Sotol may sound like a one-off experience, but Texas-based Desert Door sure does a lot with it, cranking out special editions of this unique, American twist on tequila.
Lady of Spain is Desert Door’s second release in its Explorer Series for 2023, and is actually a relaunch of a previous expression which was aged in a medium toast Spanish sherry cask. There’s no additional, specific aging information provided. A scant 300 bottles were produced.
If you’ve experienced unaged sotol, know that the barrel really does a number on this sometimes rough-and-tumble spirit. The sherry cask is immediately evident, infusing the rustic, slightly vegetal nose with unmistakable notes of roasted nuts and oily citrus. A toasted coconut character builds with a little time in glass, giving the sotol a warmer, autumnal note, with lacings of ginger coming further into focus later on.
The palate is rich and rewarding, heavy with a mix of baking spices but also plenty more — tanned leather, smoked oak staves, and mesquite underbrush — much of this driven by the sotol. Then there’s a nutty, oily quality that’s clearly influenced by the sherry casking, almost showing off some citrus fruit freshness… but not quite. The two halves work well together, the sum of the parts leading you to a kind of grassy, out-in-the-field quality. Fortunately, the sotol isn’t at all drying, as a gentle sweetness driven by caramelized figs and dates brings up the rear, adding some needed sugar to the finish.
I could take or leave unaged sotol, to be honest, but Desert Door is doing some great things when it puts the stuff into barrel. If you run across Lady of Spain (and I’ll be honest, that’s unlikely), give it a shot.
A- / $NA / desertdoor.com