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1921 Añejo Tequila

Review: 1921 Añejo Tequila   93/100
a review by Chip Dykstra (Aka Arctic Wolf)
Posted on June 22, 2011

1921 Tequila is made from 100% Agave cultivated in the Highlands of Jalisco, Mexico. The distinction between tequila made from highland agave versus tequila made from lowland agave is important because agave grown in the highlands tends to carry a different flavour profile into the final tequila than lowland tequila. Highland tequila tends to have more sweet fruity citrus flavours and perhaps a touch more hot pepper in the finish.

I should mention that the sample bottle of 1921 Añejo Tequila for this review was provided to me by Westway L. LTD., who is the importer of this spirit in my home province of Alberta.

The tequila is described on 1921 Tequila website as:

“…It is definitely a Tequila made to be tasted calmly and enjoyed slowly in a cognac wine glass, allowing the description of the authentic taste of the white oak barrel aged for 12 months, where the wood has blended its most sophisticated characteristics with the agave from Jalisco´s soil…”

I decided to follow the advise of the website and began my tasting session with a cognac glass and the 1921 Añejo Tequila served neat without ice.

In the Bottle  4.5/5

Pictured to the left is the bottle presentation for the 1921 Añejo Tequila. The squat square bottle has a nice visual appeal. It is quite different from other bottles on my liquor shelf, and this difference serves to help it stand out a bit from the crowd. The bottle is sealed with a nice synthetic cork which is always a bonus for me, as I find the synthetic corks have far more durability than the regular variety, yet they still give that satisfying ‘pop’ when the spirit is opened. To ensure nothing inside escapes before you open it, a waxy plastic covering seals the cork which must be removed with a tear strip.

In the Glass  9/10

In the glass, 1921 Añejo is light amber gold consistent with a spirit which has spent about a year in oak. I gave my glass a slow tilt and then an even slower swirl. The light sheen imparted on the side of the glass coalesced slowly into droopy legs which slowly fell back into the spirit.

As I brought the brandy glass up to my nose, the fruity agave began to assert itself into the air around the glass. Nice soft pepper and ginger notes come forward out of the glass as well, followed by lime citrus and a very soft butterscotch. A hint of vanilla wafts into the air with some scattered tea leaves. I can tell that I am going to like this!

In the Mouth 56.5/60

In the mouth, the 1921 Añejo Tequila is very smooth with a mellow fruity agave flavour. My initial tasting notes include words like, “Sweet Bell Peppers”, “Gingerbread”, “Butterscotch”, “Citrus Zest”, and “Sweet Fruity Agave”.  In subsequent tastings I began to notice that there is also an abundance of dry fruits (figs and dates) underlying the flavour. Hints of cocoa and scattered tea leaves add to the complexity as the oak speaks within the tequila also bringing some light vanillans and oak spices to round out the flavour which is laid back and mellow, yet very complex and pleasing.

I found the 1921 Añejo Tequila very easy to sip and enjoy in my glass, and although I have demonstrated a preference to mix cocktails with the spirits I review, I was not driven by a strong urge to mix cocktails with this one.

In the Throat 13.5/15

The 1921 Añejo Tequila finishes with soft fruity agave, and a long fade of white pepper and ginger. There is just a touch of harshness in the exit to remind you that this is tequila, and tequila sometimes has a little bite; but having said that, this is the style of finish I prefer when I drink tequila.

The Afterburn 9.5/10

I found as I sipped on my glass, that the Tequila flavour seemed to become more well-rounded and appealing as I let the glass breathe. A little more of the oak asserted itself, and the flavour impressions I received seemed to be blended together just a little more thoroughly. Although I liked I liked the initial taste of the tequila when I sipped it, it was the fully decanted glass which brought the scores up so high.

You may read some of my other Tequila Reviews (click the link) if you wish to have some comparative reviews.

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Suggested Recipe:

Here is a nice recipe I discovered on the 1921 Tequila Website called the 1921 Maximiliano Tequila. Mixing 1921 Añejo Tequila with Grand Marnier is definitely a great idea worth repeating:

1921 Maximiliano Tequila

1 1/2 ounces of 1921 Tequila Añejo
3/4 ounces of Grand Marnier.

Serve in a suitable glass with no ice
Allow the cocktail oxidize for about 5 minutes
Garnish with a twist of orange peel.

The advise from the 1921 Tequila Website to decant the cocktail is marvelous. The flavour grows and grows in the glass.

Cheers!

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You may (loosely) interpret the scores as follows.

