It’s amazing how much growth we’re seeing in the tequila market, with expanded offerings outside the traditional Blanco, Reposado and Anejo (read our exploration of tequila and mezcal article for more information). We’re expecting to see a number of new products hit the market which take a different approach to tequila. For Asombroso, the La Rosa Reposado Tequila is a tequila aged 3 months in French oak barrels previously used for Bordeaux wine. We were eager to see how the peppery tequila notes would connect with the fruity rich Bordeaux. Bottled in hand-blown replicas of 18th-century decanter bottles, Asombroso looks distinctly different from other tequilas. The bottle is absolutely a “love it or hate it” bottle. Some of the members of our tasting panel liked the throw-back look, while others thought it looked a little like a glass sex toy.
In addition to Asombroso’s La Rosa Reposado Tequila, we also tasted their El Plantino Silver and their 5-year Anejo Tequila. Here’s how they fared:
Asombroso La Rosa Reposado Tequila ($50 – 80 proof) – From the get-go we were intrigued by this tequila. It’s an interesting move to take a tequila and age it in French oak (let alone in a barrel previously used for Bordeaux), and this rose-colored tequila looks intriguing. Our interest was quickly sidelined when we nosed this tequila, which had an overwhelmingly candy sweet smell, much like a lick-a-stick candy. We tried to dig deeper on the nose but were constantly thwarted by its powdery sweetness. There seems to be a subtle savory note buried underneath, but we couldn’t get past the overwhelmingly powdery sweet and slightly floral nose to properly identify it. The entry is pretty soft with some slight heat detected around the mouth and gums. The taste is a car crash of tequila and wine with grape and pepper notes battling it out on the palate for dominance. The two simply don’t mix and the result is akin to accidentally using salt to sweeten your coffee – neither a pleasant nor welcome taste. The finish is short and leaves the mouth fairly sweet with very little cooling.
Asombroso La Rosa Reposado Tequila – an interesting experiment which clearly shows that tequila and wine aren’t a great mix, and that aging tequila in previously used Bordeaux barrels isn’t really that great of an idea. Not Recommended
Asombroso El Platino Silver Tequila ($50 – 80 proof) – With the La Rosa Reposado being such a train wreck, we were pleasantly surprised with Asombroso’s El Platino Silver. The Platino has a very pleasant nose with distinct herbal notes including anise and light white pepper. There is also a nice sweet agave undercurrent to the nose which is quite inviting. The entry is soft and smooth with easy pepper high notes combined with herbal mid notes, including the anise which was on the nose and some olive. All this is carried on top of a bed of nice, light, sweet undertones with distinct vanilla bean notes. This tequila has a medium finish that is very distinctly vanilla – surprisingly so.
Asombroso El Platino Silver Tequila – a pleasant, easy drinking tequila. The vanilla notes are very strong so its appeal may be limited to those who love vanilla, but if you do like a softer, more vanilla tequila, this one is worthy of checking out. Solidly Recommended
Asombroso 5 year Anejo Tequila – ($200 – 80 proof) – It’s shocking just how expensive this tequila is. Not only is it twice as expensive as the phenomenal and rare Del Maguey Tobala Mezcal, it’s four times more than the El Tesoro Anejo Tequila, which made our Top 5 Tequilas List. The nose of the Asombroso Anejo is monster butterscotch; as with the La Rosa, it’s difficult to get past the overwhelming butterscotch notes to anything underneath. The entry is very thick with white pepper and oak up front, then butterscotch flavors that are not nearly as sweet as on the nose. There are also hints of caramel, toffee, vanilla and buttercream in the undertones. All these tastes come together a bit muddled, putting this tequila off balance. It has a medium finish with some slight spice from the oak.
Asombroso 5 year Anejo Tequila– left us scratching our heads over the obscenely high price tag, as there isn’t anything here to justify it. Even at $50 we’d be hard pressed to recommend this tequila. Skip It