You can spend the rest of your life searching for a better extra añejo than Tears of Llorona NO. 3 Extra Añejo 100% de Agave Azul, but you'll be wasting your time. Trust me, this tequila is utterly sensational, a perfect spirit to share with close friends and family. It was originally created by acclaimed Master Distiller Germán Gonzalez to be his private stock. Of course, it's within the realm of possibility that some day you may discover an extra añejo you like as much as Tears, but better? The odds of that are highly unlikely.
The limited edition Tears of Llorona Extra Añejo is handcrafted at La Tequileña [NOM 1146] in extremely small lotes (batches). The agaves used in production are cultivated on estates in and around Atotonilco in the Highlands of Jalisco. Germán selects the agaves at their peak ripeness, a rarified skill he learned from his father.
After harvesting, the agaves are brought to the distillery where they are roasted in ovens and shredded to extract their sugar-rich juice, called aguamiel. The juice is transferred to open vats where a proprietary strain of yeast is used to slowly precipitate fermentation. The fermented wash—referred to as mosto—is twice distilled in a traditional copper pot still.
"You lose much of the intrinsic flavor of the agave when you distill tequila more than twice. You end up with something that more closely resembles a vodka," says Germán.
The small batches of tequila are aged for nearly 5 years in various types of barrels. When Germán deems the tequila has reached optimum maturity, he then blends a few barrels at a time to produce the desired taste profile.
Tears of Llorona is a blend of extra añejo tequilas half of which were finished in Scotch whisky barrels, a quarter in Sherry wood and a quarter in French Limousin barrels used previously to mature Cognac. The extra añejo is then rendered to proof and bottled at 43% alcohol by volume (86 proof).
"I experimented with different wood finishes and various proofs before I achieved the taste and balance I was looking for," notes Germán.
Tears of Llorona is an exquisite tequila in every possible way. It has a golden/amber hue with red highlights, a velvety textured, medium-weight body and a beckoning bouquet imbued with the aromas of black cherries, vanilla, crème brûlée, honey, chocolate and baked apples. It's a complex, broad shouldered tequila, so the longer it is allowed to breathe, the most delectable aromatics will come to the forefront.
Tears has a smooth entry that quickly expands filling the mouth with a sumptuous array of caramel, toffee, vanilla, nougat, cloves, cinnamon, anise and dried fruit. The finish is long and spicy warm. From start to finish Tears of Llorona Extra Añejo is a gustatory masterpiece.
"I made Tears of Llorona for my friends and family to enjoy together. Sit back, relax and savor the aroma, flavor and the perfection of the day," suggests Germán. "Like a great whiskey or Cognac, this extra añejo is ideally served neat in a brandy snifter after a fine dinner. It's the perfect way to discern the extraordinary flavors in Tears of Llorona."
Few tequilas better illustrate the impact pedigree has on quality and character. Master tequilero Germán Gonzalez grew up working with his father, Guillermo Gonzalez Diaz Lombardo, maker of Chinaco Tequila, the first ultra-premium tequila imported into the United States. During his time at Chinaco, Germán worked closely with his dad in the fields, in the lab and at the distillery. Over time, his father afforded him increasingly more responsibilities, such that he eventually ran the distillery. Germán developed and launched the popular, ultra-premium expressions Chinaco Emperador and Chinaco Negro.
After his father's passing, Germán set off on his own and created t1 Tequila Uno, a range of ultra-premium artisanal tequilas that have become standards of excellence within the industry. That Germán greatly benefited from being mentored by his father is perfectly evident in each expression of t1 Tequila Uno and now his newest tequila, which is different in taste and composition than t1.
The label on the Tears of Llorona bottle includes a reference to "G. Gonzalez No. 3," which signifies that the extra añejo is Germán's third tequila brand.
It's interesting to note the name Tears of Llorona comes from a legendary ghost story that Germán's father used to tell him as a child. As the story goes, a beautiful Aztec princess falls in love with a Spanish Conquistador and they have children. Alas, the Conquistador leaves Mexico and in her madness and sorrow, she goes to the nearby lake and drowns her children and herself. La Llorona—the "weeping woman"—now haunts Mexico's lakes looking for children to steal. So, when you're sitting around a campfire by a lake and hear what appears to be wailing, run and hide your children.
Having a glass of Tears of Llorona Extra Añejo is a sure sign that you've done something right in your life.