Review: Don Julio Tequila Reposado Double Cask – Lagavulin Barrel
Don Julio’s first experimental Double Cask release — which saw reposado tequila finished for 30 days in Buchanan’s Scotch whisky barrels — wasn’t a one-off. Now the brand is back with a second Double Barrel release, this one finished in Lagavulin whisky casks. With Lagavulin the Ron Swanson-approved It Whisky of the moment, I expect interest to run high for this one.
Let’s hand it over to Don Julio for more detail:
Tequila Don Julio announces the release of its second limited-edition barrel-finished tequila, Tequila Don Julio Reposado, Double Cask, a traditional Reposado tequila now finished for two weeks in casks which previously held Lagavulin Islay Single Malt Scotch Whisky. Inspired by Don Julio González’s innovative spirit and passion to take the art of tequila making to new heights, current Master Distiller Enrique de Colsa is continuing the legacy by producing another truly unique tequila.
Made in collaboration with Colin Gordon, the Lagavulin Distillery Manager, the latest variant to the portfolio is a rich and nuanced expression of Tequila Don Julio Reposado now finished in casks which previously held one of the most treasured Single Malt Scotch Whiskies – Lagavulin Islay Single Malt Scotch Whisky – known for its full bodied, bold flavors derived from the small island of Islay, home to the Lagavulin distillery.
Since Don Julio González revolutionized the tequila industry in 1942 when he began producing the spirit, the brand has always sought to deliver innovative offerings that are also representative of the quality that Tequila Don Julio has been known for. Master Distiller Enrique de Colsa, spent two years perfecting this innovation, constantly experimenting with the vast cask options available within the Diageo portfolio. He landed on casks which previously held Lagavulin Islay Single Malt Scotch Whisky as it embodies the finest, pungent flavors native to the region that blended well with the traditional Tequila Don Julio Reposado.
Of special note in all of that, notice that the length of time of the finishing in the Lagavulin barrels is a mere two weeks, a fact which makes perfect sense based on my tasting notes.
The color of the tequila is light straw, very pale, and the nose offers nothing but freshness: bright lemon notes, cinnamon buns, vanilla, and a modest agave spike. There’s just a hint of iodine and seaweed here, but nothing that evokes peat or smoke.
The palate is equally gentle and refreshing, with lots of citrus and more vanilla, laced just so with herbal agave notes but extremely mild from beginning to end. On the finish it’s a surprisingly refreshing tequila, lively and engaging — but, it must be said, with virtually nothing to it that evokes the island of Islay. Nevertheless, if you set that expectation aside, it’s a lovely reposado that stands perfectly well on its own, never mind the Scots.