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Mijenta’s New Cristalino Tequila Was Aged in Symphony Barrels

Mijenta’s New Cristalino Tequila Was Aged in Symphony Barrels

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Have you been converted to cristalino yet? This aged but clear unofficial tequila category continues to grow here in the U.S., with more brands releasing their own expressions. The latest comes from Mijenta, but this cristalino differs from others: It was aged in barrels made from oak that originated in four different states.

If you’re unfamiliar, cristalino refers to an aged tequila that has been filtered to remove the color picked up after spending time maturing in barrels while, presumably, leaving the flavor. The problem is that filtration does usually remove at least some of the flavor, so many brands use additives to restore some of the vanilla, oak, and smoky notes that occur naturally after tequila spends months or years inside a barrel. Mijenta, however, is an additive-free brand (according to the brand itself and the Tequila Matchmaker verification program), so presumably that is not the case here.

According to a rep for the brand, maestra tequilera Ana María Romero was intent on releasing a cristalino, even though it presented some challenges. She decided to use symphony barrels, meaning casks that are made from different types of staves, to age the blanco for eight months (making it a reposado tequila). In this case, the barrels were made of American oak from four different states—Minnesota, Missouri, Pennsylvania, and Virginia—each chosen for its own distinctive property.

According to Romero, the Minnesota oak provides fruity notes, the Missouri oak adds vanilla and spice, the Pennsylvania oak gives notes of spice and smoke, and the Virginia oak adds vanilla and coconut flavors. “These differences are a result of, in part, the terroir from which they come,” she told Robb Report. “As the spirit interacts with each type of wood, which have different pore structures and taste profiles, an ecosystem is created in the barrel that continuously enhances the incredible richness of the tequila. New compounds develop that transform and evolve, bringing to life in the barrel something utterly unpredictable.”

Lastly, the tequila was charcoal-filtered to remove its color. “As a result of the meticulous process, our cristalino possesses the richness of an añejo, drinks like a reposado and is perfect for cocktails that require a clear spirit, like the martini,” said Mijenta cofounder Juan Coronado in a statement. “As this style continues to grow in popularity, this expression will make an excellent choice for mixologists and cocktail enthusiasts.”

Already popular in Mexico, the cristalino category, which is not yet recognized by the Tequila Regulatory Council, continues to expand stateside. Other brands that have recently released cristalinos include Jose Cuervo Reserva De La Familia, Casamigos, and Codigo 1530. Many tequila drinkers (this writer included) are not completely sold on the category—if you want to drink clear tequila, sip blanco; if you prefer something aged, what’s the point of removing the color? Still, this new expression from Mijenta is a good example of a cristalino done right, with notes of agave, vanilla, citrus, and a touch of spice on the palate that make it work well in cocktails or as a neat pour.

You can find Mijenta Cristalino (SRP $120) available now from websites such as Total Wine.

Source: Robb Report

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