Imbibe Ice Awards 2008 - Tequila


It may have been the smallest category of all, but the anejo and extra-anejo tequila line-up had one of the largest price ranges in the competition, with prices starting at just over £40/70cl and running up to £250 for the overall winner, Partida Elegante. Whether the UK market was ready for such a high-priced tequila at this stage, the panel weren’t sure, but everyone was in agreement that the entire flight exhibited an impressive array of styles and some really excellent quality.

Bearing in mind that these tequilas were all designed for sipping, good length and body was a must, as well as a substantial mix of spice, a hint of sweetness and some distinct agave characters.

On the subject of design, many felt that tequila had a lot of potential in the bottle sales market, particularly among male consumers in the City, and in this respect, luxurious, impactful packaging was key.

Several of these tequilas were also considered to have plenty of appeal, both in terms of flavour and appearance, for after-dinner sipping – the help of knowledgeable bartenders and sommeliers would be key to developing this opportunity, it was agreed.

The Judges

Myles Davies – freelance consultant, Christian Gaskell – general manager, Green & Red, Nidal Ramini – director, PM Bars, Robbie Bargh – director, Gorgeous Group, Ian Goodman –bar manager, Oxo Tower

ICE winner

Partida Elegante

Made from 100% estate-grown blue agave, hand-harvested and aged in American oak barrels with 40% abv. This super-luxe extra-añejo tequila triumphed on every front, combining some exquisite decanter-style packaging that was a delight to handle, with a very sophisticated spirit. An almost bourbon-like, sweet honey/vanilla nose was followed up by well-integrated, Christmassy flavours of spice, apricots, caramel, raisins and a touch of agave tanginess.

Inspirit Brands, 020 7739 1333

ICE runners-up

2ND Siete Leguas Anejo

This tequila was roundly praised for keeping it real on both design and flavour fronts. Marked highly for a pleasingly musky agave character bolstered by coffee/pepper notes and a softer touch of honey, and an old-school bottle design.

Boutique Brands, 020 7792 9008

3RD Herradura Seleccion Suprema

The jewel-like, ultra-premium decanter-style bottle was a show-stopper, coupled with a seductive tequila with sweet, fruity, slightly waxy aromas (not unlike a Sauternes) and very full-bodied flavours of vanilla and spice.

Coe Vintners, 020 8551 4966

4TH Don Julio Anejo

The traditional-style packaging of this tequila from the highlands of Jalisco was marked highly for combining heritage and luxury appeal with strong branding. Meanwhile the smooth, delicate spirit was judged very sipping-friendly.

Diageo Reserve Brands, 020 7927 5200

5TH Maracame Anejo

This newcomer to the UK stood out with an amber-coloured, añejo spirit that was strong on spicy orange aromas, with a nicely wooded, marmalade palate that moved through to a long, more savoury agave finish.

Emporia Brands, 01483 458700

Best by taste

1 Siete Leguas Añejo
2 Partida Elegante
3 Herradura Seleccion Suprema
4 Rémy Martin XO Excellence
5 Maracame Añejo

Best by design

1= Partida Elegante
2 Herradura Seleccion Suprema
3 Don Julio Añejo
4= Siete Leguas Añejo
4= Siete Leguas D’Antanjo

Editorial feature from Imbibe Magazine - January / February 2008

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