Early in my tequila tasting, I grabbed an Arette blanco that didn't quite line up with my palate. I knew it was designed as a budget sipper/mixer, performing well there against the competition. But some of the unique green/floral/herbal notes didn't land for me, cooling me off on exploring Arette further. Then I was gifted a bottle of the Unique Extra Anejo. I loved it and tracked down a second. Figure a proper farewell for that bottle is a side-by-side with the Gran Clase. Both are cooked in high pressure autoclaves, roller mill crushed, and aged in ex-bourbon barrels. The Unique was aged 6 years. Lou Agave mentioned extremely ripe agave were used for the Unique line. The Gran Clase XA is aged a minimum of 3 years. Despite it's likely younger age, the Gran Clase is significantly darker, probably newer barrels.
Arette Gran Clase Extra Añejo - Authentication: CLIX - NOM 1109 - 40%
Nose: Super earthy, nutty, and barrel driven. Walnut and oak. Faint cherry and vanilla. Lots of bourbon presence to accompany the baked, vegetal agave - almost a carrot cake vibe.
Flavor: Vegetal and barrel driven again. Caramel and barrel char. Raspberry gel. Agave. Sweet corn. Oak.
Structure: Rounded and full. Simple. Easy transitions. Soft/long finish.
Alcohol Integration: Expressive and full, not overly complex.
Score: 7 (Highly Recommend) Very easy drinking and expressive. Great for a bourbon crossover. Well done, but I prefer the more balanced barrel influence of the Unique below.
Arette Unique Extra Anejo - A110735 2013 - NOM 1109 - 40%
Nose: Off the charts. Butterscotch. Caramel. Orchard fruit. Floral notes. Well integrated oak.
Flavor: Much lighter on the palate. Fruity and floral up front. Pear. Agave. Great barrel notes on the back end.
Structure: Long and linear with a small swell mid-palate and an expressive finish.
Alcohol Integration: Small bite on the palate. Good clarity. Long finish.
Score: 8 (Stash One) Great barrel integration. Lighter in profile than the Gran Clase. Agave is forward but the candied and fruit notes really bridge the gap between the agave and the barrel. Most pours like this can play too light and linear for me, but the clarity of the notes and length on the palate, coupled with the decadent nose produced a winner.
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For the Gran Clase I'd suggest Berrueco Single Barrel Anejo and Tesoro XA - strong oak presence that doesn't totally lose the agave.
For the Unique, track down an Anejo or XA single barrel Tequila Ocho.
10 - Reevaluate The Budget
9 - Stash Two (If Able)
8 - Stash One (At The Right Price)
7 - Highly Recommend It To Strangers
6 - Solid - Above Average
5 - Acceptable For The Situation
4 - Not Vocally Complaining
3 - Anything Else To Drink?
2 - Nothing Nice To Say
1 - Drain Pour