El Ladrón Reposado Blue Agave Spirit, distilled by Venus Spirits and bottled at 47% ABV.
Price Range: $40-$60
Founded by Sean Venus, Venus Spirits is a new craft distillery located in Santa Cruz, California. Sean has an extensive background in brewing and fermentation. He worked for a number of microbreweries while attending the University of Oregon and spent six years with Gordon Biersh. Sean was kind enough to share a small sample of his reposado while we were attending the American Distilling Institute's 2015 Conference in Louisville, Kentucky.
Like the Blanco, El Ladrón Reposado Blue Agave Spirit is made from organic blue agave syrup imported from Mexico, fermented and double distilled in a 600-liter copper alembic still. However, after distillation the agave spirit is matured for three to six months in new and used whiskey barrels.
Nose: The reposado has a pungent green agave aroma that is intermingled with caramel and baking spice. The reposado also has a bright and light fruity aroma similar to a white wine like chardonnay.
Palate: The palate is smooth, medium bodied with a little heat. The reposado taste lightly sweet with notes of caramel, oak and roasted vegetables. Initially the sensation on the tongue is warm and smooth which, transitions to semi-dry with a hint of astringency from the wood.
Finish: The finish is long and flavors of lemon, caramel, oak and roasted asparagus. The lingering sensation of agave is a pleasant reminder to return to the glass for another drink.
Conclusion: My initial reaction was that this is a much more woody reposado than others I have had. Once I looked past the comparison to reposado tequilas, Venus Spirits's blue agave reposado is a lovely spirit. With a little water, the heat mellows and the pleasant flavors are preserved. This reposado has a lot to think about and it is likely to appeal to whiskey drinkers and those who love anejo tequila. Besides drinking it neat or with water, Venus Spirits' reposado would also work well in a margarita and make an interesting replacement in an Old Fashioned.