A year after the launch of Casa Dragones Barrel Blend [so-called because it’s a blend of two 100% Blue Agave Añejo tequilas, one aged in new French Oak barrels, and the other in new American Oak barrels, before being masterfully blended at the conclusion of the aging process] Tequila Casa Dragones’ co-founder and Maestra Taquilera, Bertha González Nieves explains the journey taken in creating Casa Dragones’ first aged expression.

“For the first five years, we produced only Joven, so we had the opportunity to focus 100% of our attention on the Joven.  Then, when we passed our five-year mark, we introduced our Blanco, and for the next five years, we focused our attention on the Joven and the Blanco.  We believe in the power of focus, and we want to make sure that when we’re releasing a new product that we have the time to expand the repertoire, and really bestow extraordinary quality and innovation to whatever we’re bringing to the table.  So, we’ve been able to devote our focus for the past two years on research-and-development, figuring out what would be the first aged expression of Casa Dragones.

We went and met with cooperages in different parts of the world, in order to find a partner that would have the patience to deal with us and would be open to tailoring their barrels to our unique specifications.  After really getting to know the different woods from these various regions, we fell in love with two different types of woods

They’re such beautiful woods, and we gave a custom treatment to the barrels to really harmonize our tequila, with the idea that instead of the barrel overwhelming the flavor of the tequila, it’s more complimentary, which is something different in this category.  And we called it Casa Dragones Barrel Blend because we're using these custom-made barrels of new French Oak [specifically Quercus Sessile Oak sourced from five forests in the center of France], and custom-made barrels of new American Oak [from Pennsylvania], and it’s a blend of the tequilas aged in these two styles of wood.  And it's a very beautiful expression; an aged tequila that we believe will become a new favorite in the repertoire of tequila lovers and aged tequila drinkers.”

But don’t take her word for it.  Acclaimed chef/restaurateur Thomas Keller (French Laundry, Per Se) has crowed that Casa Dragones has created “another winner,” saying of the Barrel Blend, “This is the first time I’ve enjoyed aged tequila without ice.  A true sipping tequila, it’s beautiful, and the body and color are extraordinary;” while Yana Volfson (Beverage Director at Cosme and Alta) describes it as “So beautiful and elegant, not too dry, and not too sweet.  We don’t typically carry Añejos because they are too sweet, but this is really, really beautiful. ¡Qué rico!

And while everyone seems to use “beautiful” as the go-to adjective, it’s wholly apropos when describing the appearance, nose, taste, and finish of Casa Dragones Barrel Blend.  Place the glass under your nose, and you’ll smell a bouquet of fresh florals and pear with notes of fig and almond.  Hold it up to the light, and you’ll see a light caramel-colored liquid with bright hues and pronounced legs.  Take a sip (this is a sipping tequila, after all), and your tongue comes alive with the flavors of nuts, nutmeg, and blackberry, after which you’ll savor the long, round finish, with notes of cacao and spicy black pepper.

If the last decade has taught us anything about Gonzalez, it’s that neither she nor Casa Dragones is content to rest on their laurels.  “The thing we love the most in this business is to produce tequila: That's why we're here.  So, we will continue to add new expressions to our repertoire.”

Just kindly allow Gonzalez et al. a couple years to focus on the R&D, first.

Casa Dragones Barrel Blend
Tequila Casa Dragones
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Get into it!

[Editor’s Note: A different version of this article was published in American Way, May 2021 (ink Global)]

As delicious as it is impressive, the 2nd annual Dim Sum Brunch, returning this weekend to Genting Palace at Resorts World Las Vegas, is a must for all lovers of Sino-Gastronomy. Just save room for Chef Lok’s signature Truffle Crab Meat Fried Rice!