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VIDA Tequila Blanco 100% Agave Azul

VIDA Tequila Blanco
100% Agave Azul


By Robert Plotkin

Behind most artisanal brands of tequila there stands a handful of individuals who comprise the heart and soul of the spirit. Their likeness may not appear on the label, their names may not be on the bottle, but rest assured, someone has poured blood, sweat and tears into the brand. Such is the case of John and Lisa Barlow, owners of VIDA Tequila Blanco 100% Agave Azul. That their time and efforts have been well invested is perfectly evident in this crisp and charming spirit.

After 4 years in development, the Barlows launched their tequila in 2007 and they haven't looked back since. VIDA Tequila is made at Tequilera de Arandas [NOM 1460] with mature blue agaves cultivated for up to a decade in the rich soil of the Highlands of Jalisco. After harvesting, the agaves are brought to the distillery where they are placed in ovens and roasted for 48 hours.

"We bake our agaves in brick ovens called hornos," says Lisa Barlow. "The extracted juice is fermented and during the process we introduce oxygen into the fermenting wash, a practice designed to make the yeast work more efficiently. It also has the affect of giving the tequila a creamier, silkier textured body."

Tequilera de Arandas is outfitted with stainless steel alembic stills. The fermented juice—referred to as mosto—is distilled twice with only a small portion of each run actually making its way to a bottle.

Devotees of sipping silver tequilas neat are going to adore VIDA Blanco. Bottled fresh from the still at 40% alcohol (80 proof), it has ideal clarity, a velvety textured, medium-weight body and an enticing bouquet of tropical fruit, black pepper, zesty citrus and roasted peppers. The blanco's aromatic signature is thoroughly satisfying and well worth the price of admission. Its entry on the palate is spicy warm. The tequila quickly expands filling the mouth with the flavors of pepper, cinnamon, dried herbs, anise and clove. Its finish is long, dry and spicy.

The ultra-popular VIDA Tequila Reposado 100% Agave Azul is aged for 6 months in charred, white oak barrels from Kentucky. During its stay in wood, the tequila develops an amber/golden hue, a satiny, curvaceous body and a generous bouquet saturated with the aromas of vanilla, cinnamon, caramel, mocha, citrus and black pepper. It has a broad palate of oak-induced flavors and an elegant, lingering finish.

Although best appreciate neat, VIDA Reposado is a natural when mixed in a cocktail or mixed drink. A sterling example is the Amarillo Fizz, a specialty created by resident mixologist Matt Corbin at the Montage Kapalua Bay Resort in Lahaina, Hawaii.

Barlow finds the maraschino and Yellow Chartreuse meld seamlessly with the taste profile of the tequila. "The other ingredients in the drink do a great job balancing the creamy, spicy and citrusy notes in the tequila."

Snifter-worthy VIDA Tequila Añejo 100% Agave Azul is matured for 2 years in lightly charred, French Limousin oak barrels. It's a sophisticated spirit with an oaky, spicy, herbal character perfect for luxuriating over at the end of a fine dinner.