It may be difficult to believe, but just over 9 new tequila brands are launched each and every month, according to the data in our own Tequila Matchmaker NOM database.
This might make it sound like there are a wide variety of unique and exciting tequilas available in the marketplace, but it’s not the case. Unfortunately, most of these new brands smell and taste similar, and in many cases they are the same product in a different bottle.
As a result, it’s been very difficult for us to get excited about tequila brands lately, until now.
Pasote Tequila is a new brand made by Felipe Camarena in his distillery, El Pandillo, which is located in the Los Altos region of Jalisco. (We visited this distillery last year.) Anything that comes out of this cool distillery and made by Felipe (a mad-scientist master distiller!), is pretty much guaranteed to create some excitement. Pasote does not disappoint.
One of the innovative features that Felipe built into his distillery was the ability to capture rainwater, so it can be used for distillation. Pasote is made with 40% rainwater, and 60% spring water. Although agave tends to get a lot of the credit for the aromas and flavors found in tequila, water is just as important. The quality of the water has a lot to do with the aromas and flavors found in the final product.
The agaves used in Pasote come from one of Felipe’s fields in the highlands of Jesus Maria. They are fully matured, cooked in traditional brick ovens, crushed using a mechanical tahona, fermented in stainless steel tanks, and then double-distilled in copper pot stills. The reposado and añejo are then aged in used bourbon barrels.
In other words, Pasote is made using traditional production methods! This is one of the reasons why it has a character all its own.
It’s nice to see another new brand in the marketplace that values traditional processes. These practices, cherished by aficionados, have been largely abandoned by most brands, and replaced with cheap and overly industrialized shortcuts.
Because of this, we have added Pasote to our list of Premium Tequila Brand Partners within the Tequila Matchmaker app. This is a list of brands that we trust, respect, and drink regularly because they aren’t cutting corners.
So, how does it taste? The thing that stands out the most for nearly everyone who has tried Pasote so far is its “minerality,” especially in the blanco. We can definitely pick up the element of rainwater in the aroma. You know that smell in the air just before it starts to rain? There’s a subtle hint of this on the nose, which is very unique.
There’s also plenty of cooked agave, and the natural sweetness that it brings. We’re not taking about the “overly fake sweet” so common in the marketplace today–we’re talking real legitimate and perfectly placed sweetness. There’s also plenty of earth, brine, and vegetal aromas and flavors as well. It’s both complex, and easy to drink.
I scored the blanco a 93, and Scarlet gave it a 91. We don’t get to score products this high very often.
I also really enjoyed the reposado, and scored it a 91. Scarlet’s review was an 87. The strengths of the blanco are still present here, and the aroma contains licorice and peach. The flavor has a tiny bit of grapefruit and some white pepper.
The star of this lineup is the blanco, and our scores reflect that. As we moved into the more aged versions, our scores went lower. The añejo, although a really solid product, was the lowest-scoring version of Pasote for us. I rated it an 87, and Scarlet gave it an 82. It gets bonus points for being a lightly-aged añejo, but we were looking for a continuation of the minerality found in the blanco, and it wasn’t quite there.
Cooked agave and vanilla seemed to be the only dominant aromas and flavors that we could detect. (Full disclosure: We tend to score blancos and lightly aged reposados higher in general, but if you’re an añejo fan, I’m pretty sure you’re going to like this.)
In terms of value, Pasote is really well priced. The blanco at OldTownTequila.com is only $38. The reposado is $45, and the añejo is just $52.
Pasote is owned and imported by 3 Badge Beverage Corporation based in Sonoma, California. I’d like to thank them for having the smarts to get Felipe to make it, and for supporting traditional production methods.
We’d also love to hear what YOU think about any of the Pasote tequilas. Please leave comments below, or rate them yourself using the app.