The world of tequila can be a little intimidating, especially for newbies. However, a great resource for both newbies and experts—and everyone in between—is TasteTequila.com and its Tequila Matchmaker app. Founded and run by married couple Grover and Scarlet Sanschagrin—both of whom were born in the U.S., but now live in Mexico—the independent tequila blog features an additive-free tequila database, while the app is the go-to resource for detecting your individual tequila “flavor” fingerprint.
Of course, they both have “day” jobs, but Scarlet (consulting) and Grover (internet entrepreneur) use their formal “catador” training (the art and science of tequila tasting) on nights and weekends to keep their passion for tequila aging like an extra añejo.
Outsider caught up with Scarlet for a three-part tequila talk.
1. What’s the latest on the Lotecito Tequila that you and Grover are producing?
Scarlet: We’ve made five batches of Lotecito. It’s very small-batch. Each batch comes from just one piña. We have a couple more piña providers lined up because we have no way to cook the agave at this point, so our friends at the distilleries will usually give us a cooked agave. And then we’ll rush it home and crush it and get it fermenting.
It’s been a very interesting project. And we’ve learned a ton. It’s a way for us to learn by doing, and not until you’re running the still and seeing the aromas that are coming out do you get more of an idea of what is possible. I think we’ll probably start the sixth batch in October.
2. What’s a tequila off the top of your head that more folks in the U.S. should know about, but, more importantly, can actually find in liquor stores?
Scarlet: This is not a new tequila, but I don’t know why more people in the States don’t know about Siete Leguas. I would think it might have some good distribution. It’s a classic, old-school brand run and owned by a Mexican family [started by Don Ignacio González Vargas in 1952]. In fact, they just celebrated their 70th anniversary with a new product [Siete Décadas Blanco]. So that’s one brand that people should keep their eye on.
3. For a bourbon drinker like myself, what extra añejo should I have on my radar?
Scarlet: We just tried the 85th anniversary of El Tesoro [from La Alteña Distillery]. And it was aged in Booker Bourbon barrels. I think if you could get your hands on that, that would be a bourbon drinker’s dream.
4. I’m a big fan of Tears of Llorona extra añejo, but it’s $300 a bottle.
Scarlet: You know what would be interesting? This would also be expensive, apologies, but from the same distillery, Don Fulano Imperial is an extra añejo around $130, but it has just this amazing variety of aromas and flavors. It would be interesting to compare it to Tears, since they’re made in the same place, but Tears has more of an oaky profile versus the dried fruit and all these other interesting characteristics in the Imperial. And it kind of gives you an idea of what an aged tequila that still has agave notes is like.
5. What about some affordable tequilas that you love?
Scarlet: More affordable? Go for the añejos of extra añejos of G4 or Terralta, which are both made at El Pandillo Distillery. And if you can find the Cascahuín extra añejo that’s aged in American oak, that’s one of my favorite extra añejos ever. And it won’t be as expensive as the Tears.