G’day guys. I hope you find the same peace in reading this that I find in writing it. I like to think that when you read these posts, you learn at least something. Well here is my little morsel of advice for you this week – Switching banks is a bitch of a process. Not breaking news for those older than me I’m sure, but it’s something. But I still managed to achieve what I wanted to, write my weekly blog, do my day job, take photos for this and a bigger future article, and finally go see Spiderman: Far From Home. A busy couple of days. Anyway, here’s a bottle I’ve been wanting to do for a while. Just because it has a cool skull on it, just that. Another tequila this week.
A succulent is a really easy plant to maintain. You just forget about them. Sure, you might need to weed them, and with indoor plants you always worry if they’re getting enough light. But apart from that, they fend for themselves perfectly. They’ve evolved to absorb all the moisture they can lay claim to, and stretch it out for years and years. This is exactly why they are so successful in the arid corners of the globe. The drier regions of South America, the southern states of America, Mexico, and here in Australia. We all know the iconic American cactus, the Saguaros, that inhabit the American Sonoran Desert where all those wild western movies took place, that can grow over twelve meters tall. And you can’t go into a Bunnings Warehouse without encountering a display of Aloe plants or Mother in Law’s Tongues (for one of my jobs once, I had to deweed a seedling pot of aloe and I didn’t have gloves to protect my hands. Not fun). I once worked at a nursery where the owner told us all about his saltbush he had growing and how difficult they were to sustain here in the sub-tropics. Because the rainfall in the Wide Bay “killed it with kindness” because of how little rain it sustained itself on. But of all the succulents, on all the David Attenborough shows, the most useful and beloved of all the succulents will always be the Agave. A nice houseplant it may well be, but let’s not pretend we’d ever look at one and our mind wouldn’t immediately jump to tequila. It’s literally in it’s name, genus Agave Tequilana. A plant that the ancient Mexicans excavated from the earth with their bare hands to cut it’s heart open to get at the sap within. But there is a difference between your front step houseplant, and the sandy red plots of succulents planted in rows for the commercial process. Sure there is a big age gap between ones easily accommodated in small plastic pots and those blossoming plants growing taller than a grown man, but not just age. The distilled sap of the plant that arrived in my bottle today can trace it’s origin back to a specific strain of the Blue Agave plant species. Like purpose bred species of cattle bred to mature early for slaughter or to bear calves, a selectively bred subspecies in the tequila trade known as “Weber Azul” is used. The naturally occurring Blue Agave species can take as long as fourteen years to mature at times. The tequila industry strain of Blue Agave is early maturing, larger, and in comparison to the natural greyish-green, is the namesake blueish-gray. When matured, the leaves of the plant will sprout long and spiky leaves spreading upwards of two meters in length. And will grow a stalk upwards from the plant’s centre, commercially these are removed to use to breed more plants. When not removed, the blooming flowers of the Blue Agave, as any tequila lover will tell you, is pollinated by the Greater Long-Nosed Bat. The same species of migrating bat species that annually travel north from central Mexico to the southern U.S. and consume the nectar of the Blue Agave among other species of agave and cacti.
The Tequila Blu bottle is appointed with the eye catching and festive design of a Calavera, the decorative representation of a human skull associated with Días de los Muertos (the Day of The Dead). The Mexican holiday to celebrate the lives of their relatives and loved ones, to decorate their gravesites with candles, treasured possessions of theirs, gifts of favorite food and drinks. Tequila, herein occupying a place of familiarity. A public holiday in Mexico that has been found the basis for great retail success in America and other parts of the world. Anything their manufacturing division can use a Calavera for. Slap a skull on a drink bottle or an iPhone cover. Shirts, bags, furniture store prints, tattoos. It’s a cheap retail trick, but like all clichés, it’s a cliché because it works. I bought it at a moment’s notice, didn’t I? But what makes me wonder if this is the neat-sipping reposado I want it to be, and not another harsh to taste cocktail spirit like Jose Cuervo Especial is the blurb – “Simply, tequila and mixed drinks using tequila, just wouldn’t be the drink we know and love today without centuries of distilling mastery”. Although that is a niggling thought at the back of my mind, it is not a snapping concern. Buffalo Trace is used in cocktails all over YouTube, and it is one of the best Kentucky bourbons I’ve ever had. Monkey Shoulder, too is useful in both contexts though I favor the one.
The stopper, a real cork, reassuringly. The blue glass exterior of the bottle inhibiting viewing of the liquor inside. Once poured, the tequila is a pale straw color. The nose, light, fruity and vibrant. The fear of this liquor existing as solely a cocktail spirit is dismissed immediately as it is tasted. Light in body, with ease of taste and an almost complete absence of spice. Inherently easygoing and calm in character.
In summary: A great easygoing, neat-sipping tequila. Approachable and wallet-friendly. Fitting perfectly into the groups of liquors like Buffalo Trace, Monkey Shoulder and Bundaberg Rum Small Batch – Spirits that are neither clichéd nor underappreciated and acquirable. One that should be enjoyed by others if not already done so.