Mike: You are watching Sipping off the Cuff on TequilaAficionado.com. I’m Mike Morales and that gentleman over there…
Rick: Rick Levy in San Diego.
Mike: I’m here in San Antonio. We’re enjoying a respite from the heat wave. We’ve actually had rain the last 2 days, which is nice.
Rick: The heat has moved out here.
Mike: Oh, really is it hot out there?
Rick: Little over 100 outside the house.
Mike: Wow, you don’t have air-conditioning in San Diego as I remember.
Rick: Yeah. Yeah. Most people have it now.
Mike: Oh, really? When I lived in Rancho Penasquitos up a little higher we didn’t have a need to air-conditioning because in the summer if it gets to hot you get that ocean breeze that comes all the way inland.
Mike: And it was nice; it was, you know, not here in Texas.
Rick: This house didn’t have it when we bought the house.
Mike: Well, then enjoy it. By Thursday we should have it back I think. I’m excited, dude, this is going to be your first, this is a brand new Tequila that just contacted us. It’s called El Consuelo and the neat part about this, Rick, is that it’s organic and its kosher. I don’t know if you can see that down in there but that’s the organic and kosher seal.
Rick: USDA and is it Bioagricert?
Mike: Yeah, it’s Bioagricert and right now I think they are the only one in town but I understand that the CRT will soon be getting involved in certifying tequila. I’m not sure how that’s going to work, it will be interesting whether that becomes a reality at the end of the year. Who knows? But for now, they were really cool. They sent us information on the tequila. I want to make sure. Certified by, no, not Bioagricert its Mayacert.
Mike: I have never heard of Mayacert, I’m going to do a little research on this one for my own sake, Mayacert that’s interesting. It is organic however and it is or at least it’s being recognised as organic and it’s also kosher.
Rick: So that’s some information on their website too. So you can use Jalapeño water as insecticide around their base so you know.*
* Pepper infused water is NOT used as an insecticide on El Consuelo’s agaves. This is a website error. No insecticides are used on the El Consuelo agaves.
Mike: Yeah, yeah.
Rick: Repels insects rather than using industrial chemicals.
Mike: Well you know they were nice enough to send us information, basically a press release with a lot of stuff in it from James Goll, who I believe is the 24 Group PR.
Rick: Well the company that produces the tequila is called tequila spirits LLC.
Rick: And then James Goll is the 24 Group PR marketing contact.
Mike: Ok. You know they reached out to us and bingo we got tequila. I like their bottle it’s just a real simple bottle and it’s got a wood cork.
Mike: It’s a wood topper.
Rick: Natural cork.
Mike: Natural cork too, check that out.
Rick: It did leak a little when I got the bottle.
Mike: Yeah and you know when we got it, it was over a 100 degrees when we got our sample so we had a little bit of leakage. I’m going to use my Glencairn glass tonight, my little copita which I seem to really enjoy, look at that.
Rick: That’s a hefty pourer there.
Mike: That’s ok, it’s not like it’s going to go to waste.
Rick: Pay no attention to the man behind the wheel.
Mike: Yeah, (laughter) nice legs and tears, really. I don’t know if you can see this, my lighting here is not the best but it pours really nicely, pretty pretty legs and tears, nothing runny, not too clingy. The bottle itself, if you look at the bottle it’s got that hammered look. I think, you haven’t had it yet Rick, but Papa Bueno Tequila comes in a bottle that’s got that hammered look, it looks like its hand blown.
Rick: It’s got that same texture to the glass as well.
Mike: Yeah, I like calling it that hammered metal, it’s got that hammered metal look to it but its glass. Really nice. It handles nicely. It’s a nice bottle to pour from, really old school look at it. Now what they said in the press material is that they’re using Webber agaves sourced from Jalisco in the Mexican region of Tequila which, if you read that correctly, if you take it word for word, it sounds like they’re using lowlands tequila at this distillery
Mike: Yeah its 1570.
Rick: And it’s in Atotonilco.
Mike: I was probably just down the road from there when we visited Embahador but that’s a highlands distillery.
Rick: But on the bottle it says release out to the world.
Mike: Yeah, but their press material it says something else and so it’s a little confusing.
Rick: PR firms.
Mike: It’s press you know, so we will assume that they are using highlands tequila or highlands agaves.
