A few years ago, Patrón shook up the usual tequila aging process by releasing an añejo matured entirely in Spanish oak oloroso sherry casks. The tequila was so limited, however, that it was only available at duty-free, making it unavailable to many ardent fans. No more disappointment: Patrón is launching a new sherry cask añejo—and this time, there’s enough for everyone.
Añejo tequila is well-aged. By law, it has to spend at least a year—and up to three years—in a barrel. With brown spirits ever-growing in popularity, there are dozens of añejos these days, and the choice can be overwhelming. But Patrón has an unimpeachable reputation, decades of experience with cask aging and, in this case, a pretty enticing flavor proposition.
That’s thanks to the use of oloroso sherry casks. Most reposados and añejos are matured in a single type of cask—ex-bourbon, made from American white oak. That means their flavors tend to run along similar lines, often featuring vanilla, soft caramel, and light spice.
This añejo from Patrón—fully matured for over two years in Spanish oak oloroso sherry casks—offers an entirely different flavor profile and character. “It’s so complex,” says master distiller David Rodriguez, pointing out notes of pecan, medjool date, and banana on top of the inherent agave flavors. “When you smell, you can identify those aromas. When you taste, immediately in your mouth you receive the impact.”
It’s all about timing
Getting hold of high-quality oloroso barrels was no easy task, notes Rodriguez, as most sherry bodegas hold onto their casks for years. For the previous iteration of the añejo, Patrón was only able to buy about 15 sherry casks, which meant a very limited amount of finished product. This time around, Rodriguez and his team traveled directly to Jerez de la Frontera, the heart of sherry production, to visit multiple bodegas in the hopes of sourcing enough barrels for a larger batch.
The first step was finding casks whose profile would match with Patrón’s tequila. That meant smelling and testing each one individually, a process that ensured no bacterial or fungal contamination was present, which could negatively impact the tequila. After making the rounds to 10 or so bodegas, Rodriguez had secured enough casks to ship back to Mexico.
Once filled with Patrón’s silver tequila, the casks couldn’t just sit and rest. They had to be checked every three months, with Rodriguez taking samples to assess aroma, flavor, and color. Things didn’t go well for the first 18 months, he says; there was no harmony to the liquid. But at two years old, everything shifted.
“It was amazing,” says Rodriguez, adding it was also quite a surprise, given what they’d previously tasted. “That’s why it was so important to check it regularly. If we didn’t wait for two years—if we took out the tequila in the barrels at a year and a half, maybe we would have lost the product.”
The cask creativity continues
In the end, Rodriguez determined the ideal maturation for this añejo is two years and four months. He’s not stopping with oloroso sherry casks either. Rodriguez has been making tequila at Patrón for two decades, and worked closely with former master distiller Francisco Alcaraz before his retirement in 2020. Together, they rolled out such notable aged expressions as Gran Patrón Burdeos, aged in Bordeaux casks. Currently Rodriguez has tequila aging in bourbon, port, French and Napa Valley wine, and Hungarian oak casks.
There are also some upcoming special cask-aged releases that are sure to set whiskey fans’ mouths watering. Rodriguez reveals he has tequila aging in Angel’s Envy bourbon barrels, as well as in scotch barrels from the Dewar’s brand on the verge of being unveiled. “We’re almost ready,” he says.
If you like Macallan or other sherried scotch, you’ll love this tequila. It practically bursts with aromas of raisins, dates, dried figs, hazelnuts, and candied ginger—all thickly layered on a soft agave base. A rounded, silky texture and classic sherry flavors meet spice and herbal notes in a harmonious duet that lingers pleasantly long after the glass is finished.
For now, Rodriguez recommends sipping Patrón Sherry Cask Aged Añejo as dessert. “At the end of a meal, I would like to taste some sherry cask with chocolate,” he says. “The combination is delicious.”
Bottles available while supplies last, $80; drizly.com
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