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Tequila/Mezcal Reviews

Clase Azul Tequila Reposado, 40% ABV

 

Clase Azul should need little introduction. It’s marketed as an ultra-high-end tequila brand founded 25 years ago, which boasts some serious star power, eye-watering price tags, and undeniably beautiful ceramic packaging. 

The first thing that commands your attention is the striking and completely impractical-for-storage ceramic decanters that every expression comes in. Each one is handcrafted by a local Mexican artisan in Santa Maria, Mexico.

 

 

As far as showbiz is concerned, Clase is the Hennessy of tequila brands. Rappers Bas and J. Cole recently released their “Passport Bros” music video, opening with a lively, “Clase Azul got me singing ‘I love you, too.’” 2 Chainz and Ye West equally wax lyrical about Clase Azul. It’s dripping with so much street cred that explains its eye-watering price tags.

| Learn all about Clase Azul, The Most Expensive Tequila You’d Either Love Or Hate

Now, unlike other tequila brands that are better-known for their traditional unaged spirit (blanco, plata or joven), Clase Azul’s claim to fame is its reposado; its barrel-aged expression. While purists say barrel aging mellows down the nuances of the agave, it’s easy for us to see why a larger majority of drinkers appreciate aged tequilas for its sweetness and richer caramel notes. And particularly so since most of us are first familiar with aged spirits like whiskey and brandy.

Unfortunately, as much as the rich and famous love Clase Azul, it has been the target of disdain by many dedicated tequila enthusiasts. Even as the label says “100% Pure Blue Agave”, tequila labelling laws actually allow brands to add some amount of additives to smoothen or even sweeten the spirit.

 

 

What do I think? I’m a pragmatist. I won’t tell the makers how to do their jobs so long as drinkers enjoy the taste of the final product. So, to critics I’d say “don’t yuck another person’s yums.” But my main bone to pick with Clase Azul would be the lack of transparent disclosure on the label – an aspect that the tequila industry needs to do some catching up on when contrasted with an increasing number of whisk(e)y and rum brands.

I had another chance to taste the iconic Clase Azul Reposado when I visited Chimichanga’s Little India outlet last month. This has been aged for eight months in American whiskey casks, and comes in its cobalt-blue hand painted decanter marked with its classic feathered design.

Clase Azul Tequila Reposado, 40% ABV – Review

 

Colour: Light caramel. 

Nose: Bright and honeyed. Opens with light honey, vanilla and a hint of cream. There's a faint echo of cedar jelly that rounds off the nose.

Palate: The sweetness is immediately evident, with strong undertones of brown sugar, maple syrup, and caramel dominating. It's syrupy, cloyingly sweet, but it does have a vegetal backdrop that reminds one that it's still tequila.

The viscosity is the standout feature here, coating the mouth in a pleasant manner. There's also an absence of any pronounced alcoholic heat, making this very smooth on the tongue.

Finish: Quite long, with a trailing minty freshness, reminiscent of breath fresheners. Accompanied by vegetal notes and a lingering caramel sweetness on the tail end, more reminiscent of sweet bourbon rather than a tequila.

 

My Thoughts:

🛣 A trip down memory lane!

Oh, how my tastebuds have evolved over the years! Back in my early twenties, this was a tequila I relished, especially during the days when straight spirits felt like an assault to my senses and everything felt like nail polish. For a beginner drinker, new to neat sipping spirits, this was a sweet reprieve and even acted as a gateway encouraging you to explore more tequilas.

After being accustomed to neat spirits, and a world of whiskey and tequila, I find it very hard to enjoy this in the same way. While there's a nice viscosity and familiar notes of vanilla and caramel, it has an unnaturally saccharine sweetness, something that seems impossible to achieve without stirring a tablespoon of maple syrup into the spirit. Another issue with the cloying sweetness is that it overshadows agave nuances and complexities in the drink.

For casual drinkers and newcomers to sipping alcohol, this remains an incredibly accessible choice (taste-wise, not wallet-wise), and could open the door to an exploration of more tequilas. But even then, I must admit that there better reposado options out there, like the Don Julio 1942, which offers a depth and complexity that all levels of drinkers would appreciate.

For me, at least, this Clase Azul Reposado is a trip down memory lane. It tastes exactly the same, but my reaction is completely different. Really reminds me of how far my taste and preferences as a drinker has changed.

@CharsiuCharlie