When it comes to tequila, blancos are by far my favorite. And not without reason: they are perfectly drinkable, whether in cocktails, on ice or neat. They make excellent pairings with a wide variety of dishes and cuisines. Additionally, a significant number of high-quality expressions are readily available at reasonable (if not downright modest) prices. So it’s a win-win all around.
But every once in a while an exciting new añejo comes along that excites me enough to ditch my beloved blancos, albeit temporarily. Case in point: the Mijenta Añejo Gran Reserva, a recently released 18-month small-batch tequila that has spent time in four different barrels: American oak, French oak, acacia and cherry wood, all of which give an explosion of tropical notes, complex flavors and subtle spice without overpowering the distinct agave notes of the tequila.
“We have developed a unique approach to creating Mijenta Añejo Gran Reserva that makes it different from any other aged tequila,” tequilera maestra Ana Maria Romero Mena said in a statement. “The process begins by allowing the tequila to mature in American white oak barrels before being transferred to French oak barrels, which begin to develop its flavor profile and texture.”
“Additional aging in acacia barrels enhances the body while adding a light herbal and citrus note before the final two months are completed in cherry oak barrels – as opposed to more traditional sherry casks. – which enhances the fruity notes,” she continued. “It’s important to note that Mijenta tequila never includes any additional sweeteners or flavorings – its taste profile comes entirely from agave, traditional distillation methods, and time spent ripening to perfection.”
And Romero Mena is perfect. His añejo is a beauty. I like that the four barrels impart just enough flavor without going overboard. There’s nothing in there that screams oak. The way it was developed produced an expression that was both bold and soft. On the nose, a subtle floral note gives way to deeply roasted agave until caramelization, with light hints of vanilla and grilled peaches. Meanwhile, on the palate, there’s a nice touch of white pepper that isn’t too pronounced, giving the kind of añejo balance that’s just hard to achieve.
Beyond that, the sweetness and non-aggressive nature of the expression makes it perfect for pairing: I’ve had it clean with grilled lobster and tried it with an extra funky blue cheese – and c ‘was great. But Mijenta añejo really shines with very sweet desserts like birthday cake ice cream and blueberry jamboree (as evidenced by my now empty freezer).
There is, however, one important thing to note. The first drop is limited to 2,160 bottles, so if you’re looking to try a new añejo this Cinco de Mayo, you need to move fast.