Clase Azul tequila reviewUsually when you hear premium tequila described as coming in “a beautiful bottle,” that bottle is usually glass. There are a few that are packaged in real Mexican pottery though and the Clase Azul packages are real works of art. Made by hand on a pottery wheel, fired, and hand-painted with fine glazes, these are gifts that will create a lasting impression on the lucky recipient. This is not a tequila bottle you want to hide in a closed bar cabinet. It’s something to put out on display like a beautiful vase.

You won’t normally buy an expensive bottle of liquor just for nice packaging, however. At least not more than once. Thankfully Clase Azul is not one of those tequilas where the bottle and marketing hype justify the price more than what’s inside. This is a premium spirit that would really stand out in a blind taste test.

This is from a small operation where the master distiller chooses the organic agave fruit at the height of maturation and cooks it with steam in traditional brick ovens. He distills it three times in copper stills, and stores it all at least eight months in oak barrels. The result is simply divine. The first impression is of sweet, ripe agave and as it rolls past your tongue, a whole array of complex tastes come out, from the dark and earthy to the bright and flowery. This is some of the most interesting and balanced tequila I’ve every tried (and as a tasting editor who lives in Mexico, that’s a lot).This is a true highland tequila, with more going on in the mouth and a much smoother finish than the more famous, high-volume brands you see on every bar shelf. Needless to say, it’s for sipping, not mixing. Save the more clumsy stuff for your cocktails.

But hey, you don’t have to take my word for it. Clase Azul reposado has won gold awards in beverage competitions and gotten scores in the high 90s from known spirits reviewers.

If you want to go for the anejo version, you’ll pay a lot more for that, but for a reason. It’s aged for five years in barrels that used to hold sherry. I haven’t tried that yet, but I’m sure it’s something quite special.

premium tequila bottleThat out of the way, back to these decanters.”In a small town, over one hundred Mexican artisans spend their days handcrafting each bottle, one at a time.” The company goes on to say on their website that each one takes two weeks to complete. Two weeks! Now that list price of $90 seems like a bargain. You could easily pay that much for a piece of quality talavera pottery in Puebla, but in this deal you’re getting reposado that’s way above some higher-priced brands as well.

The hand-painted pottery is topped by a silver dome and cork, topping off the decanter with a gleam. If you’re looking for a special holiday gift for an important business client or tequila lover, you can’t go wrong with this one.

See more at the Clase Azul website in English.