Review: Storywood Tequila Reposado and Anejo Speyside Scotch Barrel Aged

Review: Storywood Tequila Reposado and Anejo Speyside Scotch Barrel Aged

It isn’t always clear what barrels are used to age tequila. Most often it’s ex-bourbon and sometimes new oak. But Storywood is the first brand I know of to age all of its tequila in ex-Scotch casks. Begun in 2018, Storywood was founded by Michael Ballantyne, who was born in Scotland and raised in Houston, Texas. It isn’t clear which distillery he’s getting his barrels from, but it specified as a Speyside Scotch. In discussion with Ballantyne, I learned that the Scotch barrels were formerly bourbon casks in which the Scotch whisky was aged for 10 years. In these well-worn casks, the reposado was aged for 7 months and the añejo for 14. The 100% blue agave used as the base is from the Lowland regions. Let’s pop them open and see how the influence of these unusual barrel choices impact the finished product.

Both expressions are 80 proof. NOM 1137.

Storywood Tequila Reposado – First things first: This is great tequila. The nose offers bold, rounded notes of lightly sweet roasted agave, white pepper, and green pepper. The palate offers more of the same, and tasted blind, I might have mistaken it for a blanco tequila. I’m guessing that the wood is simply quite a bit more spent than a regular bourbon barrel would be, and in this instance, this is a good thing, since it allows the underlying tequila to shine. Midpalate, the barrel asserts itself more as light notes of honey and vanilla join in, then the finish brings a touch of chocolate. Really delicious, and the price is not awful. A / $51 [BUY IT NOW FROM THE WHISKY EXCHANGE]

Storywood Tequila Añejo – Wood plays a much bigger role in the añejo, but even after 14 months of aging, the core agave doesn’t disappear. The nose opens with inviting milk chocolate and toasted oak, circling lighter agave notes. The palate is more complex, offering flavors of toasted nuts, herbaceous agave, gentle wood tannins, and milk chocolate — all these flavors rolling playfully across the tongue. Chocolate and agave linger on the long finish. I can see how this grew out of the reposado, but the añejo is nonetheless quite different. I recommend trying both. A / $85 [BUY IT NOW FROM THE WHISKY EXCHANGE]

Storywood Tequila Reposado




Robert Lublin teaches whisk(e)y and wine appreciation classes for Arlington Community Education, near Boston, MA. He is also a Professor at the University of Massachusetts Boston and has published books and articles on Shakespeare as well as theatre and film history.

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