Review: Tequila Cimarron Blanco
Price: $17-22 per 1 liter
The Tequilena distillery is located in the city of Tequila and run by Enrique Fonseca, a fourth generation agave grower. The distillery is capable of producing up to 15,000 liters of 100% Blue Agave Tequila per day and according to K&L Spirit Buyer, David Driscoll, their aging warehouse has about 20,000 barrels of tequila quietly maturing in the highlands of Jalisco. Along with Tequila Cimarron, Fonseca produces tequila for eight other brands, including T1, Fuenteseca, and ArteNom 1146.
Fonseca purchased the Tequilena distillery from Bacardi in the 1980s and it has five pot stills and one large column still. According to an interview between Driscoll and Fonseca, their agave is harvested from a number of different altitudes and soil types which lend different flavor characteristics. The pinas are cut with about 2-3 inches of the leaves remaining which gives the resulting distillate a stronger vegetal character. Fonseca cooks his pinas for about 24 hours in large autoclaves at less than 1 atmosphere of pressure and then allows them to slowly cool down for another 24 hours. The roasted pinas are then put into a large screw press which squeezes the juice out of the agave rather than shredding or mashing them. The juice is fermented slowly in large temperature controlled stainless steel tanks, which results in wash around 15% ABV. The wash is sent to both the column and pot stills for distillation. Once distillation is complete the pot and column distillates will be mixed in varying ratios depending on the brand characteristics. After the mixes are made the blanco tequila goes into a tank to rest for a few weeks before proofing and bottling. Since Cimarron is such a clean spirit, my guess that it contains slightly more tequila from the column vs. the pot stills.
Nose: The nose is light and pleasant with notes mineral water, pepper and green agave. The nose is simultaneously earthy and fruity with notes of ripe pineapple carried upwards by the alcohol.
Palate: The tequila has a light body with a light acidity and in the mouth it is smooth and round. Cimarron blanco is spicy with notes of pepper and cumin, an earthy sweetness like slightly charred vegetables from the grill.
Finish: The flavor has a short finish but the tequila has a very pleasant warmth that lingers without any burn out harshness. Lightly sweet notes of green agave hold on at the back of the palate waiting for the next sip.
Conclusion: Tequila Cimarron Blanco is an excellent tequila, a great value and fantastic for parties. Cimarron has been made for the bar and cocktail market which fits perfectly because it is very straightforward and clean. The blanco makes an great margarita and even though it is not the most complex blanco on the market the tequila shines through with it's natural fruitiness. Also, Cimarron Blanco would make an excellent tequila for shots if that's your thing. While the simplicity of Tequila Cimarron Blanco does not make it a great sipping tequila, it is incredibly well executed, affordable and fantastic for mixing.