As far as tequila goes, blancos are by far my favorite. And not without good reason: They’re eminently drinkable—whether in cocktails, on the rocks, or neat. They make for excellent pairings with a vast variety of dishes and cuisines. Plus, a significant number of high-quality expressions are easy to get your hands on at reasonable (if not downright modest) prices. So, it’s a win-win all around.
But every once in a while, an exciting new añejo comes along that gets me excited enough to ditch my beloved blancos—albeit temporarily. Case in point: the Mijenta Añejo Gran Reserva, a newly-released 18-month-aged small-batch tequila that’s spent some time in four different barrels: American oak, French oak, acacia, and cherry wood—all of which impart an explosion of tropical notes, complex flavors, and subtle spices without overpowering the tequila’s distinct agave-forward notes.
“We developed a unique approach to create Mijenta Añejo Gran Reserva that makes it unlike any other aged tequila,” maestra tequilera Ana Maria Romero Mena said in a statement. “The process begins by allowing the tequila to mature in American white oak barrels before it is transferred to French oak barrels, which begin to develop its flavor profile and texture.”
“Further aging in acacia barrels enhances the body while adding a light herbal and citrus note before the final two months are completed in cherry oak casks—as opposed to the more traditional sherry casks—which enhances the fruity notes,” she continued. “Importantly, Mijenta tequila never includes additional sweeteners or flavors—its taste profile comes entirely from the agave, traditional distillation methods and time spent maturing to perfection.”’
And Romero Mena is spot-on. Her añejo is a beauty. I love that fact that the four barrels imparted just enough flavor without going overboard. There’s nothing about it that screams oak. The way with which it was developed produced an expression that is simultaneously bold and mellow. On the nose, a subtle floral note gives way to deeply roasted agave to the point of caramelization—with mild hints of vanilla and grilled peaches. Meanwhile, on the palate, there’s a nice kick of white pepper that isn’t too pronounced—lending the añejo kind of balance that’s just difficult to achieve.
Beyond that, the softness and non-aggressive nature of the expression makes it perfect for pairing: I’ve had it neat with grilled lobster and I’ve tried it with an extra funky blue cheese—and it was great. But Mijenta añejo truly shines with very sweet desserts such as birthday cake ice cream and blueberry jamboree (as evidenced by my now-empty freezer).
There’s one important thing to take note of, though. The first drop is limited to 2,160 bottles—so if you’re looking to try a new añejo this Cinco de Mayo, you’ve gotta move fast.