AquaRiva Tasting Notes


Everyone loves a celebrity endorsement and drink brands are no exception. Ciroc vodka have P Diddy, Atlantico rum have Enrique Inglesias and Cointreau have Dita Von Teese, but on the odd occasion, brands are created or have significant input into a liquid. Crystal Head is a collaboration involving Dan Aykroyd, Manchester band Elbow created their own ale and now Cleo Rocos has got in on the act with her AquaRiva tequila.

I’ve been lucky enough to meet Cleo when she ventured my way last month, and I experienced first hand her tequila range and why her collaboration with business parter Stewart Freeman of The Tequila Society is making waves in the tequila business.

But first, a little about how AquaRiva came about.

Wanting to make tequilas that were interesting and complex, and would work well in cocktails, Cleo sought out master blender Carlos Perez to help create a hand crafted, premium tequila. Spending 10 months to perfect the Blanco, Reposado and Premium Reposado, they decided on using hand selected 8 yr blue agaves as well as volcanic spring water from the highlands of Jalisco, Mexico.

The label itself gives credit to a 17 yr art student named Jamie who Cleo met on the London Underground. After seeing his work, Cleo commissioned Jamie to create a distinctive label for her tequila, and so came an oil painting of Jamie and his girlfriend embracing on the wing of a plane.

Back to the tequila and the AquaRiva range. Cleo describes the Blanco and Reposado (which is aged for 3-6 months) as ‘bar’ tequilas i.e tequilas that are great for Cleo’s perfect Margarita recipe (see below). The Premium Reposado however is created by being aged for a minimum of 6 months and is there sipping tequila, although there is nothing against having the full range neat.

So how do the range fare? Well below, I give to you my tasting notes on each –

Cleo Rocos and Stuart Freeman
Cleo Rocos and Stuart Freeman

AquaRiva Blanco – 38%

Soft on the nose with aromas of white chocolate and butter blending well. Nip of spice on the palate with peppery flavours creating a lingering after-taste.

AquaRiva Reposado – 38%

Very soft with a corn aroma on the nose with a slight scent of smoke following. Ripe fruit and soft caramel flavours on the palate with a slight hint of spice at the end. Short.

AquaRiva Premium Reposado – 40%

Notes of cream and butter on the nose producing a soft mix. Spice start on the palate with flavours of pepper, citrus and nuts developing a lingering finish. A rather dry ending.

A great range and one to really try all three on their own. But if this takes your fancy –

Cleo’s Perfect Margarita

Glass – 


Ingredients – 

35 ml AquaRiva Blanco or Reposado
25 ml Fresh lime juice
15 ml AquaRiva Organic Agave syrup

Cleo's Perfect Margarita
Cleo’s Perfect Margarita

Method – 

Lots of ice, shake well and pour into a rocks glass. Rim the glass with an orange zest and salt if you like.

Another reason to give AquaRiva a try is the fact that it is now an award-winning brand, awarded a MASTERS Medal in a blind judging with The Spirits Business in February 2012.

They also produce a AquaRiva Organic Agave syrup which is gluten-free and a healthy alternative to sugar. Even this has won itself an award as it was voted best Blue Weber Agave Syrup / Nectar by The Spirits Business.

Don’t just take my word for it though, purchase yourself a bottle, have a sip and then create yourself a Margarita that Cleo herself has said you won’t get a hangover from. What more can I say!

You can purchase the range here and the organic agave syrup here.

Check out the rest of the photos, taken at The Liquorists #22 Redbank, via my Facebook page.

© David Marsland and Drinks Enthusiast 2013. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog/sites author and owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to David Marsland and Drinks Enthusiast with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

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