We should probably start with the bottle. That’s a human heart, pressed out of red-tinted glass. Inside is blanco tequila, the brand name Sangre de Vida, which previously made some of those cute Day of the Dead skull-themed decanters as well. Sangre de Vida was sued by KAH for copyright infringement and ultimately lost its case; the skulls went away, and in came the heart.
It’s unclear whether the juice in the bleeding heart is the same as that which was in the painted skull — though my tasting notes are quite a bit different, so I’m guessing there have been some changes under the hood as well as changes to the hood itself.
Let’s taste the new blood.
The nose has a lot going on, more than you typically see in a blanco tequila. It’s immeditely quite pungent, thick with agave and red pepper, alongside hints of lemongrass, which provides both citrus and herbal notes. A healthy amount of lime zest adds a bit more aromatic zing as it opens up in the glass.
A gentle whiff of smoke leads the way to a robust palate, bold with white pepper, cayenne, and gunpowder, though just a hint of sweetness manages to make its presence felt for a time. Just as the aromatic buildup would imply, the body is immensely long and intense, with a finish that really doesn’t quit. The peppery notes hang on to the tongue for what feels like minutes — which is ultimately perhaps more energizing than I might want in my glass of tequila. Sangre de vida, indeed.
B+ / $40 / sangredevida.com