Get 1 Year of Cigar Aficionado for Just $14.95 + A Free Gift!

Drinks Pairings

Herradura’s Tequila With A French Accent

Dec 6, 2013 | By Jack Bettridge
Herradura’s Tequila With A French Accent

The other shoe has fallen in Herradura Tequila’s Colección de la Casa with the introduction of a Cognac-finished spirit to match its Port-finish that debuted in April. Both releases are part of the innovative Tequila maker’s effort to raise the image of the agave-based liquor.

“Tequila is not the bad boy anymore,” says brand manager Valdemar Cantu about tequila’s reputation for being pounded down in shots as opposed to savored. “Herradura is the good boy,” he adds, referring to the company’s claims to have been the first to make reposado and extra anejo Tequila.

Both editions started life as reposado Tequilas (which are at least two months, but less than a year old). The Port edition was rested in former American whiskey barrels for 11 months and then had a finish in former Port casks for two months. The latest example also spent 11 months in American wood and then enjoyed three months in former Cognac casks. The Cognac casks were sourced from that appellation’s premier region, Grande Champagne.

The global brand ambassador Ruben Aceves explains that the Cognac version took longer to finish because the higher alcohol content of brandy meant that the wood of brandy casks retain less flavor content than ones used for Port, which is a fortified wine. The Cognac-finished Tequila also didn’t receive as intense a color contribution from the cask.

The process of finishing the liquid involved constant monitoring by the 30-member Herradura tasting panel until they felt the Tequila was right. They even let one cask go a month longer to see if it would improve the process. Apparently it didn’t.

The choice of Grand Champagne casks matched the herbaceous and spicy character of the lowlands Tequila, Aceves adds.

The company has great plans for further innovations, according to Cantu, with new editions planned yearly in time for the holiday season. He reveals that the Port was planned as a holiday release, but unforeseen difficulties slowed its debut.

Future releases will also be based on exploration of the maturation process, Cantu says, but not necessarily limited to reposado Tequilas. There is a limit, however. “We are not trying to play with flavored Tequila.”

“We’re very innovative, but we don’t go crazy.”

Herradura Coleccion de la Casa Reserva 2013 Cognac Cask Finish (80 proof, or 40 percent alcohol by volume; 14 months total maturation; $89.99 a 750-milliliter bottle)

APPEARANCE: Light brass color with tiny rivulet legs that gather and then sheet.

NOSE: Inviting candy aroma with subtle spices and a bit of citrus.

PALATE: The dominant taste is Tequila, with all the agave spiciness that implies. The influence comes as a sort of negotiator between the spice, a caramel note and some smoke, making the spirit elegant and nuanced.

FINISH: The brandy lets itself be known on the finish with a slight nuttiness and some fruit flavors, and ,again, its elegance.

Herradura Coleccion de la Casa Reserva 2012 Port Cask Finish (80 proof, or 40 percent alcohol by volume; 13 months total maturation; $89.99 a 750-milliliter bottle)

APPEARANCE: Deeper and redder than the Cognac edition, but still a bright colored spirit. The legs are fatter and faster.

NOSE: Layers of fruit—wine notes, cherry and plum—appear on the aroma, which is woodier and not as spicy as the Cognac-finished Tequila

PALATE: The taste is also distinctly that of Tequila with agave spices, but with more wine influence. Bolder and less nuanced. Loads of fruit and some cocoa. As with the nose: cherry and plum. But also some blackberry is evident.

FINISH: Not the nuanced gentleman that the Cognac Tequila is, but the finish hangs on longer and is a bit chewy.

CIGAR PAIRING: Domaine Avo <40> (6 inches by 52 ring gauge, $12.50, 89 points, December 2013 Cigar Aficionado) A very pointy torpedo wrapped in a silky cover leaf. It’s bright and spicy with a constant woody undertone and earthy finish. Paired with the Cognac-finished Tequila, it picks up instantly on its spice, meeting the spirit note for note and giving the Tequila extra body. The Herradura returns the favor by underlining the wood and earth on the cigar. The Port-finished Tequila has more effect on the Avo, making it blossom with fruit that previously hid out on the cigar. The Tequila sparkles a bit more as it reacts to the flirtation of the cigar by becoming rounder and more hearty.

Tequila

More in Drinks Pairings

See all
Pairing Stone Sublimely Self-Righteous Black IPA with Cigars

Pairing Stone Sublimely Self-Righteous Black IPA with Cigars

A cult-classic beer brought back from the dead with two excellent cigars.

Feb 25, 2021
The Pairings: Rum Meets Cigars

The Pairings: Rum Meets Cigars

To demonstrate the many options for marrying rum and smoke, we picked two cigars with quite different …

Aug 14, 2020
Four Irish Whiskies to Pair With Your Next Cigar

Four Irish Whiskies to Pair With Your Next Cigar

The world of Irish whiskey has enjoyed a bit of a resurgence in recent years. We paired four standout …

Mar 17, 2020
Bonding with Bourbon

Bonding with Bourbon

We pair 16 outstanding Bourbons with cigars to demonstrate the classic American whiskey's affinity …

Mar 10, 2020
Pairing Laphroaig 16 With Cuban Cigars

Pairing Laphroaig 16 With Cuban Cigars

A Hoyo Epicure No. 2 and a Cohiba Siglo V go head-to-head with Laphroaig's new expression.

Dec 6, 2019
Cigar Pairing: Ommegang’s For The Throne Is Also For Your Cigar

Cigar Pairing: Ommegang’s For The Throne Is Also For Your Cigar

Just in time for Sunday’s season eight premiere, Ommegang and HBO have launched For The Throne, their …

Apr 12, 2019