Maestro Dobel Tequila ($54/750ml)
Dobel is a relatively new entry from the Jose Cuervo family of tequilas - a Tequila culled from family-owned lowland estates.
The packaging is beautiful, if not downright gorgeous - a tall, clear, embossed bottle with black and silver trim. The elegant package really stands out.
Dobel is a blend of extra-anejo, anejo and reposado Tequilas that are then charcoal-filtered for a crystal clear spirit that ultimately qualifies as a reposado Tequila (because that's the youngest Tequila in the blend) with a blanco look. I've tried similar aged and then filtered products, which can sometimes have a disconcertingly smoky nose that didn't seem to reconcile with the clear color and more youthful aspects of the blend.
Dobel comes together well, with luscious baked agave flavors and notes of marshmallow, white and black pepper, braised celery and fennel. The mouthfeel is viscous and rich, and it finishes with a good bit of sweetness that suggests a good deal of residual sugar. It's impeccably smooth, but the sweetness borders on cloying, leaving me feeling a little bit conflicted.
I contacted my Tequila guru, Julio Bermejo, proprietor of Tommy's Restaurant in San Francisco, and a bona-fide Tequila ambassasdor, to ask about the amount of residual sugar that's allowed in Tequila. Julio told me that a sugar addition of up to 1% by volume is allowed. My wine tasting experience suggests that this spirit might be maxed out on that front, but impressions can be deceiving sometimes.
While it's an easy sipper and soft as a horse's nose, that sweetness and the rich, glycerine-laced texture is a bit unusual. Both the incredible smoothness and the sweetness of Dobel make an indelible impression. A few cubes of ice do diminish the lush sweetness of the spirit, but I find it wanting a bit of cut. At the price of $54 a bottle, it might be hard to classify it as a beginner's tequila, but this is a product that is certainly capable of seducing someone who has an irrational fear of, or little experience with Tequila. It's just that white, fluffy and sweet. Let's just call it the Bichon Frise of the Tequila world.