United Distillers & Vintners (UDV) North America unveiled its premium 1800 Single Barrel Tequila just in time to ring in the new millennium. The brand, which is 100% blue-agave tequila, has been resting in 300 small French oak barrels since 1997. The tequila under this line will be bottled directly from the individual barrels, ensuring that each bottle is pure and unblended. As a result, each 1800 Single Barrel bottle offers a distinct flavor and taste-positioning this tequila among the more high-quality alcoholic beverages.
“Traditionally people think of tequila as a brand that you use in margaritas and shots,” explains Velvet Mickens, director of tequila/straight spirits at the Stamford, Connecticut-based UDV. “That’s pretty limiting. The industry is moving toward aged tequila or more high-end tequila. We’re educating consumers about the different ways that the product can be used and the new types available. We want to legitimize the tequila category, [establishing] that it’s not just a young person’s drink, it’s a quality product.”
The $18,000 price tag on each of the line’s barrels certainly distinguishes the brand from lower-end tequila products. If you want to spring for your own barrel-which comes individually numbered and engraved with the buyer’s name-some barrels are still available. Otherwise, you’ll have to settle for a hand-labeled 1800 Single Barrel bottle, which sells for around $60. Log on to www.tequilas.com to find a retailer near you.
Like any fine spirit, Tequila has its own language
- Agave Azul/Blue Agave: A cactus look-alike from the lily family used to make tequila. The plant takes 10 years to mature.
- Añejo Tequila: Añejo (pronounced “an-yay-ho”) translates as “aged.” This process takes place in small American or French oak barrels. The older the tequila, the higher the price.
- Blanco/White Tequila: Silver or white tequila that is less than 30 days old.
- Caballito: The Spanish word for the Mexican shot glass used by people who enjoy tequila is pronounced “ca-ba-yee-toh.”
- Jalisco: “Ha-lees-ko” is the Mexican state that produces the majority of the world’s tequila.
- “Laid to rest”: Term referring to the date the tequila barrel was put into storage to age.
- Margarita: This popular alcoholic beverage accounts for more than 60% of tequila consumption in the U.S.
- Worm: Traditionally, worms are included in mezcal, an unregulated alcoholic beverage also distilled from the agave, as a marketing gimmick. If you find worms in your tequila, it’s not authentic.