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Thread: Neil's Ongoing Liquor Review - Sotol

  1. #1
    Join Date
    May 2000
    Seattle WA
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    Default Neil's Ongoing Liquor Review - Sotol

    I’ve decided to post monthly booze reviews. I want people reading this to appreciate the sacrifice I’m making with my own liver and kidneys to review various liquors and then spread the word of ones to seek for your own tastings.

    I’ll include various liquors that may be new to me, or just some old standbys since those may be new to others.

    To start, a new one to me, Hacienda de Chihuahua Sotol.

    Sotol is a mescal, and a cousin to tequila (tequila is a type of mescal) Sotol is made from a type of agavecea known as Dasylirion. This plant was used for food and making fermented beverages for centuries by local tribes.

    The process to make this is the same as a mescal or tequila. The mature plant stems and leaves are cut down to get to the heart of the plant, which is then cooked – it can be steamed or roasted depending on the distiller’s aims, and then fermented prior to distillation. It takes a whole agavecea plant to produce a single bottle of sotol.

    Sotol is double distilled, and then aged in new French oak barrels except for the plata, which is not aged.

    Sotol may be hard to find but it’s worth looking. There are three types available: Plata (unaged), Reposado (aged about 6 month), and Anejo (aged 2 years)

    My tasting:


    Color: Light amber brown, maple syrup in appearance.

    Nose: Rich, oak, not much agave flavor noticed, but a sweet honey, pot still rum character, some light smoke.

    Mouth: Rich and smooth, the oils are rich and well developed, with a coat your mouth texture.

    Taste: Remarkably like a cross between really good rum and tequila. The sweet fruit oak come across well, with a hint of the tequila agave character in the oils, giving it a slightly smoky earthiness.

    Finish: Smooth, warm, and long. You get more of the pot still character and the tequila-ish smoky earthiness in the finish.

    Color: Light yellowish brown
    Nose: Herbal, slightly sharp

    Mouth: Smooth, extremely smooth! No notable characters jump out as in the anejo or plata. Light in oils and dissipates quickly.

    Taste: Lightly sweet, some oak, a hint of smoke. No one flavor dominates, but they all mix together and leave you wanting more to try and identify what it is you are tasting.

    Finish: medium, very warm

    Color: Clear

    Nose: Sharp, lots of fruit, a nice herbal tinge, you get the agavecea aroma in this one nicely.

    Mouth: Light, some bite, light and clean, leaves a slight alcohol tingle.

    Taste: Lots of fruit, sharp but clean and fresh tasting, a tinge of smoke with a nice sweetness.

    Finish: medium, some light burn, but lots of fruit reappears.

    Get the Plata if you want flavor and character of the plant. Go for the Anejo if you want complexity and great flavor development. Get the Reposado if you want smooth and easy to drink.

    The Plata gives you a fresh sharp flavor of the plant. This would make a good substitute for tequila in any mixed drink where you would use tequila. It’s differences from tequila make it a nice surprise to your taste buds. Try this one with a splash of soda and a wedge of lime.

    The Reposado is nice, but disappointing. The Reposado, while smooth, even smoother than the Anejo surprisingly, and easy to like, has lost all the fresh flavors of the Plata bottling, but the depth of character that makes the Anejo bottling so wonderful have not developed. My thought is the Reposado could use another 3 months in cask to develop more fully.

    The Anejo just makes your taste buds get warm and fuzzy all over. If you like sipping a good malt whisky, VSOP brandies, aged rums, and Anejo tequilas, this is the one to buy. Drink this in the same fashion as any fine liquor, use a snifter and let it warm up in hand. Best for after dinner or when you just want to relax with a good sipping drink.
    Last edited by Neil Yamamoto; 2nd November 2007 at 16:39.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jul 2002
    Savoir faire is everywhere!!
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    Nice post, Neil-were you down this way recently, or has sotol made it up to the great foggy northwest?

    I like Hacienda de Chihuahua a lot, for a variety of reasons. I'm partial to the anejo (and find that the reposado is a little odd at the finish, anyway.) I also occasionally enjoy the sweetness that comes from the lack of alchohol burn-I'm guessing this is from a lower alchohol content, like the lower content tequilas like Clase Azul.
    Aaron J. Cuffee

    As democracy is perfected, the office of president represents, more and more closely, the inner soul of the people. On some great and glorious day the plain folks of the land will reach their heart's desire at last and the White House will be adorned by a downright moron.
    - H.L. Mencken

  3. #3
    Join Date
    May 2000
    Seattle WA
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    A friend of mine who runs a restaurant up here, is originally from the Chihuahua region, and managed to talk the state into special ordering it for him, I'd never seen it before, so this was a neat taste treat for me. After tasting these, I had to go and buy a bottle of the anejo.

    The Sotol, I noticed, was only 76 proof, so the lower alcohol content probably does contribute to the smoothness.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jul 2000
    Seattle, WA
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    Quote Originally Posted by Neil Yamamoto
    A friend of mine who runs a restaurant up here, is originally from the Chihuahua region, and managed to talk the state into special ordering it for him,
    Don't we have a dojo planning meeting or something coming up that we could have up there?
    Christian Moses
    **Certified Slimy, Moronic, Deranged and Demented Soul by Saigo-ha Daito Ryu!**
    Student of:
    Shinto Ryu Iai-Battojutsu
    Tuesday Night Bad Budo Club (TM)

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Feb 2004
    London, UK
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    Thanks Neil, for what might be the best thread ever! I like mescal, but I'm far from a connoisseur - I think I need to do some exploring.

    I might have a go at doing the same for cognacs and armagnacs (my drink of choice) - although I'm also rediscovering single malts lately. I've always been more of an Irish whiskey type of guy, but it turns out my fiancé has a taste for smoky, peaty scotch. Mmmmmm, thiiirrrrsty...


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