The world of tequila is a complicated one, torn between large commercial producers that use the latest technology, and smaller, more craft-oriented producers that do things the way that distillers have for generations.
There is not necessarily a clear advantage to taking one path or the other – great tequila can be made by companies both large and small – but there is certainly a fascination with and appreciation for those who take the extra time and effort to follow tradition.
Selección ArteNOM Tequila is a company that celebrates that tradition. They find great spirits produced by small distilleries, in a variety of locales and utilizing a variety of techniques, and bring them to a wider audience.
Their Selección de 1414 Reposado is produced by the Vivanco Family in Arandas, located in the Highlands region of Jalisco, Mexico. They grow their own agave and distill it into their own tequila, putting their personal stamp on everything they do. And that dedication to quality and control shines through in the final spirit.
Despite spending ten months resting in used American white oak barrels, this spirit is very pale in color – only slightly darker than the typical blanco. Naturally, it is 100% agave, in this case Blue Weber. It has a rich and appealing aroma of agave, both vegetal and sweet.
Once sipped, those same qualities come across on the palate. There is sweetness and a mild vegetal tang, accentuated by a touch of brine. It’s mild, but still very tasty, with spices including cinnamon and clove. Seleccion 1414 Reposado has a lot of different flavor components that are working together in balance, which makes it both complex and delicious.
It has a medium-long finish, not too hot or spicy. Only at the end does it kick in with a little something extra to remind you that you’re drinking a real tequila. But it never beats you over the head. This is subtle, rather than bold.
Overall, Selección ArteNOM Reposado is sophisticated and rich, highly recommended for both sipping and mixing. (It made an outstanding Margarita, although I felt it disappeared in the Paloma.)