The Revel Avila Spirits Experience

[From September 11 to October 2, 2016, Tequila Aficionado Media, sponsored by 34 expressions representing 21 brands, embarked on a monumental RV road show dubbed, The Heartland Tour.  In these next passages, we recount the historic–and epic–highlights.  *FTC Disclosure: Brands appearing on the Tequila Aficionado Dia de Los Muertos & Heartland Tour had to be vetted as Brand of Promise Nominees and paid a nominal fee to be on the tour.]

Minnesota Loves Agave Spirits, Part Deux

The Revel Avila Spirits Experience http://wp.me/p3u1xi-4xe

As we mentioned in the article, Los Osuna’s Dream Maker, Minnesota has the unique distinction of being the only state to have two blue agave spirits from outside Tequila’s and Mezcal’s Denominations of Origin based within its borders.

An oddity, for sure, but perfectly understandable when you discover the ardent foodie and cocktail culture that also exists within the “Land of 10,000 Lakes.”

For instance…

The Revel Avila Spirits Experience http://wp.me/p3u1xi-4xe

One of the highlights of Tequila Aficionado’s Heartland Tour was an exclusive tasting of Revel Avila Blue Agave Spirit at the fashionable and trendy 6 Smith Restaurant.

The Revel Avila Spirits Experience http://wp.me/p3u1xi-4xe

It’s a bold, fresh and modern artisan inspired restaurant situated on the shores of Lake Minnetonka (Yes, THAT Lake Minnetonka!) in the city of Wayzeta.

6 Smith

A private room was reserved for the event with a lovely view of 6 Smith’s outdoor patio which overlooked the lake’s marina.

The Revel Avila Spirits Experience http://wp.me/p3u1xi-4xe

On this gorgeous late summer afternoon, we would be hosting many friends of the brand, as well as various VIPs.

The Revel Avila Spirits Experience http://wp.me/p3u1xi-4xe

Arranged by Revel’s COO Jacqui Thompson, we were joined by her brother Justin Thompson, Senior Vice President and National Sales Manager, Larry Fioretti, Director of Finance James O’Neill, and several members of Team Revel Spirits.

First Impressions

First impressions were important since this event would also celebrate the The Revel Avila Spirits Experience http://wp.me/p3u1xi-4xeunveiling of Revel Avila Spirits’ handsome new look.

Champagne flutes were carefully filled with modest pours of Revel’s triple distilled blanco, American oak aged reposado, and French oak rested añejo.

Because of its distinctive aroma and flavor, each glass was topped with a Revel Spirits coaster to prevent its diverse aromas from mingling.

This would perhaps be the very first time any of the attendees had tasted agave spirits of any kind, let alone a unique hybrid like Revel Avila.

The Revel Avila Spirits Experience http://wp.me/p3u1xi-4xe

To the rear of the room, a delicious spread of finger foods and appetizers was laid out by the 6 Smith staff which included duck confit won-tons, heirloom tomato crostini, and stuffed portobello mushrooms.

The Revel Avila Spirits Experience http://wp.me/p3u1xi-4xe

Each delightful side dish was designed to complement Revel’s awe inspiring expressions.

After photos, live check ins on social media and online videos, we were ready to begin.

Armed with a wireless mic and powerful speakers, Jacqui introduced yours truly, and we were off on a Revel Avila Spirits tasting adventure.

Experiencing Revel Spirits

We began with Revel Avila triple distilled blanco, the root of the entire line.

Every attendee was individually served a flute of the exquisite blanco while still covered.  Once each glass was handed over, the Revel coaster was removed to reveal its heady fragrance.

The Revel Avila Spirits Experience http://wp.me/p3u1xi-4xeMade from blue agave, it is grown and harvested by Revel Spirits’ partner, agave grower Hector Ruiz and family.

His agave groves sit at the foot of Popocatépetl volcano outside of the Denominations of Origin of both Tequila and Mezcal in the state of Morelos, Mexico.

Due to the mineral rich land having only been farmed between 10 to 20 years, the region’s terroir is extremely prominent in Revel’s aroma and flavor.

Revel Avila is a blend of pit roasted and autoclave steam cooked piñas, then triple distilled in large column stills.

The Revel Avila Spirits Experience http://wp.me/p3u1xi-4xe

The attendees understood that what they were sniffing, swirling and sipping was a unique experience because currently, no other agave spirits from Morelos are on the market.

Revel Avila Reposado

Next, we discovered the nuances of the 12 month old Revel Avila reposado.

The Revel Avila Spirits Experience http://wp.me/p3u1xi-4xe

The women in the crowd picked out hints of toasted almond, butter, and spices while the men were enamored by the oak and caramel notes added by the once used American oak bourbon whisky barrels.

Revel Avila Añejo

Lastly, the two year añejo was introduced to a rousing reception.

The men in the group who had been enchanted by the reposado were wowed by the addition of the extra layers of complexity courtesy of the virgin French oak.

The women were keen on the añejo’s boldness and notes of anise and sweet chocolate.

As a final coups de grace, and, in an attempt at full disclosure, I revealed that The Revel Avila Spirits Experience http://wp.me/p3u1xi-4xeunlike the previous renditions of Revel Avila that they had sampled at 80 proof, the French oak añejo was bottled at 48% ABV, or 96 proof.

Surprised and awed, the entire room nodded in approval.

While many tequilas are sometimes rested in barrels to mask the identity of their unaged blancos, Revel’s character remained intact.

