Some reviewers I’ve read (and respect) object to tequila aged in small barrels because they say that adds too much oak flavor too soon. But as a fan of big-bodied, buttery, oaky chardonnays and woody, luxurious old bourbons, I’m so fond of this technique that I’d say I prefer most añejos aged this way. If not, why spend so much time in a larger barrel with less wood contact and, ultimately, giving so much away to the angels?
The results of this tequila’s 15 to 18-month cooped-up rest are hard to criticize. The añejo delivers a suitable medium body and soft finish, plus a nice tingle up front. It’s highly flavor forward but doesn’t exit hastily. The nose brings forth a bouquet of citrus, mocha, wood and even a hint of bubblegum. In the mouth, its wood notes are accompanied by delicious back notes of cola and cooked agave.
I sip tequila when I’m working late, which means oft-interrupted tasting. Those long breaks between sips allow new flavors to emerge, even in the empty glass. Long after it was gone, the traces of this añejo still gave off aromas of pepper and honey.
I also tend to have fun foods at home that pair well with spirits: in this case, some chocolate truffles and slices of high-quality country ham. (If you’re not familiar with this southern U.S. delicacy, it’s salt-cured and dry-aged like prosciutto, lightly smoked and aged about a year.) Both not only paired well with the spirit but played well together. The saltiness of the ham brought out mineral notes in the Demetrio, while the luscious chocolate amplified the aforementioned mocha. Impressively, its peppery notes cut through the chocolate at mid-palate: a nice surprise and a great effect.
Prices for Demetrio añejo I found on the web ranged from $31 to $41 per bottle, and on the low end, that’s a fair deal. But closer to and beyond $40, much as I liked it, I’d keep looking.