In each branch of the spirits world, distillers are exploring techniques to create more distinctive and exclusive products for the highly profitable high-end market. In recent years, tequila has moved into a place of prominence, with skillfully crafted aged tequilas earning fans among a growing field of agave aficionados.
One of the newest entries to this sector is Maestro Dobel Diamond, a tequila retailing for around $75 that debuts in select U.S. markets this month. Prepared from a blend of reposado, anejo and extra-anejo tequila--meaning the bottled booze ages for as short as 15 months, and as long as 36--Maestro Dobel Diamond is filtered using a proprietary technology, which strips the spirit of its golden color while leaving the tequila's flavor and aroma unaffected (the makers claim).
In the glass, the Maestro is an interesting character. A bright, herbal fruitiness is the primary aroma. Due to the product's double-distillation, aging, and blending, the agave's distinctive peppery quality is much more subdued. In flavor, the Maestro is surprisingly light, with grassy, vegetal notes, the briskness of citrus peel, and a sweet, almost butterscotch element.
I say surprisingly because in many tequilas of similar age, the spirit has a stronger wood flavor, a gentle oakiness that gives anejo and extra-anejo tequilas a rich character similar to that of aged brandies. The Maestro Dobel Diamond bears little trace of this woodiness. Nor does it have the peppery bite of a silver tequila. What it does have is a complexity created by the production style and blend of differently aged spirits. The crisp flavor may lack the richness desired by fans of other aged tequilas, but those preferring lighter-flavored spirits will welcome this one.
The makers of Maestro Dobel Diamond set out to create something unlike any other tequila in the marketplace. I believe they've succeeded--though sometimes such differences can conflict with consumer expectations. I'm curious to see how tequila fans are receiving Maestro. Have you come across this spirit yet? Thoughts?
About the author: Paul Clarke blogs about cocktails at The Cocktail Chronicles and writes regularly on spirits and cocktails for Imbibe magazine. He lives in Seattle, where he works as a writer and magazine editor.