In fact, the wood only served to enhance the intricacies found throughout all of its expressions.

Desperately Seeking Signal

After some parting words from Jacqui thanking those in attendance, we lingered for an hour answering more of the crowd’s questions, in-depth.

The Revel Avila Spirits Experience http://wp.me/p3u1xi-4xe

Then, it was off on another 3 hour drive to Wisconsin, desperately seeking wifi signal.

Los Osuna’s Dream Maker

[From September 11 to October 2, 2016, Tequila Aficionado Media, sponsored by 34 expressions representing 21 brands, embarked on a monumental RV road show dubbed, The Heartland Tour.  In these next passages, we recount the historic–and epic–highlights.  *FTC Disclosure: Brands appearing on the Tequila Aficionado Dia de Los Muertos & Heartland Tour had to be vetted as Brand of Promise Nominees and paid a nominal fee to be on the tour.]

The Peculiarity of the North Star State

Los Osuna’s Dream Maker http://wp.me/p3u1xi-4xg

It’s a rarity to find a particular brand of distilled blue agave spirit that can trace its roots all the way back to 19th Century Mexico.

It’s quirkier still to discover blue agave spirits existing outside normal Denomination of Origins, whether they be Tequila or Mezcal.

But, the most bizarre factor to consider is to find both of these blue agave spirits for sale in–

Minnesota?

Minnesota Loves Agave Spirits

With an avid cocktail and foodie culture, Minnesota has the distinction of being the only state to have two blue agave spirits from outside Tequila’s and Mezcal’s Denominations of Origin headquartered within its borders.Los Osuna’s Dream Maker http://wp.me/p3u1xi-4xg

Los Osuna Blue Agave Spirit is one of these.

Dream Maker

In talking with the silver haired, soft spoken Win Stephens, Managing Partner of importer and distributor WRS Imports of the blue agave spirit Los Osuna, you get the impression that he sincerely wants to help others attain their dreams.

A carpenter by trade, in 2009, he managed to help his son, Noah, in Denver, Colorado, to open Vert Kitchen, a French-style gourmet eatery specializing in local and organic healthy cuisine.

He is now aiding his other son, Reven, to build a thriving spirits importation and distribution company at WRS Imports, with Los Osuna as its flagship brand.

Wintering in Sinaloa, Mexico since the 90’s, Win met Sergio and Alfonso Pelayo Osuna, the 4th generation owners of the historic La Noria Vinata (distillery) through mutual friends.  It was then that he became enamored with Los Osuna.

Naturally curious, he investigated the vinata and discovered the vast history of the Osuna family, rivaling that of many of the Tequila Industry’s First Families.

Learning Curve

Los Osuna’s Dream Maker http://wp.me/p3u1xi-4xgWe met Win inside one of Barrio restaurant and tequila bars’ most vibrant and atmospheric locations in Edina, MN.

Over a heaping bowl of Barrio’s freshly made guacamole, and chicken tacos on home made tortillas, Win confessed that neither he nor Reven had had any experience in the liquor business prior to establishing WRS Imports, but were more than willing to learn as they went along.

With an overabundance of tequila brands in bars like Barrio, and the ever- increasing expansion of mezcal into the market, the window of opportunity could appear slim for other agave spirits.

Los Osuna’s Dream Maker http://wp.me/p3u1xi-4xg

Win admitted, though, that the most challenging obstacle to overcome is introducing Los Osuna to venues in the first place.

As a small, craft brand based in Minnesota, Win expounds on the challenges of the liquor business, particularly where distribution and pricing are concerned.

The Los Osuna Difference

Objections like “I’m trying to clear out old stock to make room for new juice,” or “I already have too many tequilas,” or, “Why is your ‘tequila’ different?” is heard over and over again.

Even after explaining to potential customers that Los Osuna is more of an “old school” blue agave spirit with a long family history, it isn’t until the client gets a taste that he or she fully understands and appreciates the quality and potential of Los Osuna.

Here, Win describes the elements that go into Los Osuna blanco and how they prefer to rest it for 90 days in stainless steel tanks, then, another 90 days in the bottle before shipping.

Since 2009, the Los Osuna family has been working with renowned chemical engineer, Ingeniero Leopoldo Solis, the innovator behind the Mozart Method.

It’s a technique whereby classical music is played during the fermentation process to design some of the most sought after tequilas ever made, Cabeza, ArteNOM 1414 and Muchoté among them.

Los Osuna’s Dream Maker http://wp.me/p3u1xi-4xg

The Los Osuna reposado expression is rested 9-11 months and was a Double Gold Medal winner at the San Francisco World Spirits Competition, also in 2009.

Win explains how Los Osuna añejo is rested in number two charred virgin white oak barrels from Missouri.  It is actually a blend of 2½ and 3 year añejos.

Los Osuna’s 5 Year Plan

Through key social and business connections, WRS Imports has been able to make significant inroads into the acute bar and restaurant community of Minneapolis and St. Paul.

Cautiously optimistic about Los Osuna’s future in other states, Win Stephens expects big things for the brand in the coming months.

One Thing

Win divulges the one thing that he wants all agave aficionados to know about Los Osuna.

 Making the Dream A Reality

Under the sincere guidance of the Stephenses and Ing. Leopoldo Solis, along with more new additions coming from the Osuna Pelayo family, Los Osuna Blue Agave Spirit is poised to ride the wave of the current craft spirits craze far into the foreseeable future.

Los Osuna’s Dream Maker http://wp.me/p3u1xi-4xg