If you paid attention in history class, you might recall that before the republic of Mexico, there was the Kingdom of New Spain. Established in 1521 after the conquest of Tenochtitlan by Hernán Cortés, it would reign uninterrupted for three centuries over a vast swath of North and Central America.
While Mexico came to win its independence from Spain, the legacy of those 300 years is imprinted deep within the nation’s character, from its language to its religious customs to the unique blend of indigenous and European cultural influences that make Mexico such a fascinating place.
In its own way, the debut of PATRÓN Sherry Cask Aged Añejo Tequila — a limited edition expression and the first new PATRÓN release in two years — builds a bridge between Mexico’s proud present and colonial past. By aging its ultra-premium, additive-free tequila in oak barrels that had previously held oloroso sherry, PATRÓN Sherry Cask Aged Añejo Tequila is itself imprinted with the flavors of old Spain.
That isn’t to suggest that PATRÓN Sherry Cask Aged Añejo Tequila is blended with sherry; it isn’t. Rather, as a part of PATRÓN’S Cask Collection series, the liquid is matured exclusively in ex-sherry casks to introduce new depths of flavor to the PATRÓN experience while abiding by the strict rules that designate what can and cannot be labeled tequila.
Here’s how the magic works: PATRÓN tequila enters ex-oloroso sherry casks and spends more than two years maturing in the recently completed, state-of-the-art barrel-aging room at the Hacienda PATRÓN distillery in Jalisco, Mexico. Over time, the oloroso sherry flavors that have been left deep within the oak barrels are passed on to the tequila. But because no two sherry barrels will be completely alike — not to mention the many other variables that arise during the aging process — it falls on PATRÓN Master Distiller David Rodriguez to blend the aged tequila and find the perfect expression of its unique flavors and character.
Presenting with a beautiful, amber-gold color in the glass, the experience of PATRÓN Sherry Cask Aged Añejo Tequila begins with complex aromas of fresh apricot, prune, medjool dates, stewed pears, aged pear cider, overripe bananas, baked agave, vanilla pudding, and honey-glazed walnuts. Once it hits the tongue, fig preserves, stone fruit compote, caramel, toasted walnuts, coconut, and spicy fermented pineapple present on the palate. Its long, rewarding finish is defined by a rich and warming note of baked pear.
PATRÓN Sherry Cask Aged Añejo Tequila is not the first time that the legendary tequila producer has turned its eyes toward sherry casks. In 2018, PATRÓN released a sherry cask-aged añejo that was sold exclusively in duty-free shops. But as that limited-edition spirit was aged in a different batch of sherry casks, the two releases present distinctively different experiences.
“I am enormously proud of this new Sherry Cask Añejo tequila, our first such release in the United States,” said former PATRÓN Master Distiller Francisco Alcaraz, who oversaw the production of PATRÓN Sherry Cask Aged Añejo Tequila. “Some years ago, we introduced another añejo tequila aged in sherry casks, but the taste profile of this release is quite different and exceptional, with more pronounced and complex aromas and flavors of raisins and vanilla.”
Then and now, PATRÓN has stood out as one of the first tequila makers to incorporate sherry casks into its aging process. Doing so is not without its challenges, as the increasing demand for both sherry and sherry cask-aged spirits — whether they be Scotch whiskeys, bourbons, rums, and yes, tequilas — has made sourcing these exceptional casks a considerable challenge. But seasoned tequila drinkers looking to expand their palates, as well as those who enjoy aged spirits in other categories, will agree that it’s a task well worth the extra effort.
Naturally, what makes it into those sherry casks is just as important as the casks themselves. That’s where PATRÓN’s dedication to crafting an ultra-premium, 100 percent blue Weber agave tequila using traditional methods and the best possible ingredients matters most. Unlike other producers who might rely on added sugars to paper over shortcuts in the production process, or use artificial coloring to imitate the appearance of aging, PATRÓN tequila remains proudly additive-free.
That “nothing-to-hide” philosophy extends to the aging process, too. PATRÓN tequilas are typically aged on the briefer end of the spectrum, and PATRÓN Sherry Cask Aged Añejo Tequila is no exception; the spirit is aged for just over two years rather than the maximum three allowed for in the añejo category.
This is because PATRÓN is not interested in aging for aging’s sake or to mask the spirit’s shortcomings. Rather, PATRÓN ages its tequilas until the precise moment that the expression has reached its highest flavor potential. For this reason, the casks containing PATRÓN Sherry Cask Aged Añejo Tequila are consistently tasted throughout the aging process.
As the tequila category continues to enjoy exponential growth in the U.S., it’s become easy for new expressions to feel like background noise in an increasingly crowded market. But PATRÓN Sherry Cask Aged Añejo Tequila might be viewed as something different: a preview of coming attractions. As tequila drinkers new and seasoned thirst for what the category can do next, PATRÓN will continue to deliver.
This article is sponsored by PATRÓN.