A couple weeks ago we went back to the States and discovered that the tequila fairies had sent us the full line of Tequila Semental. They came in attractive bottles that feature a picture window of a fierce bull, suggesting that the tequila might be “fuerte,” with strong or astringent characteristics.
Then we read that the tequila is triple distilled so we scrapped the thought—a third distillation typically smooths the tequila significantly.
Apparently, “Semental” refers to bulls that are considered the strongest and bravest of their kind, and so are used for mating. Or, they are bulls considered so brave and skilled in the bullring that they are spared from death.
Would this tequila prove to live up to its bold name? We sat down with our friend Mark Alberto Holt and did some sampling.
We started with the blanco, which has vegetal aromas, as well as olive, lemon, raw agave and a bit of honey. In the mouth it lightly coats the tongue with similar flavors and has a small tingling finish with some white pepper notes.
The reposado increases in spice, dried fruit and sweetness. Aged just two month in white American Oak with a medium toast, it is gently touched by the wood and carries a light golden hue.
But our favorite of the three was the añejo, which brought caramel, chocolate and honey flavors. In fact, Mark said the strong honey characteristics reminded him of Casa Noble reposado.
The añejo is aged just over a year in hybrid French and American oak, but is deep in amber color. This made us think they might have added a little additive color and flavor to the mix, but we can’t be sure.
Semental is made in the same Amatitan distillery as El Ultimo Agave, Tazon and La Piñata, among others. Priced at $39 for the blanco, $48 for the repo and $59 for the añejo, this has to be some of the distillery’s top-line product.
However, we jut didn’t think it could hold up to these price points. For $60 you could buy a damn good, distinctive añejo, and while the Semental was pleasant and easy to drink, it lacks unique character.
After all, it has to be a really, really special bull if it manages to win the adulation of the crowd and be spared from the sharp sword of the matador.