Most people’s first experience with tequila starts out with the big brand names like Jose Cuervo or Sauza, but they are hardly representative of the vast array of traditional tequilas on the market today. As a pro tip, when looking for a new tequila check the label to see if it says “100% blue agave” rather than just “made with blue agave.” If you see “made with blue agave,” that is what is called a mixto—a tequila on a technicality. While the only agave a tequila can use is blue agave, a mixto only has to use 51.5% blue agave in the mashbill. The rest of the bill is usually composed of sugar or molasses. These are also the kinds of tequilas labeled as “gold,” as in the case of Jose Cuervo Especial Gold—that gold color is more the product of added caramel coloring rather than true barrel aging. When buying a tequila, the key is to look for that “100% blue agave” somewhere on the label to make sure that you are getting a true, traditional agave spirit.
This brings us to the Fortaleza Blanco, a superior creation from Guillermo Erikson Sauza (a family name familiar to most casual tequila drinkers) that highlights the best qualities of the Blue Weber agave plant. Smooth, aromatic, floral, and lightly earthy, the Fortaleza Blanco is a delight from start to finish. A lot of craft and a touch of natural wonder goes into making this spirit, from the oven-cooked agave pinas to the traditional stone tahona used to grind them to the open-air natural fermentation in wood tanks, there is a remarkable amount of character infused in every drop of this world-class tequila. The rich floral notes on the nose carry through to a palate that delivers a level of complexity and depth uncommon in most other unaged tequilas.
Whereas the bigger brand names like Patron command a higher price, the Fortaleza provides a better balance, a more enjoyable flavor profile, and a clearer expression of traditional distilling artistry. If you are new to true tequilas, or if you are looking to branch out into something new, this bottle should be high on your list. Put simply, unaged tequilas just do not get any better than this one.