Ice Ball Review - Gran Patrón Burdeos Añejo Tequila

Tequila is one of those things that people love or hate, the latter sentiment usually stems from some reaction to over-indulgent college experiences they would love to forget. Bad tequila has also made people very wary of this complex and flavorful spirit.

People sometimes complain of the smoky agave characteristics and sharp finish.  For some, tequila is enjoyed as an ingredient in the famous “Margarita”, while other times, people think of “shots” of tequila, followed by grimacing and chasing it with lime or a beer. 

The fact is that tequila has as much (if no more) character than many whiskeys or bourbons. The complexity of flavor, much like other dark spirits can be tuned with time, the type of barrels used, and even temperature.


Some people wonder why "good" tequila is so expensive (rivaling only aged whiskey in terms of cost), and why inexpensive tequila is so "bad". The simplest explanation is that it takes 14 years for the agave plant to mature to its harvestable age. That's right, 14 years before the tequila is even made, THEN add aging for reposado or añejo tequila (blanco or "silver" tequila is not aged like the other varieties).

The other important distinction for tequilas is that the packaging or bottle must indicate that it is made from 100% agave if it is pure tequila. If there is no "100%" indication (even if is reads "made with blue agave" or "made with agave"), then it is technically a liqueur that could have flavors added and even sugar. It only has to have 60% agave to use the word "tequila" but only 100% agave tequila can use the "100%" distinction. So check carefully when buying tequila.  

A good example, Jose Cuervo Especial is not a true tequila because it is not made with 100% agave. However, Cuervo 1800 is 100% Agave. Just about all premium tequilas are made from 100% agave, but it doesn't hurt to verify.


Good news and bad news.

Regardless of whether you love or hate tequila, Gran Patrón Burdeos Añejo is one tequila that will make tequila lovers swoon and will make critics take another look at this excellent spirit from "south of the border." Selected from only the finest piñas of the blue agave plant, Patron’s Burdeos is a luxury añejo and is aged for a minimum of 12 months in new American and French oak barrels.  After a second distillation, it is barreled and racked again, but this time in specially-selected vintage Bordeaux wine barrels from France. Hence the name "Burdeos", which means Bordeaux in Spanish

The good:

The color is dark amber and the taste is so velvety smooth and sweet that if it didn’t say “Patron” on the bottle, you would likely never know it was even tequila. It is the definition of a true “sipping tequila,” as the flavors slowly develop with the ice ball, transitioning from pronounced oak, almost whiskey-like notes, and then into raisin and vanilla with only a faint trace of smoke and earth. It was pretty surprising that the typical astringent "pepper and agave" that usually comes from blue agave is almost completely absent; making this one of the smoothest tequilas we have ever had the pleasure of enjoying. The other benefit of the ice ball is that, again, just like whisky, aged tequila benefits from a small amount of water to open the bouquet, and the slight chill cuts some of the "heat" from the spirit.

The elegance of the palate is carried on to the packaging – with each lead-free crystal bottle coming in what must be the most elaborate box ever seen; a box handcrafted from a single piece of black walnut, which doubles as a display case for the bar, complete with a custom corkscrew and crystal stopper.

The bad:

The only thing we could find to complain about with this extra rare tequila (and it's more "disappointed" than "complaint") is that you will have to part with approximately $500 to $600 to own a bottle. This is indeed an example of "you get what you pay for."

Aroma: Rich Bordeaux, vanilla, and dried yellow fruit
Taste: Rich, fruity with wood notes and hints of dried apricots
Finish: Exceptionally smooth, silky and subtle, with a finish on the palate

Verdict: Priced at ~$500 bottle, it is ultimately not something everyone will have an opportunity to own, which is a shame because it is a wonderful example of how good tequila can be.  If you have the means and opportunity to purchase a bottle, buy it now – if not, find a bar where you can enjoy a taste. Sip and relax.

Remember to always enjoy responsibly.