We’re all about agave spirits this week. If you’ve been tempted, but usually stick to whisky then read on, because we’ve picked out some terrific Tequila and mezcal matches based on your preferred whisky profile.
It’s no surprise that at Master of Malt, we’ve got a soft spot for whisky. But, increasingly, we’re seeing more and more of you opt for agave, with premium Tequila taking off in a big way. And it’s not just Tequila – plenty of Mexican spirits are on the rise, with the likes of mezcal now a mainstay in the cocktail scene, and bottles of raicilla and pechuga taking pride of place at many a home bar.
In the UK and beyond, this is a welcome change, where public perceptions of Tequila have been hampered by early introductions to sub-par spirits, drunk in excess, and with too much salt. The agave fans among you will know that in many export markets, agave spirits haven’t been given the recognition they deserve, whereas whisky has tended to dominate when it comes to conversations surrounding craft and quality. But this has changed massively in recent years as consumer demand for small-scale, single-variety, and premium agave spirits grows.
Whisky drinkers who haven’t come around to agave yet might find that there’s a lot to love. And plenty of the flavour notes you look for in a whisky are there in agave spirits too. So if you’re agave-curious or already an aficionado, here are some spirits to consider when you’re next shopping for a bottle.
If you like: Great taste and great value Singleton of Dufftown 12 Year Old
Why not try: Rooster Rojo Reposado Tequila
Think of the whiskies you keep going to again and again, for very good reason. They won’t break the bank but don’t scrimp on quality either, working just as well as a weeknight sipper or mixed into cocktails. When we’re talking Tequila, this is where Rooster Rojo Reposado comes in. Made from 100% agave and double pot distilled, it’s easy-going, approachable, and delivers on value.
If you like: Seriously smoky Caol Ila 12 Year Old
For those who like things on the smoky side, mezcal is your one. Mezcals often have earthy smoke, mineral, and medicinal notes, thanks to the agave being cooked in the likes of earthen pits. There are many parallels to be drawn if you’re already a fan of the coastal character of peated Islay whisky, with plenty of mezcals, such as Dos Hombres Mezcal and Tres Tribus Ensamble Mezcal making great choices for smoky sipping.
If you like: Big oak influence in Woodford Reserve Double Oaked
Why not try: VIVIR Tequila Reposado
If you’re a fan of sugar, spice, and everything nice in your whisk(e)y, then VIVIR Tequila Reposado might just be the one for you. This 100% agave Tequila is an easy crossover for bourbon lovers seeing as it’s been aged in bourbon casks for at least six months, but should be equally pleasing for anyone who likes things oaky. It’s full of silky sweet vanilla notes, oaky char, and woody spice – toasted marshmallows come to mind with this one.
If you like: Delicate grassy notes and peppery spice in Glenkinchie 12 Year Old
Why not try: El Mayor Blanco Tequila
It’s not all oak and smoke; blanco Tequilas are bursting with complex herbal notes, and there’s plenty of fruit to be found alongside all shades of pepper. If you’re a fan of lighter, Lowland whiskies, you might find yourself liking quality blanco Tequilas, like this one from El Mayor, which has flavours of white pepper, delicate florals, and a medley of citrus.