The George Strait-owned Tequila Codigo is back with two new expressions, a “rosa” reposado rested for 3 months in uncharred Napa Valley Cabernet French White Oak wine barrels (then finished in sherry casks), and a mezcal. Let’s give them both a try.
Tequila Codigo 1530 Rosa Reposado George Strait Edition – The light pink color of this reposado tequila is pretty and evocative, immediately connoting a gentle, floral experience. Sure enough, the tequila is soft as silk on the nose, lightly floral and fruity with notes of strawberry and milk chocolate, but backed by an eventual lacing of peppery agave if you inhale deeply. Chewy caramel sweetens up the palate quickly, again punchy with notes of strawberries and cream before segueing into a lightly herbal character that plays nicely with its expressive vanilla and berry fruit notes. The finish, however, does let the agave back into the mix for a gentle encore. This is a decidedly soft, quiet tequila, that purists may find a bit lifeless, but its exotic flavor profile is certainly worth a look. (Note that there is a non-George Strait edition of this tequila that spends only one month in wine casks.) 80 proof. NOM 1616. B+ / $80 [BUY IT NOW FROM CASKERS]
Mezcal Codigo 1530 Artesanal – An ensamble of espadin and tobala agave. Another unusual construction, this mezcal is rested in sauvignon blanc wine barrels for an unstated length of time before bottling. The nose isn’t overly surprising, sweet and smoky in equal proportions, with a spritz of orange peel, a shaving of green onion, and perhaps some shallot. It’s toasty with campfire notes but never meaty or overbearing with leathery notes the way many mezcals can be. On the palate, the mezcal brightens up quite a bit, perhaps owing to the influence of the wine barrel, showing lemon and lime peel and a bit of coconut-laced gooseberry, but give it time in glass and a heavy, almost oppressive, smokiness soon comes to bear. A thick maritime character gives this spirit a chewy, chalky finish that’s hard to shake. I immediately long for the fruitier notes that are oh so fleeting. 84.4 proof. No NOM designated. B+ / $65