Rick: It said on the website that they are using agaves from Altos.
Mike: Oh good. Ok.
Rick: It says they are 8 to 9 years old, organic, and are trimmed close when they harvest them.
Mike: Ok, we did not get, and I’m not even sure if they are available yet, Reposado and Anejo. It seems like they are going to go way traditional with this. The reposado was supposed to be six months aged and the anejo aged for 12 months. Both are aged in cognac barrels* so it will be kind of nice to be able to taste those aged varietals.
*El Consuelo is not aged in cognac barrels. El Consuelo ages their Reposado and Anejo in once-used Jack Daniels Whiskey Barrels.
Rick: Check that out, on their website they have some contradictory information.
Mike: What do they say on the website?
Rick: They said that the reposado was aged 11 months and that the anejo was 24 months and in those they also used, in addition to cognac, American Whiskey barrels.*
*This too is incorrect. Cognac barrels are not used at all.
Mike: Well who do we believe?
Rick: I don’t know they will just have to send us the juice and let us decide.
Mike: That’s OK. This is the start of it, so obviously you know the Blanco is the root of all good or evil. I like the smell. Its got that nice fruity, floral smell right on the tip of the nose. You don’t even have to go dig very deep, very far, for it.
Rick: Right. Very fresh.
Mike: It’s a beautiful aroma.
Rick: Yeah and then you know I just cracked the seal on this today and nothing weird was coming off the top. It didn’t need to oxidise or open up or anything.
Mike: No its very clean. Very, very clean smelling. Obviously you can see the legs and tears off of my glass. It’s perfect. There is nothing that says this isn’t going to be good for you.
Rick: Yeah, and you know in their materials they really boast about doing everything in a traditional way, so you know I looked into it a little bit more. They are using masonry ovens for extraction. I was glad to see. I loved this. I see for their fermentation they are using a natural open air fermentation process and they are using stainless vats. They also say they are using a proprietary exclusive yeast, so its exclusive to El Consuelo.
Mike: Well you know what that means right?
Mike: When they say proprietary, you know the first thing that comes into my head is that this is a yeast that is coming from their own agaves. It doesn’t say that they are estate grown agaves so I’m assuming that they are using yeast from agaves that they purchase and that’s the yeast that they are using.
Rick: So natural yeast from the plants that they are distilling, of course.
Mike: Right. Generally when you hear that it is because they are estate owned and then they produce their own yeast from their own plants and at least that’s the way I interpreted it. I could be wrong. They could be using, I don’t know, a Champaign yeast, but it doesn’t smell like it. It smells just, you know, if anything I get some citrus notes on it.
Rick: You know that.
Mike: That lime zest. I’m getting lime zest again; I’m going to dig in here. Wow.
Rick: Ah, that’s just excellent. I can’t find anything that I can…
Mike: Nothing to complain about.
Rick: There is nothing, there is nothing off, nothing strange, nothing peculiar its just wow, its luscious.
Mike: It’s not beefy either, it’s got a great finish. You notice that finish lingers; it’s a lingering finish, a medium to long finish.
Rick: Yeah, I’m getting that great pepper sensation around the outside, the tongue and back of palate.
Mike: Yeah, this is a star man; this is a stellar, stellar stuff.
Rick: Well it’s great to see, you know, because they seem to really be something. When I was looking at the website they were really pushing about how they are interested in their commitment to sustainability, social consciousness, and they say stuff like additive free with pure ingredients, with methods passed down through generations of Mexican farmers; their commitment to sustainability, social consciousness, for their farmers and their communities so it really seems like they are trying to develop a partnership with the growers and the distillery.
Mike: It’s their method, like you said, the method where they use the *habanero peppered water to ward off insects rather than pesticides.
* Pepper infused water is NOT used as an insecticide on El Consuelo’s agaves. This is a website error. No insecticides are used on the El Consuelo agaves.
Mike: It’s really interesting. Having grown my own green chillies in new Mexico I can tell you that the bugs don’t like them, ants don’t like them, there is something the heat, the oils in the chilis. It just naturally doesn’t have, it’s not like a berry or a fruit when you have birds that will eat some of it or rabbits, nobody touches chili, they leave it alone so that’s kind of cool, that’s really neat they way they have gone to that.
Rick: And they also talk about their special bottling process. I’m not sure how hard this is for the industry but they say that they wash their bottles; prior to bottling they wash their bottle in a tequila based solution.
