Highest Scoring Agave Spirits In February 2017

These ten tequilas and mezcals received the highest ratings from our spirits experts in February!
Feb 28, 2017
  • 10
    10 Tequila Amate Silver
    86
    Mineral & Spicy
    Since 2012 Tequila Azteca has been made at NOM 1173, the same distillery as Grand Mayan. Crafted by Juan Carlos-Jimenez Ahedo and Carlos Monsalve-Agraz in 1997 is was originally made at NOM 1137 which also produces the famed Casa Noble.
  • 9
    9 Mezcal Viejo Indecente Ensamble
    87
    Rich
    Viejo Indecente is produced by the Lucas family overseen by 3rd generation distiller Jose Lucas in San Isidro Guishe, Miahuatlán in southern central Oaxaca. It's made from a blend of fair-trade Madrecuishe and Espadín grown without the use of pesticides, harvested at about 15 and 8 years respectively. Both species are roasted together in batches in steam-fueled (to reduce the need for lumber and avoid charring) clay ovens and twice distilled. it is bottled unaged.
  • 8
    8 Don Pilar Blanco Tequila
    87
    Rich & Sweet
    Don Pilar Blanco is an unaged tequila distilled from 100% blue Weber agave grown in the Highlands (Los Altos) region of Jalisco, harvested at 10 years. Fun fact: It's named for its distiller, Don José Pilar Contreras Marquez, who uses the "Mozart Method" of fermentation, playing Baroque music throughout the entire fermentation process.
  • 7
    7 Koch el Mezcal Mexicano
    89
    Fruity & Herbal
    Double-distilled in small, handmade, copper-lined stills, this Mexicáno mezcal, like all the other Koch el de Oaxaca bottlings, is made in small batches, using artisanal methods and centuries old technology. Single-varietal Mexicáno (agave Rhodacantha) is a rare treat as the agave are difficult to find in the wild and can take well over a decade to mature.
  • 6
    6 Koch el Mezcal Barril
    89
    Rich & Fruity
    Barril agaves are tall and tend to have slightly thicker foliage up top. The agave for this particular mezcal tend to be grown a little closer together causing the trunks to grow taller. They appear sporadically, semi-wild, peppered throughout the mountains of Oaxaca. This mezcal is produced traditionally in Rio de Ejutla, Oaxaca and utilizes a bull-drawn tahona to crush the cooked piñas.
  • 5
    5 Tequila Ocho Reposado "El Puertecito" 2011
    90
    Herbal & Sweet
    Rancho El Puertecito is located about three miles west of Arandas in the heart of Los Altos. In his label notes, Master Distiller Carlos Camarena says, “Puertecito is complex and still gentle. The waves of flavor come along softly in harmony and don’t throw you in the ocean.” El Puertecito Reposado is unusual in that only 16 cases were made and it was never commercially released.
  • 4
    4 Tequila Ocho Extra Añejo "El Vergel" 2007
    90
    Sweet & Fruity
    Rancho El Vergel (“The Orchard”) is situated more than 6,500 feet above sea level and has the red, iron-rich soil that’s characteristic of the Highlands. Located near Arandas, El Vergel was thought to be unsuitable for growing agave by Carlos Camarena’s father, Felipe. Tequila Ocho was the first crop of agave ever grown on the rancho, which previously grew limes and peaches.
  • 3
    3 Tequila Ocho Añejo "Los Corrales" 2010
    91
    Herbal & Earthy
    Third generation Master Distiller Carlos Camarena produces Tequila Ocho using traditional artisan methods and agave from his family’s fields. At Rancho Los Corrales, temperatures range from highs of 80 F to lows of 48 F, resulting in agaves with very high sugar content. When the fully mature agaves were harvested, some of the piñas (hearts) weighed a remarkable 100 kg, more than triple the average size.
  • 2
    2 Tequila Lapis Platinum
    94
    Floral
    The 100% blue agave is roasted in stainless ovens and is distilled in stainless, pot stills. A distinctive, step-pyramid bottle distinguishes this line.
  • 1
    1 Azuñia Añejo Tequila
    94
    Spicy
    Azuñia Añejo is distilled from 100% blue weber agave grown in Jalisco, Mexico which are harvested 8 to 10 years after planting. The agave is roasted in clay hornos ovens for 36 hours before being distilled twice. This Añejo is aged for at least 12 months in American oak barrels before being bottled and distributed.