Suave releases rare 5-year-old XA and blanco blends
Of the five official tequila grades, the term “Joven or Oro” (as labeled in tequila regulations) is probably the most maligned. Blamed for many wild nights and the bad hangovers of youth, these tequilas have always been cheaper products containing additives, such as extra sugar and caramel coloring.
But “young” and “golden” tequilas don’t necessarily mean a bad tequila experience. The category is defined as blanco, or unaged tequila, mixed with an aged tequila, such as reposado or añejo. The rules of this category certainly allow the use of additives, as in all other expressions, but they are in no way obligatory.
A hard and fast rule, however, is that no matter how much aged tequila you add to the blanco, it remains a “young” and cannot be labeled as another aged category. So even if you mix 90% additional tequila añejo with 10% blanco, it’s still called a “young.”
There are currently a number of ‘joven’ and ‘gold’ labeled products on the market, mainly produced by large commercial brands such as Jose Cuervo and Sauza. But there is also a small and growing number of products from small producers who want to revive the youth category, without using additives.
And given that aged tequilas are currently in short supply, thanks to the recent tequila boom, young people are coming up with a creative way to give consumers the cask flavors they crave, without having to put 100% aged tequila in the bottle.
At the end of 2019, for example, General Gorostieta was introduced to the market as a blend of blanco and reposado tequilas, carefully blended by Master Tequilera Ana Maria Romero Mena.
Sweet Tequila also launched a young in 2019, in a blend of his blanco with his four aged expressions.
Suave launched these two new youngsters, whom we helped select. Each expression contains Suave blanco tequila mixed with a special single barrel of extra añejo tequila.
About the new Suave Joven single barrels
The young collaboration between Suave and tequila matchmaker* happened by accident and luck. In 2020, during a visit to the distillery where Suave is made, Master Distiller Jaime Villalobos Sauza suggested we try a few samples of their additional almost 5 year old (56 month) añejo casks.
We are fans of blanco and rarely drink extra-aged products. As we went through the barrel samples, although good, nothing caught our attention until the last two barrels.
While we were talking about their flavor, Jaime suggested that maybe they should be “Tequila Matchmaker Select» barrels.
Interestingly, we both chose a different barrel as our favorite. We thought offering them in specially curated casks was a fun idea because they had such rich and unique flavor profiles (combinations of dried fruit, chocolate, citrus, and baking spices).
What’s funny about furfural
The plan began to move forward with the support of the owners and brothers of Suave, Caesar And Edgar Vitari, but when the barrel samples were sent to the lab for chemical analysis, we found out why the aromas were so intense: the furfural levels were much higher than normal. As the tequila water evaporated from the barrel, the remaining liquid was concentrated with the components of the barrel, including the furfural.
The furfural in tequila is the result of combustion and is present in blancos in small amounts when the agaves are cooked. The longer they are cooked, the higher the level of furfural. By the way, furfural has a delicious smell, similar to roasted almonds, and it is found in many common foods, such as coffee and bread.
And besides the cooking process, more furfural is added to tequila as a result of aging in roasted barrels. The heavier the toast and the longer it ages, the higher the levels will be.
Sounds awesome, right? Well, there is a catch. The legal limit for furfural is 4 mg per 100 ml of anhydrous alcohol in tequila. Grover’s favorite barrel was recorded at 8.42 mg, and Scarlet’s was 6:15 a.m. mg. At this level of concentration, there is a risk of headaches.
Thus, our selections could not be sold as additional single-barrel anejos with their furfural levels above the legal limit. However, Jaime realized that this was actually a great opportunity to make a tequila for young people: taking the super flavorful and deep flavors of the extra añejos and blending them with Suave blanco to reduce overall furfural levels, but also to give them a bit of agave shine. of the unaged expression. This is how the two single casks Suave Joven “Tequila Matchmaker Select” were born.
Jaime then sent us samples of different alcohol levels to choose from. Grover enjoyed his selection to a slightly higher degree (45% abv), and Scarlet felt his barrel was most expressive at 42% abv.
Here is the special barrel breakdown:
45G (Grover Barrel): 37% extra añejo and 62% blanco, 45% abv. 278 bottles produced.
Tasting Notes: Dried fruits, raisins, butter, dark chocolate and cloves with a slightly dry taste and slight minerality.
42S (Scarlet Barrel): 54% extra añejo and 46% blanco, 42% abv. 247 bottles produced.
Tasting Notes: Notes of orange peel, butterscotch, white chocolate and cinnamon with a long finish that adds black pepper spice at the very end.
You can buy them directly from the Suave Tequila websiteand the retail price is $159.
With these offers, we hope you can experience a new kind of youngster and appreciate what the mix can do. There aren’t many, so grab one if you can and enjoy!
*This collaboration was based on genuine enthusiasm for the products and the process of introducing something new. Tequila Matchmaker does not receive any money from the sale of these bottles. Our goal is to support one of our partner brands without additives. Hi!