Mike: Oh yeah.
Rick: Have you ever seen anything like that?
Mike: There are a few, as a matter of fact I just saw a video on facebook, I’m not exactly sure of the brand of the mezcal and they are showing you it’s a modern bottling facility but it only takes 3 bottles at a time which is kind of odd and they push it underneath the spouts. The spouts flood, I mean literally wash the empty bottles before they are even filled and then they are turned over and drained like right away. They move it over and then they are filled with the mescal. I’m assuming it’s a similar process with the tequila but this was really a small bottling facility so I’m not sure. I’ve never actually seen an automated bottling facility, but as far as I know, many of these bigger companies wash their bottles out this way.
Rick: This doesn’t seem to be a big distillery at all, it’s ALTOS CIENEGA UNIDOS.
Mike: You know I have my.
Rick: I think they only have 3 brands now the NOM started in June of 2010 and El Consuelo was one of the first marks listed with them but they are saying that El Consuelo was launched into 2016 but they also say that its rich in heritage but I’m not sure if they are saying that this is the process that they are using.
Rick: Or if this is previously brought up in Mexico and its now available in the US.
Mike: I think what happens is they’re taking some liberties with the information but, you know, the fact of the matter is they are making it in the old school way and you are right, I’m looking at the current NOM list, and from what I can see they have 4 brands that are coming out of there right now so um, that’s a good thing.
Mike: You know there.
Rick: My guess is that this NOM has been working with the folks behind El Consuelo the longest to make this happen but you know I’m glad they did this. As you know, this is really what I love to see and you know I love the kind of citrus nose and feel.
Mike: I love that finish at the end too, you know it’s not all perfumes and flowers you know its once you inspect it. You know you have had tequila and it’s not as much in your face as maybe some of the tequila’s we have had from Amatitan, but this is what its famous for. I wouldn’t call it a typical tequila, there is not such thing to me, but if you are looking for a flavour profile that you are used to getting out of Highlands tequila then drink this one because its organic and small batch. We were talking about the top 10 list for USA Today a little while ago. Had we known these people had been around, they’re probably had to find right now, but maybe next time a list like that comes around, it could be available and in much larger qualities and added to that list.
Rick: Again let’s nominate them for Brand of Promise.
Mike: Nominated for Brand of Promise in the organic category, such a lovely tequila. Congratulations to the company and everything that they are doing there. Tequila Spirits LLC, I think is the owner of the brand and did you say that the company is going to come out with traditional spirits also?
Rick: Yeah, yeah, that because of their drive that they have for sustainability and social consciousness and the production process, they are also looking to release a rum, a vodka and a gin with that same kind of commitment.
Mike: Well there you go.
Rick: That’s great, it’s always wonderful to see people trying to do the right thing and producing something that really comes out great.
Mike: We are not sure what the price points will be or are on this tequila. It’s a wait and see, but keep an eye out for it. It’s called El Consuelo, I think you’re right, Brand of Promise for the Blanco. So there you go, that’s our take on this tequila. I’m Morales here in San Antonio.
Rick: Right, well I’m Rick Levy in San Diego.
Mike: And you’ve been watching Sipping off the Cuff on Tequila Aficionado Media, www.tequilaaficionado.com. Please subscribe to the channel down below in the red button, you will be really, really happy and so will we.
Rick: Push red buttons.
Mike: Yeah, push that red button. Well, as we like to say at Tequila Aficionado, “Tomar Sabiamente”.
[The second annual Sabor Latino Food Show took place on May 12-13, 2015 at the Pasadena Convention Center. Tequila Aficionado Media was asked to tag along with Embajador tequila as its importer/brand owner attempts to break into the competitive Southern California spirits market.]
It’s no secret that trying to jockey for position into the competitive California spirits market is as tough as winning the Triple Crown in horseracing. This is doubly true if you’re a fledging tequila brand trying to distinguish yourself from the rest of the field.
That’s where trade shows like Sabor Latino can help.
Created and organized by CEO, Lilly Rocha, a well connected and solidly certified event planner with 17 years of experience and with both national and international clients.
The Sabor Latino Food show recognizes the growing power of the Latino consumer in the US by helping to “Define the Tastes of the New Majority,” which also happened to be this year’s show theme.
