One category that I’ve been enjoying a lot of lately is tequila. I’ve been surrounded by many brands lately and I’ve never once complained. Excellia is one of them.
Excellia is the result of a partnership between two men – Jean-Sebastien Robicquet, founder of EWG Spirits & Wine, ground-breaking brand creator and producer (G’Vine gin and Esprit de June liqueur) and Carlos Camarena, precursor and award-winning tequila master-distiller (Tapatio and El Tesoro tequilas) and the origin of the “Extra-Anejo” category. To create something different, the two gentleman brought together three different regions –
Los Altos (Jalisco, Mexico) – A hot and dry climate followed by a heavy rainy season and the rich red clay soil rich in minerals of the highlands generate sweet, soft and fruity agaves.
Sauternes region (France) – A micro-climate with foggy mornings, sunny afternoons by the river and botrytis create the Grand Cru of dessert wine with delicate notes of dried fruits and flowers and a perfect balance between acidity and sugar.
Cognac region (France) – A lot of sun with the right amount of rain, mild temperatures all year-long thanks to the ocean’s influence and the region’s chalky soil contribute to the finest brandy and its so specific rancio character.
Jalisco is also the region where Excellia is handcrafted and made using 100% agave Tequilana Weber Blue that is cut by hand after 8-10 years of maturity. Once the agave is considered ripe and ready (showcased by red marks on the piña), the long leaves are cut and separate the piñas (the core of the agave) from the plant. The piñas are then transported to the distillery La Alteña and cut into quarters. It’s steam cooked slowly for 36 hours using traditional bricks and stone ovens, being shredded and crushed straight after and then fermented in wooden vats for 7 to 10 days before being distilled twice within copper stills. Once distilled, the tequila is aged within Grand Cru Sauternes wine casks and in Cognac barrels. The Sauternes wine casks have been used to produce only one vintage, meaning two or three years. It is then aged within Cognac casks that have been used for more than 20 years to age renowned cognacs. Once aged, the master blender marries the two different aged tequilas and creates the different recipes for the Blanco, Reposado and Añejo,
The three strong portfolio is the result, with each below named alongside my tasting notes –
Excellia Blanco – 40%
Rested a few weeks in Grand Cru Sauternes wine casks and Cognac barrels. Light notes of oak and cloves, with a developing spice on the palate. Slight vanilla and ripe fruit blend well and create a lingering finish with a slight warmth.
Exellia Reposado – 40%
Nine months ageing in Grand Cru Sauternes wine casks and Cognac barrels. Plenty of dried herbs on the nose with a slight honey aroma. Rich, ripe fruits on the palate with a slight honey and caramel feel, followed by a long, slightly spicy finish that becomes a little dry.
Excellia Añejo – 40%
Aged eighteen months. Light apricot and grape aromas on the nose with a slight oak scent. A bold flavour of fresh wood and sweetness on the palate, developing into a mellow finish of soft spice.
A fantastic range, with the Reposado going fantastic with this –
40 ml Excellia Reposado
25 ml Coffee liqueur
45 ml Espresso coffee
5 ml Sugar syrup
Shake the ingredients hard with ice. Strain into a frozen Martini glass. Garnish with three coffee beans.
A great twist, and it makes it that little bit better knowing that the Reposado is also an award-winner, winning Double Gold in the Best Reposado Tequila category at the San Francisco International World Spirits Competition 2011. The Blanco too also won a Gold medal at the same awards, with the Añejo winning Double Gold as well.
A great range on offer, versatile within cocktails and on its own. Grab a bottle and marvel at the Mexican / French relationship.
Check out the rest of the photos, taken at The Circle 360, 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.