Behind most genuinely successful brands of tequila there stands an individual who represents the heart and soul of the spirit. Someone who has made the commitment to propel the brand to excellence, who has coddled the spirit throughout inception, launch and distribution. It takes a tremendous amount of expertise and passion to bring a superior tequila to market. There are a thousand critical decisions that need to be made during the production process, all of which will affect the finished product. Rest assured, someone has poured blood, sweat and tears into the brand.
One of these people is Felix Bañuelos Jimenez. With over 30 years experience as a master distiller, few individuals have accomplished more in the tequila industry. Don Felix—as he has come to be known—was among the early pioneers of the reposado expression and creator of both Hacienda Vieja and Cazadores Tequilas.
Introduced in 2011, Don Felix Tequila Añejo 100% de Agave is an exemplary, limited edition tequila, a fitting homage from a loving family to its patriarch. Don Felix Añejo is made at Destiladora de Los Altos [NOM 1412] in Arandas and the Highlands of Jalisco. From steam cooking the agaves to fermenting the sugar-rich juice of the agaves, every step of production is deliberate and well considered. After being twice distilled in a pot still, the tequila is matured for eighteen months in virgin American white oak barrels. It is bottled at 40% alcohol (80 proof).
Be prepared to be seriously impressed. During its stay in oak, Don Felix Añejo develops a golden/amber hue, a lightweight, satiny textured body and an enticing bouquet of black cherries, dark chocolate, vanilla and honey. The longer the añejo is allowed to breathe in the glass, the more aromatics come to the forefront. It's quite a dazzling display. The palate entry is spicy warm as the tequila expands filling the mouth with a bevy of bakery-fresh flavors—cinnamon, honey, vanilla, caramel, anise, cloves and herbaceous agave. The lip-smacking flavors persist well into the dry, spicy finish. Don Felix Añejo is best served neat and savored in a quiet, unhurried moment.
Don Felix Tequila Blanco 100% de Agave is bottled fresh from the still brimming with vitality and exuberance. The tequila has perfect clarity, a lightweight body and an alluring fruit and spice bouquet. Its entry is soft and mild as it bathes the palate with a sumptuous offering of cinnamon, cloves, exotic fruit and chocolate. Don Felix Blanco is an ideal expression to drink neat or served with a few piece of ice.
This dynamic range of tequilas also includes Don Felix Tequila Reposado 100% de Agave. It is aged in virgin, American white oak barrels for not less than 6 months. The amber/golden colored tequila has a smooth, lightweight body and a wafting bouquet. Give this Highland gem a few extra minutes to breathe. Your patience will be well rewarded. Its palate is a delectable assortment of butterscotch, toffee, vanilla, chocolate, nutmeg, honey and cinnamon. The finish is long, dry and elegant.
"Don Felix's commitment to the quality of the distillate led us to create the tagline, 'not all 100% agave tequilas are created equal,'" adds Monique Huston, national spirits education ambassador for importer Marsalle Company.
How true. ¡Salud!