I’m always looking for an interesting new tequila brand I haven’t heard of to try and I recently picked up a bottle of Evaga Extra Anejo in a store in Guanajuato, Mexico. It turns out this one is made in the namesake town of Tequila in Jalisco, the home of Jose Cuervo, Sauza, Orendain, and others.
The main categories of tequila you see on bar shelves are blanco, reposado, and añejo. The first isn’t aged at all, the second gets a few months in oak barrels, and the last one is generally aged six months to two years. In 2006, Mexico added a fourth official category, “extra anejo, or XA. To meet the requirements for this, a tequila must spend at least three years in oak barrels.
For some purists, this is way too long, while others who love a complex after-dinner spirit drunk neat think this is just about right.
In my experience, both sides can be right. If the master distiller is not careful, four or five years in oak barrels in a hot climate like Mexico can result in a spirit where the oak has overpowered the agave and wrestled it to the ground. Thump thump thump, the lucha libre referee raises the oak’s arm in victory and the agave is out for the count.
Tasting Evaga Extra Añejo Tequila
Thankfully this Evaga tequila strikes a good balance and the agave is working harmoniously with the oak like a good tag team. Yes, it tastes as dark as it looks and is a serious sipping tequila after spending four years in barrels. It would be a crime to mix this with anything since there’s so much going on in the mouth already.
You get the oak overtones you would expect from that long in barrels: some dark chocolate hints, a few earthy tones, a few astringent touches. But the sweet agave sweetness takes the leading role and supplies lots of spice, some citrus flavors, and and pepper. The wood definitely takes a back seat in the nose and then fades to the background on the finish as well, where the fruit takes the final bow.
Overall, this tangy citrus sweetness gives the feeling it is moving through your whole mouth, resulting in a relatively balanced and satisfying sipping experience.
The Evaga Tequila Presentation
While some bottles of extra anejo tequila can run hundreds of dollars in stores, Evaga XA can sometimes be found for under $60 in the USA and as low as $40 in Mexico. That’s a terrific bargain for something that spent three years in oak barrels in a warehouse after distillation and is as balanced as this one is.
So you can buy this for a gift without laying out a few Ben Franklins and the presentation is nice enough to make an impression. It’s in a heavy glass bottle with some heft, first of all, then on the back is a nice embossed pattern in the glass.
The top gives the price point away a little: it’s made of plastic instead of wood or glass, but that still beats the screw top you’ll run into with some brands. It gives a nice “pop” when you pull off the cap.
While there are a few XA tequila brands I have liked a little more than this one, it’s hard to go wrong with this Evaga brand if you can find it and you’ll be opening up something people haven’t seen 100 times already on store shelves and in bars.
See more on Evaga tequila at the official website here.
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