Bernardo Beltran is a craftsman. For the past 25 years, he has endeavored to perfect the art and science of crafting tequila at his family-owned and operated distillery, Elaboración de Bebidas Destiladas de Agave [NOM 1524]. A quick sniff, sip and swallow of Bracero 100% Agave Tequila will confirm that his time was well spent.
Bracero is made from mature agaves cultivated in the rich soil of el Arsenal in the Los Altos Highlands. After harvesting, the agaves are steam cooked in stainless steel autoclaves and shredded before being transferred to vats where the extracted juice is allowed to slowly ferment. The fermented wash—referred to as mosto—is double-distilled in the distillery's stainless steel pot stills. Prior to bottling the tequila is reduced to 40% alcohol (80 proof).
The elder statesman of the range is Bracero Añejo 100% Agave Tequila, which is matured in American white oak barrels for 18 months. The casks are only used twice before being replaced. Beltran blends several barrels of añejo tequila to obtain the desired flavor profile and to best ensure consistency between batches. The rich golden hued spirit has a medium-weight, satiny textured body and a generous bouquet of caramel, citrus, vanilla and dark chocolate. Its brilliant aromatics are enticing and well worth the price of admission. The tequila has a soft, cool entry that rapidly expands presenting a dry palate of baking spices, anise, toffee and cocoa. The finish is warm and delectable.
While this añejo would seriously improve the taste of any tequila-based cocktail, do yourself a favor and first sample it neat and undiluted. You'll likely find it is so elegant and delicious that nothing else need be added. It makes a perfect after dinner sipper.
The Bracero Reposado 100% Agave Tequila is matured for 10 months in charred oak barrels used previously to age bourbon. Each small batch is then blended with a younger reposado to obtain the ideal balance between the flavor of the agave and oak. The result is sublime. The reposado has a golden/amber hue, a smooth medium-weight body and a lively bouquet brimming with spice, pepper, citrus and toasted oak aromas. On the palate the tequila does indeed show a remarkable balance between the flavor of the agave and the character of the oak barrel. It features a broad array of flavors that includes chocolate, citrus, toffee, vanilla bean and a dusting of baking spices. The finish is long, balanced and slightly spicy.
Equally impressive is Bracero Blanco 100% Agave Tequila. The unaged tequila is bottled straight from the still. It has crystalline clarity, a silky body and the wafting aromas of citrus, fresh fruit and black pepper with light floral notes. The blanco fills the mouth with a savory mix of fruit and spice before fading to a spicy warm finish.
Another attractive feature about Bracero Tequilas is the modest price tag dangling from their necks. Great juice at a great price is an alluring marketing proposition.