Are you ready to get cerebral, emotional, and HORIZONTAL? Tomas Estes has come to town with his newest vintages of Tequila Ocho in tow. Prepare to have deep philosophical ruminations about the nature of tequila production. Do you have a notebook handy? The Master Class is in session! Your Tequila Whisperer is pleased and honored to welcome back Tequila Ambassador to the European Union & founder of Tequila Ocho, Sr. Tomas Estes! We taste the newly released Ocho extra anejo along with the just-bottled “El Puertecito” plata, vintage 2011. Along the way Tomas introduces us to the new category of 108% de agave tequila! What does THAT mean? Watch and learn about the pending release of “Curado” tequila! “El Puertecito” plata (2011) is a thick and complex ride through a wonderfully balanced Rancho. Lippy was struck by the miles-deep mouth feel of this blanco. What also pleased him was the balance of many complex and fruity flavors. This was easily the “thickest” and fruitiest Rancho ever presented by Tequila Ocho. Though “El Puertecito” doesn’t bring quite as much green agave notes forward as in older Ranchos (most notably “El Carrizal” 2008), the agave taste is certainly there and the addition of the herbal fruit makes this plata an instant classic. The “El Vergel” extra anejo (3 years in used Jack Daniels barrels) will be perhaps the lightest-tasting extra anejo you’ll ever experience. In keeping with Tequila Ocho’s philosophy of “Agave Above All”, the wood notes of this XA have been significantly dialed back. Th’ Lip found it hard to get too excited about this Ocho variant. Without a thick and “brown” bottom end to the flavor, the tequila ultimately ends up tasting like a rich anejo. It’s a very fine tasting anejo to be sure, but mostly lacking in the deeper caramel, toast, vanilla and other flavors which Lippy enjoys in an extra aged product. You gotta give Ocho credit for a consistent philosophy, though. There’s no acquiescing to fashion or over-wooded trends. This XA is true to its heritage.