1 Year of Cigar Aficionado for $10 PLUS a Free Gift!

Top-Drawer Tequila

The nose has the unmistakable Tequila tang, but with so much more. And once it arrives in the mouth this tasty dram has none of the earmarks of the lick-the-salt-bite-the-lime Tequilas you might remember from an errant foray into the spirit on spring break. Caramel, truffles, orange peel, black pepper and earthy bread dough dance on the palate. This is the first issue of Casa Noble's Colección del Fundador. Called Alta Belleza, it is an organic spirit, triple-distilled, aged in French oak for five years and given a six-month finish in Mondavi Cabernet Sauvignon casks. It also has an unfamiliar price: $1,200.

Since the advent of the extra añejo category (aged more than three years), Mexico's national quaff has taken on a new character of connoisseurship more in line with the swizzle-sniff-and-sip set than for boisterous session drinking. And, of course, the new high-end suggests many opportunities for pleasant cigar pairings. But if you gravitated to Tequila for low price points, you'll be disappointed. The $100 barrier has long since been blown by. Increasingly available, Patrón Piedra settles in at $400 and whispers of butterscotch, hot peppers, tobacco and cinnamon. Tears of Llorona ($350) combines Scotch, Sherry and brandy maturation to tease out notes of cocoa, caramel, vanilla, cherry and grape. Three-fifty is a popular tab in the extra añejo crowd, shared by: Don Julio Real, which melds lemon with chocolate and caramel; the creamy, flowers of Casa Herradura (the first in the category); the crisp but chocolaty Don Julio and the woody, spicy and sweet Partida Elegante.

Not to worry though. There's room to move south on the price scale and still find the exquisite. Avion's Reserva 44 ($150) is another caramel explosion that also manages the spices of Mexico, as well as evergreen, mint and cocoa. The high-end expression from the most familiar name in Tequila—Jose Cuervo—is Reserva de la Familia ($150, you can pay four figures for designer bottles, however). It brings complexity to the brand, with pimento, flowers, brandy and vanilla. You can also join the extra añejo movement for a—dare we say?—measly $100 with Espolòn. It's a breathy, floral, fruity drink, with honey, tobacco and a touch of cotton candy.

But high-tariff Tequila doesn't always come in shades of brown. Casa Dragones Joven ($275) melds new-make spirit (joven means young) with extra añejo and is filtered for texture and to remove color. The result is silky smooth and full of vanilla and rosy flowers. Let's put it this way: you won't be reaching for the salt shaker.

Drink Tequila

More in The Good Life

See all
Cigar Aficionado’s 17 Gifts for the 2020 Holiday Season

Cigar Aficionado’s 17 Gifts for the 2020 Holiday Season

The 2020 holiday season is finally underway. While it’s as far as one can get from a normal year, …

Nov 25, 2020
License to Thrill

License to Thrill

Agent 007 is filmdom’s longest-running franchise. And like the character himself, the series manages …

Nov 20, 2020
Lebron James, L.A. Lakers Celebrate NBA Championship with Cigars

Lebron James, L.A. Lakers Celebrate NBA Championship with Cigars

Lebron James and the Los Angeles lakers sparked up a variety of four different cigars during their …

Oct 12, 2020
Tampa Bay Lightning Celebrate Stanley Cup Win with Cigars

Tampa Bay Lightning Celebrate Stanley Cup Win with Cigars

After more than 60 days sequestered from family and friends battling for the Stanley Cup, the Tampa …

Sep 29, 2020
CBS Sunday Morning Thanks Cigar Aficionado

CBS Sunday Morning Thanks Cigar Aficionado

The September 6 broadcast of the hit television show “CBS Sunday Morning” closed with host Jane …

Sep 8, 2020
Complete Michael Jordan Video Interview to Debut July 30 at 7 p.m.

Complete Michael Jordan Video Interview to Debut July 30 at 7 p.m.

On Thursday, July 30 at 7 p.m., we will be posting on CigarAficionado.com a special, uncut version of …

Jul 23, 2020