Cowboy Dan has gone back to Oregon. He was in New York for a few months, but I only got to see him on his last day here at a going away party. Still, it was a very nice party, hosted by his employer. There was an open bar, with bottled beer and wine, and two liquors, Wild Turkey whiskey and Espolón tequila.
Long before I started writing for Drunk & Unemployed, I happened upon a bottle of Espolón añejo tequila. It was my second bottle of añejo, ever, mostly because I didn’t know there was a difference between “gold” and “aged.” At the time, I didn’t know there was a “rested” (reposado) tequila, either. I didn’t really enjoy tequila all that much, except in the sainted Margarita. I thought that it’s reputation was overblown, and the penchant for fading rock stars to sell their own brands didn’t help.I freely admit I got the bottle of Espolón because it had an etched, metal label and wasn’t produced by someone named “Sammy” or “Jimmy.” I ended up with the añejo, because I thought that older stuff must be better, even though it cost significantly more. Añjeo tequila is better—for sipping, but not necessarily for Margaritas—but that’s been stressed here before. I got lucky when I picked up the bottle of Espolón, because I came across a really mellow, smoky tequila, that tasted great.
I ran out of the Espolón much faster than I ever had any other bottle of liquor. In that brief time, I wanted to know what I drinking, so I finally did some research. Emboldened, I grabbed another brand, to compare. That one was too smoky. The next one, also not Espolón, had an unpleasant menthol finish. Both took me much longer to break. When I finally went back to the Espolón, I was concerned that my local had but one left.
That would be the last Espolón añejo I would ever see. I came across a plata, or silver, about two years ago, but I wasn’t buying tequila then and didn’t know I wouldn’t find it anymore.This Thanksgiving, I saw several squat bottles with the Espolón name in the hot new color, honeysuckle. They had blanco, or white, and reposado, but no añejo. I found that unfortunate, but determined to look up what was going on with my favorite tequila brand when I could. And I promptly forgot about it, planning my Thanksgiving dinner.
So saying goodbye to Cowboy Dan and his party with Espolón as the only tequila, I was reminded again. But I noticed something during the party. They had blanco and reposado, but no añejo, just like my local. This was a disturbing trend. And, as far as I can tell, they no longer sell Espolón añejo at all. It’s now distributed by Skyy Spirits, which, I must admit, does not sit well. Skyy claims this is the same “liquid” as it ever was, but does not explain why it’s only selling one aged tequila, and how can it be the same price as the un-aged?
Still, I snagged an Espolón t-shirt, and, when I can, I’ll try the reposado. The blanco was really good with some Sprite and lime, which I’m calling a “Marge.” It was that kind of party.