A range of tequila expressions that have floated around the UK market over the last few years has found footing on some major stepping-stones coming in the next few months, placing itself within the highly respected Instil Spirits portfolio to certify that it’s not just a one-trick-pony.
So what is Villa Lobos?
Villa Lobos is the result of a friendship and close collaboration with two of the world’s most respected and trusted authorities on tequila: Carlos Camarena and Dale Sklar. Carlos Camarena is the brainchild behind the likes of Ocho, Tapatio and Casco Viejo tequila’s, whilst Dale Sklar is the Managing Director and founder of importers Wine and Spirit International. Question is though, what makes Villa Lobos stand out to the rest of Carlo’s brands?
The agave used for Villa Lobos comes straight from the agave plantation owned by the Camarena family in Los Altos, but by chance Carlos had created too much for his usual requirements and began storing it within open steel tanks. A year later, he tried the agave to make sure it was still suitable, but with the extra oxidation it became ‘more feminine and silky’, he couldn’t use the agave for his usual brands, so instead he went in a different direction and Villa Lobos was born.
The four expressions are your usual suspects, and below, I give to you my tasting notes on the core three –
Villa Lobos Blanco – 40%
Double distilled. A good kick of dry oak on the nose, with light agave notes and soft sweetness coming through.A tender kick of agave hits the palate, developing into a wet spice and soft smoke aroma that gives a fresh, light and lingering finish.
Villa Lobos Reposado – 40%
Spends at least 6 months resting in tanks before being aged in American oak for 11 months. Very light, subtle notes of agave, with licks of oak and earthy aromas on the nose. Raw oak flavours are hit with a good kick of dry agave and plenty of course soil to give a lingering, slightly harsh finish.
Villa Lobos Añejo – 40%
Spends at least 6 months resting in tanks before being aged in American oak for 24 months. Soft, slightly coarse aromas of earth and agave blending well on the nose. Licks of smoke give off plenty of oak flavours, with kicks of raw agave coming through. A long, heavy feeling smoked finish.
Villa Lobos Los Hombres – 40%
Created to celebrate the friendship between Carlos and Dale, this is a 2000 bottle release, aged for 10 years within American oak barrels.
Soft earthy butter notes upon the nose, with slight ripe banana and papaya coming through. Thick butterscotch hits the palate early, developing into a lively cracked black pepper and dry oak. A long finish with plenty of roasted red pepper lingering.
Some very interesting expressions here, with a fifth, the Extra Añejo also available and aged for 48 months. One’s for enjoying straight, even the Blanco, which at a push could make a good cocktail base if you had some good ingredients to match it with.
Although created by accident perhaps, the year in open air tanks makes a pleasant difference to many other tequila names, especially Carlos’ other brands. Perhaps one for your drinks cabinet at home, or to impress your friends with on a night out if you happen to come across it in your favourite bar.
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