Viva XXXII — or Viva 32, if you’re not Roman — is a new tequila brand with some interesting goals. Created by Yvonne Niami, the tequila claims to be “disrupting the tradition of charging more for a bottle than the tequila inside it. Crafted so you can savor, priced so you can indulge, the brand’s motto is transparency in a bottle. It is luxury that is accessible – more than just liquid in a glass.” Aside from that, 10 percent of net proceeds donated to animal abuse prevention (SPCALA, ASPCA, and START).
Two expressions of Viva XXXII are available, a joven and a reposado. Straight blanco and anejo expressions are not available, at least not yet.
Both are 80 proof. Thoughts follow.
Viva XXXII Tequila Joven – This is a blend of blanco tequila with three-year-old anejo tequila (proportions are not disclosed), filtered to clear. There’s tons of pepper on the nose — both black and cayenne — but also some sweetness, lots of lime, and a bit of baking spice, to boot. The palate pumps of the sweet fruit with exotic notes of pineapple, cinnamon, fresh rosemary, and a bit of butterscotch coming up the rear — but with lots of pepper throughout. The fruit can be a bit much, though — as it tends to dull the agave to some extent. That said, the body is rounded and supple, an appropriate carrier for the sweet-and-heat experience. The heat is what lingers most on the finish, lip-searing red pepper with a subtle undercurrent of crispy bacon. It’s less weird than that sounds. B+ / $40
Viva XXXII Tequila Reposado – Rested six months in new American oak barrels. This is very light in color — through the triangle pattern etched on the bottle, it’s hard to see the color of the tequila at all. The nose is peppery like the Joven, though here the sweeter notes are more traditional vanilla and caramel, with herbal agave underpinning it all. The palate follows suit, impregnating the vanilla with clear lime notes and a hint of coconut. A gentle, sugar-forward reposado, it finds tart citrus notes on the finish that elevate it beyond the typical. A- / $45