The first two times I tasted Number Juan Reposado, it reminded me of my 15-year-old son in the morning: something that awakens very slowly. For $49, I expected more than clean, mildly spicy tequila that was decidedly low on complexity. But time and future tastings would reveal that Number Juan was only being shy at the start.
Number Juan Needed Time
I abandoned it for two weeks before tasting again, and it was clearly better. But I was suspicious. Maybe my palate wasn’t truly clean or the early arrival of winter was playing tricks with my nose. With each taste, I used the Vinturi Spirit aerator to jump start it, but the fun flavors still didn’t emerge for at least 20 minutes. Some floral notes and cinnamon floated from the glass, but not much more. Two weeks’ time made me like it more, but not overly so, and I shoved it to the back of my liquor cabinet to reach for something else.
Two Weeks Later
Two weeks later I grabbed it for another try, pouring a generous ounce, aerating and sipping it. My immediate reaction was, “This is a whole new tequila.”
I looked back at my notes at two weeks and read, “Tons of bright peppermint, some wood, but barely floral and vegetal. Some honey, but overall narrow flavor profile. Clean, straightforward, inoffensive.”
Three Times a Charm
This third go-round was something special. The peppermint took on some holiday spice and “barely floral” turned into hints of roses. “Some honey” turned into pronounced honey, and “vegetal” gave way good minerality on the palate chased by some dried fruit in the background.
I looked back at my old notes again: “a wisp of smoke, even some cocoa … becoming more delicious with time.” Boy was it! New flavors of cooked agave emerged, trailed by some pronounced wood notes.
In all three tastings, its finish was clean, barely lingering, but on the third it left pleasant heat; not harsh, just confirmation I was sipping it straight.
What began as a good, but not remarkable sipper, Number Juan had become a full-flavored reposado with just a little time and room in the bottle for some air to work.
Lesson learned: Good things come to those who wait.
Tequila Aficionado is proud to welcome rising star in tequila and travel journalism, Stephen Coomes, as a Contributing Writer and Reviewer. His steady gigs include roles as contributing editor for Nation’s Restaurant News (the U.S. restaurant industry’s largest publication), restaurant critic and feature writer for Louisville magazine, feature writer for Edible Louisville and Seafood Business magazines, Kentucky travel and dining contributor for Southern Living, and dining blogger for Insider Louisville. He also writes marketing, PR, web copy and ghostwrites for numerous private clients. You can visit Steve online at www.stevecoomes.com.