One of the challenges to featuring añejo tequila in cocktails is its oak-induced color. These tequilas are typically aged in charred, American white oak barrels. During their extended stay in wood, they develop colors ranging from amber/golden to burnished cooper and mahogany. There are many cocktails in which the aged tequila's natural hue is most welcome; however, there are just as many occasions when their color is problematic. So while you'd like to feature their flavor arrays in a drink, the attendant oaky hues can obscure all traces of the other ingredients in the cocktail.
Recently one of the most esteemed families in the industry created a viable alternative. Lunazul Primero Añejo 100% de Agave Tequila is a mixologist's dream come true, a classically structured añejo that's as clear and shimmery as a blanco.
Small batch Lunazul 100% Agave Tequilas are distilled and bottled at Tierra de Agaves (NOM 1513), a state-of-the-art distillery founded in Jalisco near Amatitan by Francisco Beckmann, 7th generation tequila distiller and former co-owner of Jose Cuervo, and his son, Jorge Beckman, who now represents the 8th generation to carry on the family's legacy.
The agaves used to make Lunazul are cultivated on the 4,000-acre Beckman estate, land the family has owned since 1758. After harvesting, the mature agaves are baked in stainless steel autoclaves, shredded and fermented in vats with a proprietary strain of yeast. The fermented wash is double distilled in pot stills and bottled at 40% alcohol by volume (80 proof). The vertical integration of source materials, distillation and bottling better ensures consistency of taste and quality.
Award-winning Lunazul Primero Añejo is aged for a minimum of 18 months in charred, American oak barrels. Here's the twist. After the tequila has reached optimum maturity, its color is gently filtered out. The result is a tequila with pristine clarity, a sexy curvaceous body and a generous bouquet comprised of caramel, cinnamon, vanilla, black cherries and toasted oak notes. Its aromatics alone make this superior añejo well worth the price of admission. The initial entry is remarkably gentle. It raises little heat as it gradually expands bathing the palate with the flavors of zesty citrus, anise, baking spice and herbaceous baked agave. The finish is long and flavorful.
Lunazul Primero is appropriately named. The añejo's elegant character makes it an excellent brand to recommend sipping neat, or to drink on the rocks, sans lime. That said, its most inspired role is being the leading man in tequila-based craft cocktails.
It's worth mentioning that the entire Lunazul range of tequilas is equally exceptional. Bottled directly from the still, Lunazul Blanco 100% de Agave Tequila is a fresh, exuberant spirit. It has crystalline clarity, a light, slightly oily body and a spicy, fruit-laced nose. Its entry warms the mouth and bathes the palate with spicy, citrusy and peppery flavors. The blanco has a long finish laced with the cinnamon, cloves and roasted peppers.
The Lunazul Reposado 100% de Agave Tequila is sophisticated without being pretentious. It is aged in charred American oak barrels for a minimum of 6 months. The tequila has an amber/gold appearance, a velvety textured body and a fruit and black pepper bouquet. The soft, gentle entry fills the mouth with a generous helping of semisweet vanilla, fruit and spice flavors. Fortunately the flavors persist on the palate for an impressively long time.
The Lunazul Añejo 100% de Agave Tequila is barrel-aged between 12 and 18 months during which it develops a striking, deep amber appearance and a wafting bouquet of vanilla, caramel and toasted oak. The aromatics translate perfectly onto the palate with added notes of spice and red fruit. Its finish is long and silky smooth.