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Tequilla Ocho 2016 Puerta del Aire Plata ($50): Tequilla Ocho Plata is produced exclusively from Agave grown at Puerta del Aire. They’re the only Tequila distiller producing Single Estate Tequila’s from specific vintages. The village of Arandas where their Estate is located sits more than 6,500 feet above sea level. Puerta del Aire is but one of more than 100 estates the family owns, maintains, and harvests Agave from. They allow their Agave to age 7 years before harvesting. At that age the piñas weigh between 42 and 100 kg. Their distiller Carlos Camarena is a 3rd generation Tequilero. He works alongside Tomas Estes who is the Ambassador of Tequila to the European Union.
Along with a couple of other producers Ocho is participating in a bat friendly pilot estate program. They allow a minimum of 5% of their agave to flower. It takes until the 8th year for Blue Agave to produce these large single blooms. Bats not only need these blooms but they also pollinate roughly 180 types of Agave as well as other plants in Mexico. Once the Agave plant has bloomed it can no longer be used to produce Tequila. So this is a commitment to the environment on their part that supersedes potential dollars lost.
Quite frankly most Blanco or Plata Tequila is relatively uninteresting sipped neat. The vast majority of them are intended for blending into cocktails. Ocho Plata will disabuse you of that notion. This is a delicious, distinct and complex Plata. It’s a singular expression with depth to spare. Tangerine zest, savory green herbs, limestone and a hint of banana are all part of the impressive aromatics. The palate is loaded with brown sugar, peppercorn, dates, cinnamon, a dusting of cocoa, and hints of sage. The finish here is long, lush and memorable with the above characteristics reverberating.
You could certainly use Tequilla Ocho 2016 Puerta del Aire Plata to make cocktails. It’s a super high quality ingredient that will improve your Tequila based beverage exponentially. However it’s such a specific and distinct expression that I believe it demands to be savored on its own. At most I’d put a hint of a chill on it. Either way, enjoy this exceptional expression of a Tequila Plata.

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