After graciously introducing her team, and acknowledging troops of culinary students whom she affords the opportunity for internships with companies that prepare them for college or careers, Lilly cuts the ribbon and unleashes the mariachis.
Even our founder, Alex Perez, stopped in to say hello.
What’s New, Day 2
On day two, we met Daniel Villaneda of Global Spirits Imports who sampled a full array of Pochteca Liqueurs along with an upcoming tequila from Chef Martín San Román whose own restaurant, La Terrasse, is in the heart of Baja California’s burgeoning wine country, the Valle de Guadalupe.
After discovering what her baking methods had in common with some tequila producers, Marian approached the Embajador tequila booth to try all three expressions and to select the ones she wanted to pair with her latest creation, the Spicy Mama chocolate cheesecake.
With the tortilla chip–and arguably, Mexican wine and spirits–among other Latin influenced foods becoming a staple of the American culinary experience, there’s no reason to believe that Lilly Rocha and the Sabor Latino Food Show won’t become a major player to look up to for all Latino food and beverage products eager to debut in the challenging Southern California market.
Watch for The Sabor Latino Food Show coming to Chicago, June 8-11, 2015.
On this soggy and swampy St. Patrick’s Day, I was graciously invited to spend the afternoon at Sam’s Burger Joint by Mexican Moonshine creator and indie music rock star, Roger Clyne. He had arrived in Texas for a busy week of concerts at the famed music, media, film conference and festival, South By Southwest (SXSW) in Austin.
With additional gigs in San Antonio and New Braunfels, this night he was slated to perform an acoustic set at Sam’s Music Hall with his Arizona Peacemaker compadre, Jim Dalton. The rest of the band would catch up later as they traveled by bus.
Over a burger and a cerveza (and a few selfies), Roger and I caught up on current events.
Undaunted, he continued to seek more adequate representation for Mexican Moonshine in what is arguably one of the biggest tequila-consuming states in the Southwest.
This time around, Clyne elected to join forces with a much
smaller, boutique distributer. However, he is keenly aware that such a decision can be a double-edged sword in the spirits business.
As many brands of promise often do, they lean towards employing these specialty distributors in hopes of gaining more attention for their label than they would from large, impersonal corporations who are only interested in mass volume case movements and “what’s on spiff?” items.
Staff trainings on Mexican Moonshine’s finer points is key to seeing bottles moving off of the shelves and into customer’s hands and into local bars and restaurants. A challenge he is certainly up for since he continues to conduct pre-show tastings of Mexican Moonshine to fans at selected clubs and concert halls.
Luckily, the timing of Mexican Moonshine’s relaunch into the Texas market coincided with the Peacemakers’ assault on Austin during SXSW.
Clyne admitted that he has no delusions of becoming the next Margaritaville or Cabo Wabo, or any of the other celebrity-owned tequilas. Like his music, Roger’s aspirations for Mexican Moonshine are much more independent.
“I want to be a Southwest brand of tequila,” he confessed. “I have no dreams of entering large competitive markets where Mexican Moonshine will disappear in a sea of brands.”
Due to the heavy Mexican cultural influence of his rugged
Arizona upbringing, Clyne has not ruled out venturing into the world of other agave spirits in the future.
“But,” he adds cautiously with a sly smile, “let’s get some traction back in Texas, first.”
Guess Roger and I will have to talk about those distant opportunities next time over some street tacos and Mexican Moonshine.
After an unprecedented amount of entries to our Brands of Promise ™ awards, and the flabbergasting influx of new tequila and mezcal brands with fabulous juice in 2014 (and some unforeseen technical difficulties in our post production department that were beyond our control), Sipping Off The Cuff ™ returns with a vengeance.
Coming In Hot
Starting this week, our post production department is backing up the truck and dumping a huge load of agave onto your screens.
Don’t worry if you miss a chapter or two of these upcoming reviews with Alex and Mike.
They’ll be coming in fast and furious till the end of the year, but you can always catch up by subscribing to our YouTube channel, as well as following TequilaAficionado.com’s Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest pages.
And if you haven’t done so, take a moment to subscribe to our newsletter and be assured of never missing the latest tequila scuttlebutt, event, or feature story.
Don’t Say We Didn’t Warn You
Learn all about tequila from field to glass and then get paid to share your love of agave spirits with others! Buy Them Both Now!