Celebrity spirits can be a bit hit and miss — some are pretty awesome, and some are only awesomely terrible. Today we’re going to start taking a look at Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson’s new line of tequila which includes not only this blanco, but also a reposado and most recently an anejo. So let’s go ahead and taste what The Rock has been cooking.
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, she worked for LVMH, where she worked to rescue the then foundering Dom Perignon brand. Thanks to her success, 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 blanco expression, there is no post processing done to the spirit beyond proofing down with water. No sugar is added either, which should help keep the hangovers away.
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 the shape though — 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.
For the label, I feel like it’s just a touch big for my taste. I like the overall look and feel — the washed out and relaxed colors, the hint of an agave field as pretty much the only artwork, even the fonts they picked seem very chill. It’s got all the information you need to see right there on the label, but I feel like there’s just a hair too much white space on it. I can still see the color of the spirit inside, though, which is what I really like to see on these kinds of bottles.
I’m calling it a win, especially for the market it’s trying to compete in. I have some notes, but generally it’s a solid design.
We’ve got a beautifully clear and colorless spirit here, spot on for a good blanco. The aromas coming off the glass are just about perfect for what you’d expect as well — there’s the herbaceous cut grass note, some lemon citrus, and a touch of black pepper rounding it all out.
Thankfully the flavors deliver exactly on the promise of the aromas. The black pepper and herbal agave notes are probably the clearest things that come through first, with just a touch of citrus on the finish. There’s a good pepper spice that persists after the other flavors have gone, adding some nice texture to the experience.
The only note I have is that the black pepper in the mix almost tends a little bit towards bitterness as time goes on. It’s very similar to the experience I had with El Jimador, but the bitterness is less pronounced here.
A little bit of ice can do wonders, and I think it really helps here.
That little extra bit of chill and dilution kills any hint of bitterness that we saw before, allowing more of the herbal agave note to shine through. There’s still a good bit of that black pepper spice, but now it’s in more of a supporting role than it is the star of the show. The citrus has calmed down as well and is barely noticeable at this point.
I like that the herbal agave note here is well-saturated enough that, even with the added lime juice and Cointreau, I still get it coming through in the aroma.
Which, in reality, that’s the challenge here. The key to a good margarita is adding some unique herbal notes to the mixture without throwing off the balance. And I think this does a fine job. There’s not quite as much of the agave flavor in here as I smell in the aroma, but it’s doing just enough of a job to balance things out and make for an enjoyable drink.
This is a clean, well-executed blanco tequila. There are some good flavors in here, and it does a pretty good job as a mixer. I think unfortunately that little hint of bitterness and the generally average flavor profile kicks this out of the running for being a great sipping tequila (at least compared to other offerings on the market), but that’s not to say I won’t happily turn the rest of this bottle into delicious margaritas.
Produced By: TeremanaProduction Location: Jalisco, Mexico
Proof: 40% ABV
Price: $29.99 / 750 ml
Product Website: Product Website
Overall Rating: 3/5
A rock solid first showing in the tequila market.