The New Hampshire State Liquor Commission regulates the sale of alcohol in the state of New Hampshire. New Hampshire is one of 18 control states in the nation where the government directly controls the distribution of alcoholic beverages as well as being responsible for the regulation of alcoholic beverages. An important source of revenue for the state, the Commission contributes over 100 million dollars to the General Fund each year. Over the past few years, the NHLC has enhanced their barrel selection program by hand selecting eight barrels of Knob Creek Single Barrel Reserve (click here for our previous post by Lee Stang on Bourbon & Banter about the NHLC and their Knob Creek Barrel selection) as well as breaking a Jack Daniel’s Distillery record by purchasing 16 barrels of Jack Daniel’s Single Barrel whiskey.
Bottles from all of these selected barrels are exclusively available in New Hampshire at NH Liquor & Wine Outlet locations. Visit www.liquorandwineoutlets.com to locate a store and search for product availability. I also know that the NHLC just completed a trip to Kentucky and Tennessee where they hand selected 63 different barrels from five different distilleries. The NHLC has stepped up their barrel buy program in a big way, and it will pay off big time for fans of exclusive bottles and private barrel selections. They have also expanded their barrel selections from bourbon and whiskey to tequila, that’s where I come in. You see, I was recently lucky enough to be asked to sample some barrel aged tequilas that were hand-selected exclusively for the New Hampshire Liquor Commission.
I was sent nine samples in all. Three from Casa Noble, four from Patron, and two from Herradura. By the time you read this, approximately 2,862 bottles from these nine barrels will be available exclusively at NH Liquor & Wine Outlet locations.
I typically focus my reviews on bourbon but tequila is my second favorite spirit and when this opportunity came my way I couldn’t pass it up. I had no idea what I would be getting to sample; I was told that it would be “some tequila samples.” When nine different hand selected barrel aged tequilas arrived, I was pretty excited, to say the least. I’ve listed the entire lot was sent to me including barrel numbers. Out of the nine I received there were obviously a few that I liked better than others and two absolute stars in my opinion. I’m by no means a Master Tequilero, but I tried my best to provide an unbiased opinion to help guide you. I’m not going to review every one in depth, but I will provide a few thoughts and opinions on each. I have grouped each tequila by brand (alphabetically) and then listed them in my order of preference.
Casa Noble Joven
- Age: Six weeks in New Taransaud French Oak Barrels
- Proof: 102
- Price: $45
- Nose: Magic (very hard to describe but trust me), some orange and lime, heavy alcohol.
- Taste: After the 1st sip all I could say was “Wow!” It was a flavor explosion. Exceptionally smooth, warm, but no alcohol burn.
- Thoughts: This was my favorite of all nine barrels, especially when you factor price into it. I know it was aged the least but this one is special. Someone, please send me a bottle or three. MUST BUY
Casa Noble Extra Anejo
- Age: Five years in New Taransaud French Oak Barrels
- Price: $129.99
- Nose: Orange, agave, and some herbal notes.
- Taste: There is a ton going on with this one and in a good way. It’s viscous and smooth with a long finish.
- Thoughts: This bottle is amazing. You can tell that this was aged for a lot longer than all of the others in this tasting. It drank like no other tequila that I’ve ever had. It was almost Grand Marnier or cognac like. This bottle is amazing but it’s not cheap.
Casa Noble Reposado
- Age: 364 days in New Taransaud French Oak Barrels
- Price: $57.99
- Nose: Vanilla and cooked agave
- Taste: The agave and vanilla were present for sure but there was a lot going on here and nothing that I could quite nail down. It seemed like there was a little bit of everything on the palate but nothing that stood out.
- Thoughts: Honestly, this one was kind of a mess for me. It was all over the palate. There was a lot of vanilla and agave but there was also a lot of too many other things that made it hard to really like.
Herradura Double Reposado
- Age: 11 months in used American White Oak and an additional 30 days in New American White Oak barrels
- Price: $49.99
- Nose: Butter and roasted agave again like barrel #1224 but it trades all of the citrus notes for a sweet caramel scent
- Taste: Very smooth but with a much longer finish that stands out much more due to the used barrel char/wood.
- Thoughts: I preferred this barrel due to the sweetness and longer finish. In my opinion, this was the better of the two Herradura barrels.
Herradura Double Reposado
- Age: Aged 11 months in used American White Oak and an additional 30 days in New American White Oak barrels
- Price: $49.99
- Nose: Doesn’t smell like a normal tequila. Butter, roasted agave, grapefruit/citrus nose.
- Taste: Very light, has a dry white wine like finish on the palate.
- Thoughts: Very smooth and light.
- Age: 31 months in used American Oak barrels
- Price: $61.99
- Nose: Vanilla and wood. Reminds me a bit of bourbon but with the agave standing out.
- Taste: Long finish due to the char. Adds a hint of smokiness/char to the agave. You can tell that the used barrel makes a huge difference between this one and the other Patron barrels that were all new oak.
- Thoughts: This was by far and away my favorite of the Patron barrels and one of the best of the entire bunch. I’m not normally a big Patron fan but this one easily the best Patron I’ve ever had.
Patron Anejo – Barrel 140
- Age: 26 months in new American and new French Oak barrels
- Price: $61.99
- Nose: Lots of vanilla
- Taste: Very smooth mouthfeel. Agave stands out but with a nice mix of citrus and a honey like sweetness.
- Thoughts: This one had a bit of a longer finish to it. I could sip this all day long.
- Age: 26 months in new Limousine Oak barrels
- Price: $61.99
- Nose: This one had the very familiar and distinctive Patron nose. If you drink Patron, you know it when you smell it.
- Taste: Very smooth. Not hot at all. Some roasted agave and honey like sweetness.
- Thoughts: I wasn’t wowed by this one but I did like it more than barrel #219.
- Age: Eight months in new French Oak
- Price: $56.99
- Nose: Roasted agave and some woody notes on the nose.
- Taste: Slightly sweet agave with a little bit of citrus and some sweetness that was hard to nail down.
- Thoughts: Honestly this one was my least favorite of the Patron barrels. It was just kind of average and didn’t stand out as much as the others did.
Disclaimer: Special thanks to the New Hampshire Liquor Commission for providing Bourbon & Banter with a samples of their tequilas.
We appreciate their willingness to allow us to review their product with no strings attached.
Brent was born and raised in Indianapolis, IN. After graduating from the University of Kansas with a degree in Journalism, he moved back to Indy where he eventually resurrected his family's brand of all beef kosher style hot dogs and opened a restaurant, King David Dogs, in downtown Indianapolis. When he's not juggling the many duties of an entrepreneur, he can usually be found relaxing at home with his wife, their twin boys, and their two dogs. Brent is a member of the Bourbon Society of Indianapolis, a BBQ enthusiast, and a cigar aficionado. Three things that are even better when enjoyed together with good friends. If Brent is not talking about bourbon, he's probably talking about sports, in particular, NFL football and Kansas Jayhawks basketball. You can follow his blog, BBQ and Bourbon here.
Read Brent's full profile.