Tasting Notes: Partida Tequila

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partida-tequila-bottles

Ever indulge in a little too much tequila? Raise your hand. (I won’t tell.)

You know the time I’m talking about. Those margaritas on the roofdeck of your favorite cantina. Or those shots after midnight at that hole in the wall just past the city limits. Oh, or that frat party near the end of your senior year.

Regardless of the details, seems like everyone has at least one Epic Tequila Story. (Except me, of course. I swear.)

And, of course, that’s not remotely the kind of tequila experience I’m talking about today.

partida tequila cork

In the last ten years or so, tequila has come a long way, graduating from sloppy sorority girl to polished socialite. Forget those neon green margaritas. I’m talking about tequila that you’d sip, well, like scotch.

Much like the explosion of microbrews and artisan whiskies, smaller tequila makers have been sprouting up left and right, giving good ole Jose Cuervo a run for his agave.

His blue agave, to be exact. That’s this stuff (wouldn’t want to run into one of these spiny beasts in a dark alley, eh?):

Blue agave (Agave tequiliana Weber) is actually a member of the lily family, even though it looks like it’d be more at home on the cactus family tree. It’s grown in certain parts of Mexico, and the plants—which can grow up to 15 feet tall—take 8 – 12 years to mature before they’re ripe for harvesting for tequila.

Partida Tequila, the brand we sampled for this article, is actually one of the few tequilas that qualifies as “estate grown.” This means that they own all the land that their agave is grown on, so they’re able to keep a close eye on quality and consistency.

Sounds about right to me. Their tequila was great.

Partida Tequila

Premium tequila vs. mixto

Tequila is closely regulated by the Tequila Regulatory Council (no joke) and tagged with appelation-of-origin status, just like wine and cognac.

To be considered a premium tequila, the spirit must be made with 100% blue agave, with no artificial flavors or colors added. Anything else is just mixto. Literally.

Tequila that has additives, but is at least 51% agave, is considered “mixto,” or mixed. Mixto tequilas showed up in the 1930s, as a way to stretch agave during a shortage.

Different types of tequila

When you’re at the liquor store, keep your eyes out for the five basic types of tequilas. Here’s a quick guide:

Gold—Any tequila labeled “gold” is usually mixto (not premium), which means it’s had caramel color and/or flavors added to it. This is the kind of tequila that usually shows up in mixed drinks.

Silver / White—Premium tequila that hasn’t been aged, so it’s clear in color and pure in flavor, so you can taste the agave.

Reposada—“Reposada” means rested, and that’s just what this tequila has done: It’s aged in barrels (whiskey, cognac, wine, etc.) for two to twelve months. It gets flavor and a light golden color from the barrels.

Anejo—This is tequila that’s been barrel aged for one to three years. The barrels give it deep, woody notes and a deeper, almost amber color.

Extra AnejoA relatively new tequila classification, this tequila has been aged for three years or more. It’s deeply flavored, and dark amber in color.

Tequila in the mail = A happy day at The Mouse House

So, like I said, the good folks at Partida Tequila were kind enough to send me a few small, complimentary bottles of their brew to sample. (Thank you, Partida!).

We consulted the pros

Not being a very educated tequila consumer, I pocketed the bottles and The Angry Chef and I headed over to the headquarters of the cocktail experts at SeeMyDrink.com. The senior staff over there has years of experience tending bar, so we were eager to get their opinion on the Partida.

See My Drink Logo

Sidebar: More on these guys soon. SeeMyDrink.com is an awesome company and one of our newest partners here at The Hungry Mouse. Think cocktails meet Facebook and Flickr. They’re just getting ready to launch their beta, and we couldn’t be more excited. Stay tuned.

Alrighty, to the bar!

Here are our tasting notes, along with a little info on each from Partida. (I’m a sucker for a good bottle. I saved all three of them to use in future kitchen projects.)

Partida Blanco

What we said
Clean taste. Easy on the palate. Nice aftertaste. Doesn’t taste cheap. A little floral.

What Partida says
Distinctive notes of blue agave, citrus, tropical fruit. Suggested retail is $50.

Our verdict
We liked it, and all agreed that, of the three tequilas, this would be the one we would shake up in a cocktail.

Partida Anejo

What we said
Stronger than the Blanco, bordering on harsh. Hints of pepper and peppermint. Fiery on the front of your palate and the tip of your tongue. Smokey and woodsy.

What they said
The smoke and wood we picked up were likely from the one-pass Jack Daniels barrels that Partida uses to age their Anejo. Suggested retail is $67.

Our verdict
Definitely a sipping drink for folks who like strong tequila with complex flavors.

Partida Reposado

What we said
Sweeter than the Blanco and smoother than the Anejo. Really nice, slow heat. Smells a little malty. Hints of vanilla and hazelnut. Long aftertaste. No smoke.

What they said
Their richest and smoothest tequila. A rich finish topped off with scents of vanilla, hazelnut and almond. Suggested retail is $58.

Our verdict
Our favorite. Really great flavor—and really easy to drink. Best of both worlds. Who can complain?

The bottom line?

If you like tequila, definitely try Partida. It’s good stuff, and well worth the cost.

Oh, and if you want to go all out, they also sell bottles of their top-of-the-line Elegante for $350.

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Jessie Cross is a cookbook author and creator of The Hungry Mouse, a monster online food blog w/500+ recipes. When she's not shopping for cheese or baking pies, Jessie works as an advertising copywriter in Boston. She lives in Salem, Massachusetts with her husband and two small, fluffy wolves.

5 COMMENTS

  1. I have the worst taste, so a tasting like this would go way over my head (also, am a cheap drunk, and so a tasting like this would go TO my head), but from the way you write about it, it makes me kind of wish I were able to actually taste those flavors.
  2. I love good sipping tequila and I will definately try this next time I am looking to buy a good bottle. How much does the Reposado cost?
  3. Tequila is one of my favorite liquors, and margaritas are one of our favorite drinks too. Speaking of indulgence, one time many years ago, when we were without any shot glasses we used a ladle and everyone shared "ladles" of tequila shots. Lime and salt were as scarce as the shot glasses too, a few dances and ladles later and....well...I think the rest is all a blur... Ole! CCR =:~)

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