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Barrel #680

Eldorado Grill’s one-of-a-kind reposado

This August our General Manager Hannah Miller and myself (Assistant General Manager Callie Porter-Borden) visited Casa Noble Tequila in Guadalajara, Mexico; the first step on our journey to pick out the perfect reposado to serve at Eldorado Grill. This barrel of reposado will be bottled and shipped back home to Wisconsin, where it will be the foundation for a series of Casa Noble events, specials, neat pours and margaritas, and bottle sales at Eldorado Grill. After a tour of the distillery by Marketing Director and Brand Ambassador David Yan (read more about the tour here), it was time to taste from six different barrels and choose our favorite. We agreed that we wanted something that would be delicious to drink neat, but we also wanted it to play well in cocktails and to make a great margarita.

Eldorado Grill's one of a kind reposado

Barrel placement can make a world of difference

We took seats at the tasting table where six glasses were lined up for each of us; tequilas from barrels 714, 680, 594, 639, 571, and 533. Even though each tequila was made with the same methods, the simple matter of barrel placement can make a world of difference in how each tequila tastes. Barrels nearer the floor stay more moist, with less water evaporating from the tequila in the barrel. Barrels at the top have more airflow around them.

Barrel Placement Can make a world

And now we taste

After a brief warm-up, we began by smelling each tequila in turn and taking notes. Hannah and I had wondered how different they would be from each other, but smelling them all side-by-side, the differences were clear. Some were slow to open up, giving off very little aroma on the first smell but surprising me when I revisited them later. Some were more floral, some gave off more sweet agave, some were more yeasty. Next we moved on to tasting. For some tequilas, the palate was a continuation of what we had smelled, and for some the flavors were more of a surprise. Barrel 714 kept changing when I went back to it. Barrel 680 had been a little muted at first but really opened up with some rich, liqueur-like notes and some spice. We talked through some of the differences—barrel 639 was more “masculine,” heavier on the palate and not quite as elegant as some of the others. Barrel 594 had a lot of initial sweetness and was very agave-forward but lacked complexity.

And now we taste

Decisions, decisions

Barrels 594 and 639 were the first we ruled out, followed by Barrels 533 and 571, leaving us with 2 tequilas remaining. This was the most difficult decision. Barrel 714 was interesting—over the course of an hour and a half it had changed continuously, but we didn’t think most people would be sipping on a neat pour for an hour and a half. Barrel 680 had opened up beautifully and stayed that way after we came back from lunch. It was everything you could want in a classic “brown” spirit—in other words, we thought it would please not only a tequila drinker but a whiskey or rum drinker as well. I found 714 to be brighter and more floral, whereas 680 was rich and round but well-balanced. We seemed to be stuck, but David said he had an idea, left the room and came back a few minutes later with two glasses. In each glass was a margarita made with one of our two tequila choices, and he blind-tasted us on them. We all agreed that the second margarita was hands-down better, and it turned out to be barrel 680. Its richness stood out in a cocktail, whereas the more delicate 714 got lost.

We have a winner!

So that decided it. Many of our customers will drink this tequila neat, but just as many will drink it in a margarita, and what a margarita it makes! We can’t wait for Barrel 680 to arrive in Madison this fall so we can debut it at our upcoming Casa Noble Single Barrel Dinner this October, details and dates to follow. We’re also beginning our bottle pre-sale shortly, followed by to-go bottle sales once the tequila is ready. Stay tuned for opportunities to taste Barrel 680 with us!

We have a winner

Tasting notes for Barrel #680

A very heady, liqueur-like bouquet with notes of brown sugar, orange zest, and baking spices. A rich, silky palate tasting of vanilla, toffee, and freshly-churned butter with hints of ginger and citrus. A bit of spice heats up the lingering finish.