this one. It´s beuatifully done, again, Brand of Promise Nominee in the añejo, the Añejo Legacy Category, Felipe has just done it again. He´s like the Will Smith of tequila, man! It´s like –
MIKE: Every song is a hit! Remember when Will Smith was coming out with a movie every July? Because he was like Mr. Box office. He´s like the Rock now. You know, you put this guy in your show, in your movie, it´s going to be a blockbuster. And that´s where this guy´s at right now.
RICK: Yeah. Hopefully we´ll see this get realy big over the next year.
MIKE: We´re hoping the PR company that contacted us that made this happen for Rick and myself, are telling us there will be a huge roll out. They´re planning on doing this in a big way, so watch for it. And if this, if you´re watching this in August or like early September, and it hasn´t rolled out, they haven´t pulled out aparachute cord yet, go get yoursef some stuff now because this hits the market, on the second day, forget it.
RICK: For the añejo I found current pricing from as low as $43 up to the highest point I found was $70, but again, it´s more in the $43-$60 range for the pricing that I´ve found.
RICK: But, you know, again at Old Town right now, it is on sale for $43 hopefully it´ll be a time the same, so you can get yourself some.
MIKE: Get it now! (laughing) If Rick hasn´t bought it all by that point. Oh my gosh. That´s our take on G4 Añejo. I´m Mike Morales here in San Antonio. That young man over there is…
RICK: Rick Levi in San Diego.
MIKE: You have been watching Sipping Off the Cuff on all of our networks here at Tequila Aficionado on all of our platforms and networks, and all of our channels. Please subscribe, okay? Wherever you happen to watch us, or listen to us, subscribe. You´ll be very happy, you won´t miss anything. Because there´s a lot of neat tequilas out there you might want to pick one or two of them up, just on our recommendation or not. But whatever you do, do like what we say here, tomar sabiamente.
RICK: Sip wisely.