AsomBroso tequila is most widely recognized for its highly distinctive, peculiar, and—dare we say—erotically evocative bottle design. We've seen people behold the bottle for the first time and the eyes widen in arrays of astonishment, intrigue, horror, excitement, or glee... but the eyes always widen. Officially, the bottle is a replica of an 18th century French decanter.
Other potential inspirations have included a Mexican sombrero and a flower. We won't mention what most of the wide-eyed ingenues say it looks like out of politeness but we will mention that it's what happens after "tequila makes your clothes fall off."
Bottle aside, the company is very, very proud of what is inside of those evocative bottles. They are a small, family-owned business dedicated to making great tequila in traditional batch methods. They are carrying some significant critical acclaim for their tequila, having scored very well in the 2007 ad 2008 San Francisco World Spirits Competition (we should note at the time of this writing that they haven't submitted recently to any competition so that their total scores on our database have fallen off a bit relative to other tequilas as a result). We received sample sizes of each of the various AsomBroso expressions, including their Famous Del Porto to try and we offer our thoughts here.
The Platino presents clear in the bottle and has an intense agave aroma and, we swear, a breath of spearmint. One of the most aromatic tequilas we've ever had. On the palate there is not a tingle or whisper of burn with vanilla and more mint flavors. Very creamy and a vanishing smooth finish. That's a triumph of a tequila! "I see this as a tequila for high class ladies in Cuba wearing scarlet red dresses in vintage establishments" announced one of our number.
The La Rosa presents a light pink and is aged in wine barrels. This is very unusual in the tequila world and one that generally gets well-received by the critics. Still, this presents a problem for the macho among us who don't like the idea of pink anything in a glass (it's worth noting, we had a visiting Italian from Europe who announced: "I love the color!"). The refreshing spearmint is still present on the nose... not much in the way of oak-driven aromas nor wine that one might expect from a rested/reposado tequila. Perhaps a chocolate note (do Bordeaux wine grapes smell like chocolate?) Tasting, it has a little tingle and perhaps a breath of dry wine. What it really tastes of is meadow flowers. "I feel like I just ate petals off of a flower!" shouted our friend who was a former US Marine Corps member and has no doubt eaten his fare share of flowers. Overall, it's an interesting adventure but we prefer the Platino. Chilling the tequila with ice improves the flavor dramatically... definitely serve on ice! It becomes almost liqueur like under those circumstances... the Bordeaux is now coming through (albeit lightly).
With the Anejo, we're now getting not just 1 year but 5 years of age on that wonderful Platino. We're expecting a lot of oak-driven vanilla, caramel, and toffee to mix with the agave. On the nose, there is a lot of oak. It doesn't read like a whiskey but it does read like a whiskey barrel that has been growing moss in the jungle for a while. The signature oak caramel sings out of the glass as well. The taste is luscious: all caramel with a thick, viscous mouthfeel and then a finish of wet agave and wood. Finishes warm to hot. A little ice brings out the caramel but doesn't necessarily soften the finish. This is a tequila that challenges for the pedigree of whiskey but fails... like a state college guy trying to break into an Ivy League party. Close but not quite there.
The 11yr Anejo, on the other hand, is full of oak on the nose. Right away we're going to call it: if you want an anejo, avoid the 5yr and go straight to the 11yr AsomBroso. This is important, because at $1,200 a bottle, it should taste good. There are aromas of oak but also of plum and passion fruit. It tastes like toffee and caramel and finishes of honey. It doesn't carry even a trace of heat. Again, almost liqueur-like in its sweetness. Anyone who enjoys unpeated single malt whiskey or Canadian whisky would probably embrace this instantly. A touch of ice brings out even more candy sweetness. "I love this like I love pleasuring women" said our Italian, which is saying something for an Italian. It's an adult version of kids in a candy store. We have a new benchmark for anejo tequilas.
The Del Porto is daunting to approach because it's $3,000 a bottle. Even seeing the glass it feels like you should have an admissions ticket and a lecture to go with it. The tequila presents in a bright red, almost like cranberry juice. It is a base of their 5yr anejo that spent an additional 6yrs in Portuguese port wine barrels. Heavily floral aromas with a lot of cherry and a breath of strawberry. Lots of sweet honey on the nose as well. It's a flood of flavor: the oak and the caramel and the agave and the port all melt on the palate but the result is a bit bitter and a bit stinging going down. Ice pulls out more fruit and sweetness from the tequila, though still a bitter note on the finish. But the more ice dilution, the better. This tequila served on the rocks is much more satisfactory. The aroma is fantastic, the character of the port an exciting departure, but overall we prefer the 11yr Anejo.
AsomBroso puts out a brilliant line of tequilas starting with the fantastic platinum tequila... but it was the 11yr Anejo that was a complete revelation. All across the spectrum of labels, we're excited to see the adventuresome spirit. Very seldom does one see so many different styles of aging and finishes in the tequila world. For all the public antics about the bottle and the general low profile from a publicity standpoint, this is a tequila to seek out under almost any circumstances where sipping is called for.