There’s a blessing and a curse that comes with doing this blog. On the one hand, I’ve tasted more spirits than I ever knew existed, which is fun and interesting. But now many of my friends are hell bent on finding spirits I’ve never tried to get my (semi-professional) opinion. This is usually a terrible idea — throw a dart at a liquor store shelf and you’re more likely to find a dud than a gem — but in this case, a friend introduced me to a new tequila and it was a welcome surprise.
Milagro Tequila was born from a love of the arts community in Mexico City, Mexico. Co-founders Danny Schneeweiss and Moy Guindi decided to start a tequila company that could compliment the vibrancy of the city’s arts scene, with the logo on the bottle being in the same style as the local street art. The name “Milagro” translates into “miracle” in English.
In 2007, 30% of the company was sold to the British distillery company William Grant & Sons, who also own a number of other American brands in addition to their Monkey Shoulder and Balvenie scotch whisky lines. With this added help from WG&S, they continued to grow the brand, reportedly becoming the 5th most popular brand of tequila in the United States.
Thirteen years later, in October 2020, WG&S decided to double down on their bet, purchasing a brand new tequila distillery in Jalisco, Mexico. Production has reportedly moved to this new facility moving forward.
- Learn More: What Is Tequila?
All of the tequilas produced by Milagro use 100% blue agave plants as the source of their spirits. Those agave plants are harvested, shaved of their leaves, and then roasted for 36 hours in a hand built brick kiln to break down the fibrous material. The traditional method would then have these roasted plants crushed, but Milagro uses the more modern shredding process to extract the sugary liquid from the cores of the plant.
The sugary liquid is then fermented to convert the sugar into alcohol, and that alcoholic mixture is then distilled in both a pot and column still to create the raw spirit. The pot still is the traditional choice, usually creating a more flavorful product but at the expense of additional time and effort. A column still makes the process much quicker, but tends to strip out some of the lighter or more vibrant flavors.
Once the tequila has been produced, this anejo version sees that raw spirit placed into American oak barrels to age for a period of between 12 and 14 months.
There’s some cool stuff going on here.
The bottle is long and cylindrical, with straight walls and a thin base. The walls taper smoothly at the shoulder, eventually leading to a short neck. The mouth of the bottle is flared, with the outer diameter of the rim flush with the outer diameter of the wood stopper. It definitely doesn’t look like a whiskey bottle, or even a normal tequila bottle. This seems to be something designed to stand out on the shelves.
Something else going on here with the bottle is a smooth gradient coloring on the bottle itself. The top and bottom of the bottle are almost opaque with a dark brown color, transitioning to nearly transparent at the middle. It’s an interesting take, but part of the appeal of an anejo tequila is seeing the color of the spirit within. This might not completely obscure that color, but it makes me feel like I don’t get an honest representation.
As for the label, all of the information is painted onto the bottle and mostly transparent. I’d usually give points for the transparent label, but since the glass itself is colored there really isn’t much benefit.
The spirit is a pale straw color in the glass, definitely much lighter than you’d expect an aged whiskey but not quite the crystal clear liquid you get in a blanco tequila either. Somewhere in the middle, perhaps. Coming off the glass, the first aroma I get is sweet agave with a bit of a herbal note, followed by some vanilla. Usually with other anejo tequilas, there’s some caramel or brown sugar added courtesy of the barrels, but I don’t get that here.
There’s a good weight to the liquid here as soon as you take a sip. Once again, that sweetness from the agave is front and center, but not overpowering like you’d expect in a liqueur. I think that sweetness morphs a bit as you consider it, turning more into the usual brown sugar flavor we expect from a barrel aged spirit. Next up, there’s a bit of vanilla creeping in, and then at the end there’s an unexpected twist of a black pepper spice being added to the mix.
Tequila isn’t usually something that does well with the addition of ice. The flavors tend to be lighter and more herbal, and those are some of the aspects that you usually lose when the cubes are introduced. But in this case, I think enough of the flavors make it through to stay interesting.
Instead of agave sweetness up front, the herbal notes are now the dominant flavor, making it seem a bit on the “dry” side of a spirit and just a touch bitter if I’m honest. Following not far behind are the barrel based flavors: the sweet aspects are trending much closer to caramel as opposed to their initial brown sugar note, but the vanilla is still there. And the black pepper spice continues to make an appearance as well.
This spirit continues to perform admirably, and works really well here.
To be completely honest, I’ve tried this a couple ways, including making it into a Mexican Tom Collins. And while it kinda works elsewhere, a margarita is probably the place where it shines the best.
What really works is the sweetness and the complexity that the tequila brings to the party, balancing out the lime juice and the Cointreau quite masterfully. There’s also a bit of depth added by the caramel and vanilla flavors that comes through as well, and some extra texture from the black pepper spice making just a hint of an appearance.
I don’t think this is a miracle. I think just it’s a good tequila, performing a little above average for the price range, but it’s still not quite blowing my socks off. That said, I’d definitely buy this again — the flavors are solid, it makes a mean margarita, and I love that it’s just inexpensive enough to let me experiment without feeling guilty about the failures.
Produced By: MilagroProduction Location: Unknown
Proof: 40% ABV
Price: $38.49 / 750 ml
Product Website: Product Website
Overall Rating: 3.5/5
There are no miracles here, just good solid production methods resulting in a very nice tequila.