0-25     A spirit with a rating this low would actually kill you.
26-49   Depending upon your fortitude you might actually survive this.
50 -59  You are safe to drink this…but you shouldn’t.
60-69   Substandard swill which you may offer to people you do not want to see again.
70-74    Now we have a fair mixing Tequila.  Accept this but make sure it is mixed into a cocktail.
75-79    You may begin to serve this to friends, (we are probably still cocktail in territory).
80-84    We begin to enjoy this spirit neat or on the rocks. (I will still primarily mix cocktails)
85-89    Excellent for sipping or for mixing delicious cocktails!
90-94    Definitely a primary sipping spirit, in fact you may want to hoard this for yourself.
95-97.5 The Cream of the Crop
98+       I haven’t met this bottle yet…but I want to.

Very loosely we may put my scores into terms that you may be familiar with on a Gold, Silver, and  Bronze medal  scale as follows:

70 – 79.5    Bronze Medal (Recommended only as a mixer)
80 – 89.5     Silver Medal (Recommended for sipping and or a high quality mixer)
90 – 95         Gold Medal (Highly recommended for sipping and for sublime cocktails.)
95.5+            Platinum Award (Highest Recommendation)

5 Responses to “1921 Añejo Tequila”

  1. Franz said

    I have just begun to enjoy Tequila. My first was one by a company called 1800 and is a reposado. Although it was not especially complex, it was very, very nice and I enjoyed finding the subtle, sweet agave aromas and tastes, not to mention a nice peppery finish.

    Here’s my question. As a rum and whiskey drinker, anything aged less than maybe 3 years is really very young and not especially interesting. Why and how can anejos like this one exclaim their complexity and wood aging when it is aged just a year?

    I don’t get it. Also, how long will a tequila keep? Thanks.

    • Hi Franz

      I have thought about this myself and although I am on a little shaky ground here, I will attempt to answer you. I believe that the agave plant (or more correctly the heart of the agave, the Pina) is much much more flavourful than grain or cane and carries much more of its flavour through the fermentation and distillation process into the final product. So Tequila starts off as a much more complex spirit when it first comes off the still. I do not necessarily believe that tequila picks up more from the wood in a year of aging than rum or whisky does, but because it starts out as a more complex spirit, it may be that we are able to perceive the complexities the wood is imparting more readily.

      As I said earlier, I am on shaky ground here, I invite others who may be reading this comment and who may have better information than I to step up and share with us.

      • I emailed Franz’ question to Juan Francisco Collado, (of 1921 Tequila) and I have paraphrased his answer:

        He writes:

        This is a good and difficult question, here is the answer.

        – Anejo Tequilas have at least 1 yr. in a 200 Lts. barrel and only some of them get the complexity you found in our 1921 Anejo. This is due to Agave sugar quality, agave quality and a careful process.

        – When you taste a good Blanco Tequila just as it is coming out from distillation, flavor is very nice and sweet, very different than if you compare with a whisky, or bourbon at same production stage. Tequila’s flavor complexity is already present at this point.

        – This fact is because sugar has been building up in the agave in the form of starch or polysaccharides, during more than 7 years, the time it takes agave to ripe, compared with cane sugar for rum or wheat sugar for whisky where plant source is harvested 2 or 3 times a year, so it’s sugar has not same quality as Agave sugar.

        – During the long agave’s maturity time, there are some elements named flavonoids that builds up and once cooked produce a wider spectrum of aromas and flavors than other spirit have.

        – Good Tequila does not need so much time in the barrel, they do not need to mask its essence behind so many barrel attributes. Tequila needs to keep its essence because it is born with a great one.

        I hope this gave you a convincing answer

        Regards

        Juan Francisco Collado

  2. Just navigating in the web I hit your review
    I have tasted many anejos but I know Tequila 1921 Anejo is among the best of the best. It substituted the “1921 Reserva Especial” that was a Long aged Reposado imported to USA since 1996 and nobody knew by then the distinction between anejo and Reposado. For marketing reasons we decided to upgrade to Anejo with all the risk of loosing the market we had built among Tequila connoisseurs when the flavor varied. Now sales increased and we, at CASA 1921 know it was a good decision and now we have a superior product which was a really big challenge to achieve.
    Thanks for your review
    Juan Collado
    collado@tequila1921.com

    • Your Welcome Sir:

      Your explanation of the decision to Upgrade the Reserve Especial to an Anejo is most welcome. And I agree that the 1921 Anejo is amongst the best I have tasted.

      BTW: I am mystified as to how you managed to leave a comment even before this review was added to my menu system.
      (There are things about wordpress I just do not understand.)

 
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