In general, I’m not usually a fan of young spirits. Things like a blanco tequila are useful in their specific lanes, but when I’m looking for something to enjoy at the end of the night, I reach for a spirit with at least a little color to it (the darker, the better IMO). So, while I liked Teremana’s blanco and reposado tequilas, I was especially excited to get my hands on the anejo version of their tequila. Hopefully, just like The Rock’s career, this stuff only gets better with age.
This is indeed a product partially owned by Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson, but that’s not where our story starts.
Jenna Fagnan was born in Alaska, but moved to San Antonio, Texas to study business, chemistry, and Japanese, supporting herself by working in local Mexican restaurants. According to Fagnan, this is where she picked up her love for real Mexican tequila, which unfortunately wasn’t super common in the rest of the United States. Most people were drinking a “mixto” tequila, which is cheaper to produce but has with added sugars that often leave people with a hangover the next day. Fagnan wanted to help share real Mexican 100% agave tequila with the rest of the world.
After graduation, Fagnan worked for LVMH where she worked to rescue the then foundering Dom Perignon brand. Thanks to her success there, LVMH moved her to TAG Heuer, but her heart was always in the spirits industry.
In 2010, she left her position to work with Ken Austin and founded Tequila Avión. Austin was an accountant by trade, but spent some time working for the Gallo winery and the Seagram spirits company before moving into private aviation and starting his own business. The two had a shared passion for tequila, and using Austin’s love of aviation the Tequila Avión brand was born. The brand would eventually be sold to the French spirits giant Pernod Ricard, leaving the pair looking for their next adventure.
This is where Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson comes into the picture. As Fagnan and Austin were looking for their next business venture, they were contacted by Johnson’s manager. Johnson had a passion for tequila and had always wanted to launch his own brand, and after a few conversations the trio decided to go into business together. The three went through a process to better understand Johnson’s passions and tastes, going through over 113 distillation runs tweaking different components of the process until they finally landed on one they really liked, and working with suppliers to ensure that they were making this new spirit in a sustainable way.
The brand name is a combination of the Latin root for “earth” with the Polynesian word for “spirit”, loosely translating as “Spirit of the Earth.”
- Learn More: What Is Tequila?
This tequila starts with a crop of 100% blue agave plants that are harvested by hand and trimmed, leaving behind only the hard core or pina. Those plants are then placed into a brick oven for three days to roast, a process that converts components in the plant’s core into fermentable sugar before the cores are shredded to extract that sugary liquid.
Once extracted, the sugary liquid is fermented in open tanks, allowing not only the intended yeast to act on it but also ambient yeast to provide some unique flavors as the sugar is converted into alcohol. That alcoholic liquid is then distilled in handmade copper pot stills until it reaches the appropriate level of distillation.
For this anejo expression, the spirit is rested in previously-used American bourbon barrels for a period of more than 12 months. No sugar is added either, which should help keep the hangovers away — just water to proof it down to bottling strength.
Overall, the shape of this bottle isn’t anything to write home about. It’s the same design we’ve seen from countless other distilleries, the only difference being that the Teremana name is embossed into the glass of the bottle itself (an indication that, despite the common shape, they spent some money to get custom molds, which is a pretty solid flex). There’s nothing wrong with this shape, either — it’s a good size that will fit in the well of any bar, and there’s a good length neck that should make pouring very easy.
I do feel like the label is a slight rip-off of the Casamigos approach. In both cases, the brand uses a white label for the blanco and reposado, but the anejo version swaps to a black label with gold lettering. That’s not to say it’s a bad stylistic choice — for those going for an anejo, I think it pairs nicely with what they might be expecting — it’s just something that we’ve seen done before, and by another celebrity-owned tequila to boot.
I’m calling it a win, though, especially for the market it’s trying to compete in.
This looks like a slightly more well-saturated version of their reposado, staying in that “golden” color category and not straying into the amber category (usually more in bourbons). Notably, though, the color is also much lighter than other anejo tequilas we’ve reviewed.
On the aroma, there’s a pronounced brown sugar, caramel, and vanilla note that is the first thing you notice. There’s a bit of herbal agave in there as well, but it’s just a component of the chorus at this point instead of a prime player. Somehow, the lemon and black pepper are just as prominent as with the blanco version though.
The texture here is much more well-rounded than their other versions, and that brown sugar note is dominating the flavor profile. It’s sweet and rich — at this point, more like a lighter whiskey than a tequila. I can barely get any of the herbal agave note promised by the aroma, and any tasting notes of black pepper and lemon are missing as well.
I think a little bit of ice is bringing this back into balance. As usual, the ice is toning down the barrel aging aspects of the profile, which means the core components that are from the raw spirit are able to make more of an appearance.
I’m getting just about everything at this point — the brown sugar and vanilla, the herbal agave, even the black pepper and citrus. It’s all there and all melding together nicely. Nothing is really being left out, which I appreciate. It honestly tastes a lot like a glass of the reposado taken neat, but with the volume just turned up a notch.
This is a much better cocktail than a typical margarita, and I think it’s entirely thanks to those sweeter flavors that we get from the barrel aging.
There’s a better balance here than we usually find, and a much sweeter profile in general. I think the brown sugar components in here are the primary hero, as they do a great job of balancing out the bitter lime juice and the Cointreau without overpowering them. I only get a little hint of the herbal agave note, but on the finish that black pepper note really starts to shine through and provides a nice level of complexity to the cocktail.
In some of the interviews she’s done about this specific version of the tequila, Jenna Fagnan notes that while enough time has passed from the initial spirits run to create an anejo, they wanted to “get it right” and not just push something out the door that wasn’t ready. I think the flavors in here reflect that attention to detail, and the end result is a tequila that even whiskey drinkers would enjoy.
Produced By: TeremanaProduction Location: Jalisco, Mexico
Proof: 40% ABV
Price: $39.99 / 750 ml
Product Website: Product Website
Overall Rating: 4.5/5
A truly great tequila begging the question… is there anything Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson doesn’t do well?