Patrón: the world’s finest range of premium tequilas
The best Blue Weber agave meets traditional processes and a love of luxury
Redefining preconceptions of what tequila is and what it can be
Tequila brings back bad memories. I don’t need to go into too much detail; we’ve all been there, some of us far too often. It’s why the agave-based spirit has a worse reputation than pretty much any other.
There’s not a lot of brands out there trying to change that reputation either. Most are happy to let college frat boys and partygoing hedonists to race to the hungover finish line of a night without much thought for quality. In fact, there’s only one brand actively trying to salvage the name of tequila: Patrón.
With the rise of artisan spirits that might not be completely alone in the ultra-premium sector, but Patrón was certainly the first to elevate tequila to that level and, over the past 30-odd years they’ve barely changed. Not only do they still use nothing but the best Blue Weber Agave, but they even have the same master distiller!
It shows that, at the very least, they’re doing something right. To see just how right that is, we’re going to skip over the standard Patrón range. That’s not to say the lower range isn’t worth tasting; the Reposado makes a perfect margarita and even the silver is good in long drinks. But they’re not quite prestige. That’s nothing you can say about Grand Patrón, the triumvirate of tequilas at the top of Patrón’s tree.
At first glance Patrón Platinum doesn’t look much different than silver, a clear, unaged tequila. The difference is that Platinum is triple distilled for a superbly smooth, light flavour and a peppery finish that just keeps going. It’s also been rested in oak, not long enough to gain any colour but still ample time to pick up a little flavour. You might not be able to see the difference between silver and platinum; you can though taste it.
Next up we have Piedra. The extra anejo – or extra aged – tequila is obviously a world apart from anything that relies on a novelty plastic sombrero. The deep mahogany colour is more akin to a fine cognac than it is a silver tequila. The same goes for the bottle, which takes inspiration from the Patrón distillery, right down to the stonework of the ovens in which the agave is baked and softened.
Most remarkably, it barely tastes like a tequila. That might sound like I’m disparaging the natural flavour of the spirit, but that’s not the case. It’s just that what we normally get from tequila is generally unaged and harsh. The time in the barrel however has given Piedra a sweet, complex flavour, smooth and beautifully oaky, things we don’t normally associate with tequila. It’s also stunning.
Finally, we have Burdeos, the Spanish word for Bordeaux. If it looks a little like a bottle of Louis XIII, the similarities are even closer than you think. Granted the £450 price tag is less than Louis, but as far as tequila goes it’s an extraordinary amount. Then there’s the fact that this tequila has been aged in French limousine oak – the same used for fine champagne cognac.
Afterwards it’s been distilled again and aged further in vintage Bordeaux barrels, from which it gets its name. The previous denizens of the barrels can be found in the aroma of rich red wine the tequila gets, while the oak wood, vanilla and raisins we associate with cognac have found their way into the palate.
It’s beautifully smooth, complex and almost unrecognisable as what we normally think of as tequila. That’s not a bad thing by any means; rather than showing how crass tequila normally is, we like to think of it another way. It shows just how good tequila can be.
Words by: Sam Kessler