The Orendain family have making Tequila since 1926, and their expertise shows in this long-aged entry in the Gran Orendain range. Triple distilled and then matured for 40 months in white-oak casks from France, it’s a complex Tequila made for slow sipping and contemplation.
On the nose: there’s a lot going on here. I’m met with a smell that I can only describe as Mexican heat; it’s that dry, leathery sort of “hot” smell you get from black peppercorns, and it’s mingling with sweeter notes of orange peel, marmalade, clove and cinnamon. Toffee, butterscotch, and honey are all there too, and when I take a sip the flowers and fruit come through. There’s vanilla and dry oak on the palate, with a finish that’s long and warm.
Damn. That’s really tasty. This is a damn fine Tequila, and for once I’ll resist my instinct to throw in some more of my usual comments about tequila tasting like someone brushed their teeth with antiseptic. Orendain would be great in a Tequlia Cocktail you decide, but splitting it neat is really worthwhile.
The Orendain Extra Anejo is distilled in small batches using only the Weber blue agave plant, and aged for 40 months in oak casks from France. This makes it soft on the palate, with a deep, rich colour and hints of fruits in the flavour.
Double-distilled in copper pot stills, this is then aged in casks from French oak. We’re told there’s a small dash of water added during the final ageing process, and the result is a lighter-flavoured and less-bitter spirit. I can only assume that’s in deference to our North American palates, because it’s a fine extra anejo, and I like it a lot.
The Tequila is named after the 3 brothers who founded the family business, and the deer on the label is representative of the name Orendain. Not a bad brand story either.
The Gran Orendain Extra Anejo Tequila is not cheap at $122.99 (£83.41) but it’s one of those spirits you’ll want to savour. I find it a good companion for a rich, smoky Scotch like Laphroaig and the sweetness of the Orendain is a great counter to the iodine and brine of the Scotch. Then again, maybe I’m just justifying my purchase price by coming up with that nonsense…
This Tequila seems like a big ask at first. The price is significant and the Longrow 8 Year Old Cask Strength Scotch is running at over double that; but if you’re drinking this with me as the spirit in a cocktail, I’d put it into a Rob Roy.
When I’ve had the Orendain Tequila neat, I’m ready to think about a Rob Roy. My version of the drink uses three parts Orendain tequila to one part soda water, and I’m also adding in a dash of angostura bitters but just two dashes of Maraschino liqueur.
As you can see from the image above, the Gran Orendain Extra Anejo Tequila is a rich amber color and it’s got a flavour of butterscotch and a hint of orange/lemon. I foam up some Schweppes soda and then add a heavy dash of bitters and a light splash of the liqueur. Stir it gently, and then strain into a glass with ice and you’ve got a great Tequila cocktail.
I’ve not found the Gran Orendain Extra Anjeo on sale in the UK yet, or anywhere else in the EU for that matter. No doubt it will show up in some specialist Tequila bars and duty free shops in the US, but if you enjoy Tequila and you’re looking for a long-aged premium brand that still has the fire and energy of a young spirit, I’d recommend you give this one a try.