How in the world did early man, and for that matter early woman, ever figure out how to eat and drink the things that they ended up eating and drinking? I mean really, did these people roll out of the cave in the early morning, realize their empty stomachs were growling because they were hungry and then start taste testing everything in sight?
Rocks were probably very quickly discovered to be too tough to eat and hard on the teeth. Sand, even though it went down a bit more easily, just wasn’t satisfying. Tree limbs and leaves weren’t much better although they were more tender than pebbles and bits. Bushes and grasses were even more tender but didn’t really get the job done either. Some bugs weren’t bad but others made you puke. Besides, eating bugs all day was incredibly tiring because they were so small you needed to find hundreds to make the stomach stop complaining.
Eventually those cave dwellers started following animals around for two reasons. First they observed them and ate what they ate because they figured if it didn’t make the critters up-chuck it wouldn’t hurt them either. Secondly, eventually man discovered murder, slaughter and mayhem and started to eat the furry ones and even each other and that led to the meat and potato diet which is still popular today. Back while they were still observing animals they noticed that the creatures really liked over ripe fruit and that it made them stumble about and smile a lot. So man, wanting to stumble about and smile a lot tried it and lo and behold those fermented fruits were full of alcohol and this turned out to be the second most important discovery of his existence. The most important discovery came along centuries later when man realized that woman loved diamonds and that eventually led to warfare and the industrial revolution but that’s a story for another time.
That whole process of trial and error gave rise to the parable of the Mikey. This legend has reputedly been confirmed by pictographs on cave walls discovered by archeologists in Southern France in 1969 and confirmed through ancient monastic parchment scrolls. The story goes that the Mikey’s two brothers, Fred and Barney were seriously tired of puking from eating the wrong things and began incessantly arguing;
“I’m not gonna try it, you try it.”
“I’m not gonna try it and you can’t make me try it, eat sand.”
“I’m not gonna eat sand again, hey I know, let’s get Mikey to try it.”
Sound familiar? That ancient text was eventually adapted, in 1972, by the Quaker Oats Company to promote their breakfast cereal through a memorable TV commercial.
You see what I’m getting at? Now, let’s fast forward to Mexico, August 14th 1419 exactly 100 years before the Spanish arrive and conquer the entire country and force everyone to speak their language and share their VD. Three brothers, Pedro, Jesus and Mikey are walking in the desert near Tequila Mexico and they are hungry and thirsty and they spy this blue agave plant sprouting from the arid desert floor. This plant is mean and nasty looking with many long arms of really hard green plant matter serrated along each side with pin point sharp spikes challenging anyone to draw near and be stabbed. Pedro whips out his switch blade and deftly slices off a spike, shaves the needles and presents it to Jesus to try. Well Jesus wasn’t born yesterday but Mikey was so Jesus forces Mikey to try it. Mikey bites into it but it is hard and unyielding so he grasps it by the end and actually manages to suck a few drops of juice out of it and smiles. Driven by their thirst, that’s enough to make Pedro and Jesus slice of some pieces and try it themselves. At that point they realize they are not going to get much out of it in this manner but they do notice at the base of the plant is a large pinas (pineapple) shaped part and they unearth the whole thing and after slicing and dicing it they actually get enough to slake their thirst. As luck would have it, the brothers run the local brew pub/cantina and figure that besides brewing Corona and Dos Equis they might get this stuff to ferment and so dug up a few pinas to take back with them. At first they called this stuff Mikeyquila but it didn’t sell very well so they renamed it after their home town, Tequila, and sales soared and the rest of course is history.
If you think my history of the Agave and Tequila is wild and wonderful you need to go to the Distinguete Tequila site, http://www.tequiladistinguido.com/ and read their version of history. It is an incredible odyssey that reads like a Mexican combination of Dallas/The Waltons/Bonanza/Zorro. You won’t be disappointed.
Now, armed with a boatload of disingenuous historical background, it’s on to the task at hand.
Distinguete Silver: The label of this Silver Tequila looks like it was forged out of metal and has the appearance of heavy ancient silver and is three dimensional in its look and feel. The liquid within is perfectly clear and clean. A snifter full gives off a deep nose of ripe agave that is both fruity and yet mellow. It is rich and thick on the tongue with a bit of a peppery tickle and yet it is tame and rolls around in the mouth like a French kiss from an old flame. It slides down the throat smoothly with modest heat. Once it has left the building it leaves a warmth and tingle in the mouth that ebbs away leaving a hint of fruit and a desire to do it again. Well worth around $45.35 for 750ml.
Distinguete Reposado: Same heavy label but this time in pale gold that compliments the soft, muted golden liquid inside. The nose was disguised as a very delicate bourbon with traces of oak. DUH, this was obviously due to being aged in oak barrels formerly used to age bourbon. The agave aroma was fruity and faint but still presented pleasantly, overall a very agreeable mélange of fragrances highlighted by a top note of vanilla. It is surprisingly sharper on the tongue than the silver and crisper and not as thick and creamy with a more pronounced punctuation of agave. It enters the mouth and introduces itself to the tongue in no uncertain terms while speaking loudly enough to be heard by the rest of the mouth. It then lies down quietly upon the tongue in quiet ambush and when finally swallowed exposes its sharp agave highlights and bourbon shadows. It finishes with a peppery, alcohol inspired tingle that lingers a while. As I move my tongue around in my mouth I find pleasant pockets of residual pepper that momentarily reignite my taste buds. $48.41 for 750ml.
Distinguete Anejo: Heavy metal label with 3D lettering complete this trio however in a deeper gold complementing the more vibrant golden color of the liquid inside. Much more mellow and richer and thicker aroma than the Reposado. When introduced to the nose the vanilla leads the conversation with the oak mumbling at the back of the pack. As I take my first sip I acknowledge that this is more the direction I expected the previous Reposado to take but I reckon that a few years of ageing as compared to a few months can make a bit of a difference (for those of you who are not familiar with the term “understatement”, that last remark was a prime example). This is prime Tequila that demurely enters the mouth, tenderly introduces itself to everyone, takes off its coat and proceeds to make friends. Its demeanor is warm and welcome like a young Audrey Hepburn in “Breakfast at Tiffany’s” whose charm cannot be ignored even though she is flirty yet deep just like this tequila. $52.73 for 750ml
By George Brozowski
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