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Something Awesome and Surprising in a Bottle

- By James Preston Allen, Publisher

It seems a good Cinco de Mayo celebratio­n can’t be had these days without tequila.

As a result, the quantity and the prices of distilled, true blue agave have risen in the minds of North American consumers. Back in the day tequila mostly meant Jose Cuervo, or something else not made with real agave, and most of it gave you a bad hangover. This was mostly true because what was delivered was in part cut with straight grain alcohol — something I don’t recommend. Little by little, Americans north of the border have become more hip to the difference between the unique flavors of distilled agave. It’s now gotten to the point where outside of the top 10 major brands (listed here in descending order by sales) Jose Cuervo, Patron, Sauza, 1800 Tequila, Don Julio, El Jimador, Hornitos, Clase Azul, Milagro Tequila, there is an increasing number of “boutique” tequilas — some promoted by celebritie­s as a kind of vanity liquor.

What hath George Clooney wrought? The Oscar-winner’s Casamigos brand is far from the first celebrity-backed tequila to hit the market. But the rise and nearly $1 billion sale of his brand has seen a wave of actors, musicians, athletes and even reality stars follow in his wake. Over the last two years, some serious star power has signed on as either financial backers or ambassador­s for tequila brands. The most high profile of the tequila brands includes actor Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson’s Teremana, future NBA Hall of Famer LeBron James’ Lobos 1707, NBA Hall of Famer Michael Jordan’s Cincoro, recording artist Nick Jonas’ Villa One, actor Pierce Brosnan’s Don Ramon and reality television star and beauty products magnate Kendall Jenner and her tequila brand, 818.

Likewise, some of the bottles have become most exquisitel­y shaped or exotically disguised to make them seem more valuable if not luxurious, like a high-priced bottle of Versace perfume. Most of what’s inside are not much more or less than the stuff in a regular bottle.

One of the latest arrivals on the tequila scene is called AsomBroso (pronounced Ah-sum-broso). Translated into English, it means “amazing” alongside all of its other synonyms. The makers of the tequila brand say that their tequila is very surprising and makes you feel pleasure or admiration. I have to admit that having tasted a good number of tequilas in my time, this one is worth exploring. That it comes in an oddly shaped gourdish-looking bottle (some say phallic) is not what makes it special. Its subtle flavors are for those exploring the realm.

There are a variety of choices that range from silver to rose to gold and then a rich dark Gran Reserva that is unlike any of the other brands. The ones that I tasted recently are what you’d call “sipping” tequilas as each has its own distinctiv­e flavors, unlike infused vodkas, which I refuse to drink because I consider them to be a marketing fad. The La Rosa- reposado has a kind of flowery fragrance with a quite spicy taste and vanilla finish. I can easily imagine this for an afternoon cocktail party or for those who are not well-educated on the difference­s between tequila flavors. The various vintages are aged from three months to 12 years. Some are aged in virgin French oak barrels and the darker ones are double-barreled in hand-chosen port barrels from Portugal.

The one that stood out for me was the Gran Reserva, aged five years in French oak barrels that have been compared to a sophistica­ted cognac.

However, I found it to have hints of something richer with a back taste that was almost sweet.

Ricardo Gamarra is the founder and CEO of AsomBroso Tequila, a local entreprene­ur from Redondo Beach California, who formed various other enterprise­s in the creative arts industry.

Gamarra began and built Focus on Cars, an automotive prep company catering to the automotive advertisin­g industry, and South Bay Studios, a production studio facility in 1984. After many years in the creative production industry, Gamarra made a move and set off to launch his very own tequila brand.

According to industry sources, Gamarra was the first distiller to market a pink-hued, Bordeaux-rested reposado, the first to rest a five-year añejo in new French oak barrels, and the first to rest an extra-aged 11-year añejo tequila in a new French oak barrel. His highest achievemen­t today, The Collaborat­ion, is a 12year double barrel-rested tequila that combines his 11-year Extra Añejo with Silver Oak Cellars Cabernet Sauvignon American oak barrels for an additional 13 months. This produced tequila that achieved a rating of 97 from industry expert Anthony Dias Blue in The Tasting Panel Magazine, making it the publicatio­n’s highest rated tequila. AsomBroso’s tequilas have also been awarded multiple honors from the Robb Report’s “Best of the Best,” and named “Top Tequila” in the San Francisco World Spirits Competitio­n.

According to their website they claim to have developed the proprietar­y recipe of AsomBroso tequila using 100% estate grown, blue weber agave matured for an average of 8 years, which they produce and bottle at their 45year old, state of the art distillery in Jalisco, Mexico. It is available at Total Wine & More as well as BevMo.

 ?? Photos courtesy of AsomBroso ?? AsomBroso Gran Reserva Ultra Anejo tequila. Right, AsomBroso La Rosa Bordeaux tequila.
Photos courtesy of AsomBroso AsomBroso Gran Reserva Ultra Anejo tequila. Right, AsomBroso La Rosa Bordeaux tequila.
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