Sipping on a dram of Crótalo Añejo 100% Agave Tequila makes one wonder why the brand chose as its name the Spanish word for rattlesnake. The tequila is elegant and flawless, so at first it seems something of a contradiction. Perhaps the crótalo is evocative of the terroir of Los Altos Mountains, which is home to many a viper. Maybe the name alludes to the tequila's bond with the land, a connection that's immediately discernible in its character. Whatever the reason, Crótalo Tequilas are snifter-ready artisanal gems well worth tracking down.
The ultra-premium range is handcrafted at Tequila Embajador [NOM 1509] in Atotonilco under the direct supervision of Master Distiller Ernesto Alonso Granados Cardoso. The organic agaves selected for these limited production spirits were cultivated in the red volcanic soil of the Highlands of Jalisco. The harvested agaves are slowly baked in traditional ovens before being shredded and fermented. The fermented mosto is then double-distilled in the distillery's pot-stills.
Crótalo Añejo is double barreled for just over 2 years. It is aged for a year in French Limousin oak barrels and then finished for another year in proprietary oak barrels. The brand is tight-lipped about the exact specifications of these oak barrels. That said everything that needs be known about this noble tequila is evident in the glass. The añejo has a rich amber/gold hue, a satiny lightweight body and a wafting bouquet laced with herbal and fruit aromas. It's an enticing nose with subtle traces of wood. The cool, soft entry expands revealing a layered palate of dry herbs, cloves, red plums and light baking spices. The flavors linger on the palate for an agreeably long time.
The showpiece of the portfolio—award-winning Crótalo Extra Añejo Reserva—is double barreled for 5 years; three of which are spent in French oak barrels with the remainder in the aforementioned proprietary casks. The tequila has a deep and rich amber hue with a velvety textured body and an alluring semisweet bouquet of vanilla, caramel and dark chocolate. Its lush, luxurious palate is both long lasting and thoroughly satisfying. The limited production Crótalo Extra Añejo is a postprandial masterpiece.
Golden hued Crótalo Reposado is aged for 6 months in French oak and finished for another 5 months in the distillery's proprietary oak barrels. The tequila is highly aromatic and imbued with a semisweet palate of fruit and baking spices.
The Crótalo Plata is the only member of the portfolio triple-distilled, this to yield a lighter bodied spirit. Prior to bottling, the Plata is barrel-aged for 45 days and filtered prior to bottling to strip out the oak-induced color. It is a brilliant, crystal clear tequila brimming with flavor and exuberance.
Search the planet though you may, you won't find better quartet of tequilas than those made by Crótalo.