premium joven tequilaOften here on the Luxury Latin America blog we’ll review brands of tequila that taste like a high-end spirit but are priced at $40 a bottle or less. Casa Dragones is definitely not one of those. At a list price of $275, this is an ultra-premium tequila best given as a client gift or a wedding present rather than something tossed in the cart as an afterthought at your local liquor store. You definitely don’t want anyone with free reign of your bar to be using this to make cocktails.

The original version of Casa Dragones tequila is (for now anyway) a rather obscure classification called joven, which means young. It is made by taking a well-crafted 100% Blue Agave blanco one and mixing in a little premium anejo (aged) tequila that has been in oak barrels for five years. I’ve been fortunate enough to try the result twice and it is a unique taste profile. You get the full unrestrained agave taste of the unaged version blended with the sophistication and smoothness of the long-aged version, which is usually compared to a cognac or 12-year+ rum.

The first time I had it was on a tasting menu from Enrique Olvera at the Moxi Restaurant in San Miguel de Allende, in Hotel Matilda. It was a fitting place for my first taste, because the company is actually based in San Miguel. The tequila is made in Jalisco, but the actual marketing office is in the heart of Mexico, in Guanajuato state.

It comes with a serious pedigree: the co-founder and CEO Bertha Gonz├ílez Nieves is the first woman to ever become an accredited Maestra Tequilera. The other co-founder is Bob Pittman, the man who started MTV and later was CEO of Clear Channel and COO of AOL Time Warner. The first knows a lot about tequila, the second a lot about marketing, and together they’ve managed to get Casa Dragones talked up by the likes of Oprah and Martha Stewart.

Naturally it comes in a beautiful crystal bottle, with each one signed and numbered like a work of art. All of this is just window dressing if what’s in the bottle isn’t special though, which is what I’ve run into many times with “ultra premium” tequila that really isn’t. I’m happy to say this one’s a different story. I had another occasion to taste it recently, with more time to savor it and let the flavors open up over time, as I attended an event held at the gorgeous Rosewood Mayakoba hotel in the Riviera Maya, during ILTM Americas. I found this joven version to be complex and surprising, revealing new taste notes over time and holding interest for a prolonged sipping session before the food arrived. It also paired well with several different taste profiled.

dragones blancoThe event was held to launch the second Casa Dragones version though, their new blanco version. It’s pretty tough to get anyone to pay three digits for an unaged tequila though, no matter how flush their bank account may be, so this version is priced at a much more accessible $75 a bottle. You still get a nice bottle that’s numbered and signed by Ms. Nieves, but it’s perfumers glass (not crystal) and not engraved. And you won’t have to decide between a bottle of booze and a car payment when purchasing it. With that price point, the idea is to make it into more high-end cocktail bars and luxury hotels where people would rather have tequila in a cocktail rather than in a sipping glass.

See more about the company on the Casa Dragones website. You can also search the retail locator there on where to find it locally or online.

See more Latin American spirits reviews on this blog.