Cinco de Mayo

Cinco de Mayo marks the official beginning of tequila season in our book, so in eager anticipation we sampled the lineups of two brands, one very economically priced and the other a luxury brand.

We found El Jimador tequila reliably good across the board, and a really nice choice if you don’t want to drop a bundle. El Jimador Tequila Blanco (about $17) has a nice briny, herbal aroma and clean, assertive taste with a touch of citrus and lemon balm. El Jimador Tequila Reposado (about $17) is pleasantly woodsy, with a touch of orange peel and delicate nutty smokiness. El Jimador Añejo (about $22.50) is rich and smooth with notes of caramel, butterscotch and toasty orange peel. All would make a fine cocktail.

Stepping it up, we sampled Don Julio tequilas, pricy but excellent. Don Julio Blanco (about $46) is beautifully aromatic, slightly nutty and creamy with citrus and herbal hints. Don Julio Reposado (about $48) has a warm, toasty aroma with a fruity undertone. Its delicate caramel flavor and pleasant spiciness finish up with a hint of Marasca cherries. Don Julio Añejo (about $55) exudes a rich, nutty aroma with hints of dried cherries. Excessively smooth and complex, it’s elegantly deep-flavored and rich. Don Julio 70 (about $65) is a unique tequila aged for 18 months in American white oak barrels, which gives it an uncommon depth of flavor. It’s then filtered to make it crystal clear. It make look like a blanco, but there’s much more going on here – lots of complex flavors of caramel and dried fruits like figs and sultanas rendered with an extraordinary smoothness. These are so delightful on their own, we’d hesitate to add anything else to the glass.

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