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Number JUAN Extra Anejo Tequila 100% de Agave

Number JUAN Extra
Añejo Tequila 100%
de Agave


By Robert Plotkin

For enthusiasts and aficionados, the Spirits of Mexico Competition is akin to the Oscars and Olympics rolled into one. Last year more than 130 of the finest 100% de agave tequilas, mezcals, sotols and bacanoras went head-to-head in blind tastings to see which brands would walk away with gold. The panel of 15 judges—all renowned spirit professionals—evaluated each of the entrants on their aromatics, body, visual appearance, mouth feel, flavor and finish in a series of blind tastings over the course of 2 days.

Because of the competition's reputation for exceedingly high standards, being awarded one of the event's coveted medals has given scores of deserving brands a much-needed marketing boost. The San Diego event is also special in as much as it affords small artisanal brands an opportunity to earn critical acclaim and attract the notice of the industry at large. Such was the case in 2013 when then unknown Number JUAN Tequila 100% de Agave hauled in a gold and two silver medals amidst a world-class field of tequilas. It was the most impressive performance of the event.

Number JUAN Tequilas are handcrafted by master distiller Juan Alejandro at Rivesca [NOM 1531] in Amatitan, Jalisco. The agaves used in production are cultivated for a minimum of 7 years in the red fertile soil of the Lowlands. After harvesting, the agaves are brought to the distillery where they are slowly baked to extract the plants' sugar-rich juice. The juice is transferred to a tank where it is patiently allowed to ferment, after which it is double-distilled in a copper pot still. All of the tequilas in the portfolio are rendered to 40% alcohol (80 proof) with pure spring water.

Those who enjoy sipping superb silver tequilas will be immediately enamored with Number JUAN Blanco Tequila 100% de Agave. Bottled fresh from the still, this elegant spirit is crystal clear with a silky lightweight body and a generous fruit and floral bouquet. It has a dry, gentle entry onto the palate that quickly expands filling the mouth with peppery, vegetal and herbal flavors. The finish is long, smooth and spicy warm.

The Number JUAN Reposado Tequila 100% de Agave is equally captivating. It is aged for no less than 9 months in charred, American white oak and French Limousin oak barrels. The tequila has an amber/golden hue, a medium-weight body and a bouquet laced with the aromas of honey, vanilla, toffee, caramel and toasted oak. The longer this tequila is allowed to breathe, the more luscious aromatics come to the forefront. It has a full, broad palate saturated with the flavors of cinnamon, raisins, honey, herbs and dark chocolate. It is a pleasure from start to finish.

The elder statesman of the range is the gold medal winning Number JUAN Extra Añejo Tequila 100% de Agave, which is aged for upwards of 5 years in ex-bourbon barrels. The dark amber/gold tequila has a lushly textured body and an enticing bouquet saturated with the aromas of nutmeg, cinnamon, vanilla, caramel, baked agave and cacao with light smoky notes. It raises little to no heat as it glides past the palate with a tempting array of oak-induced flavors. The finish is long and luxurious.

The Number JUAN Extra Añejo is a sophisticated spirit perfectly suited for sipping neat after a magnificent dinner. While the Blanco and Reposado are ideal for use in craft cocktails, do yourself a favor and sample them neat first before mixing them into a drink. You may just decide the other drink ingredients aren't needed.