This Girl Knows Tequila!

I recently wrote a review for Cerritos Tequila, rating it as “epic” more or less. Turns out this girl DOES know her good tequila from the bad stuff!  The Beverage Tasting Institute Awarded Cerritos Tequila 93 Points for both Blanco and Anejo varietals for 2013.

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Rating the Anejo next to a popular favorite, El Jimador, Cerritos Anejo rivaled the competition returning a stellar review for the first time out!

93 • Cerritos Añejo Tequila $46. Rich old gold color. Aromas and flavors of coconut buttercream, salty roasted nuts, and pineapple creme brulee with a rich, fruity-yet-dry medium-full body and a long, chocolate mint, sarsaparilla, menthol tobacco, and white peppercorn nuanced finish. Very flavorful and expressive; a great after dinner sipper or have with dessert. (tasted on Aug-28-2013)93 • Cerritos Blanco Tequila $44. Clear. Aromas of roasted nuts and cherries, coconut fudge, dried flowers, and peppered cheese rind with a soft, dry-yet-fruity medium body and a vanilla milk and baking spice accented finish with a nice peppery snap. Fun and flavorful. (tasted on Aug-28-2013)

Okay, okay so you are wondering what the “BTI” is?  The Beverage Testing Institute is a dedicated Lab in Chicago, Illinois for the purpose of tasting and rating the values of wine and spirits. Utilizing a  room specially designed to minimize external factors, such as sound, sight, and odors, and maximize our panelists’ concentration, the Beverage Tasting Institutes incorporates a process of tasting in a sterile environment, tasting at the same time of day practically every weekday morning, under the same ideal conditions which returns an objective score, rating and nuance reviews of the tasted product.

The Beverage Tasting Institute depends on highly experienced, professional guest tasters who are either retailers, restaurateurs, or prominent epicurean writers that have an emphasis in education and are knowledgeable about the beverage category being reviewed. In fact, The BTI boasts that all panelists be screened in depth, as well as audited,only then are they trained in the Beverage Tasting Institute’s blind tasting methodology.  .

TAKEN FROM www.beveragetastinginstitute.com;

“A basic tenet of qualitative evaluation is that the shorter the scale, the easier it is for tasters to repeat their scores — and repeatability is the essence of accuracy. Our tasters now use a simple scale with four bands. In the first round we use this range:”

1–Not recommended (less than 80 points). 2–Of sound commercial quality, though not overly exciting (80-84). 3–Shows style and character, yet probably not of the highest merit (85-89). 4–Highest quality.

With this scale, tasters will not need to be concerned with the difference between an 88 and an 86, or a 90 and a 91. Wine or Spirits with two scores of “4” are sent to the “merit round,” whose range is as follows:

3–Very good, but not of the highest merit (88-89 points). 4–Truly excellent in style and distinction (90-92). 5–Outstanding, though not quite one of the world’s finest (93-95). 6–Provides a world-class experience (96-100).

This system or methodology allows the tasters to consider general quality, without the distraction of adding points. Products breaking the critical 90-point barrier are tasted twice without exception, virtually guaranteeing that they will deserve their accolades. Also, after the first round, those with a wide disparity in score are re-tasted. BTI Panelists will also re-taste many that scored poorly, to make sure a bad sample was not at fault.

The BTI Panelist scores are then translated onto a modified 100-point scale. The five “bands” below more accurately reflect the quality of products in today’s market. It roughly corresponds to a five-star system:

96-100–Superlative (Platinum Medal)

90-95–Exceptional  (Gold Medal)

85-89–Highly Recommended (Silver Medal)

80-84–Recommended (Bronze Medal)

less than 80–Not Recommended  (No Medal)

To help translate the panels’ scores, The Beverage Tasting Institute uses a different statistical method, relying on the mode (the most frequent score) rather than the mean (the average score). This helps reduce the impact of maverick scores; the mode is much closer to what the panelists are really saying. If, for instance, a product in the first round receives three scores of “3,” it is placed in the upper center of its band (85-89) and given a final score of 88 points. Should the third score be a 4 or a 2, the product in question would be given an 89 or an 86, respectively. The third score is used to move the total score up or down within the same band. Again, controversial permutations are re-tasted. Those falling in the lowest band (less than 80) are simply listed as “not recommended”; result in no score is assigned.

Cerritos Tequila took on the challenge and clearly swept the classifications in the 90’s and this writer could not have called it any better!  Don’t believe me? Ask a couple of Agave Pros! Alex Perez and Mike Morales head up one of this bloggers favorite surf spots to view (Finally something other than Jenna Marbles – a favorite Wednesday Video Poster!) on the Web. Nothing thrills me more than the titillating conversation that takes place “Off the Cuff” and Alex and Mike are no strangers to the ideology!  Bet you are wondering, WHO THE HECK ARE THESE GUYS???

Mike is America’s premier tequila journalist, blogging and reporting exclusively on tequila trends, producers, insiders, and  brands in the tequila industry today. Don’t tell anyone but he is so prestigious he is quoted all over the publication world…Mike was one of the founding organizers of “The Largest Tequila Tasting of its Kind in The Southwest,” The New Mexico International Tequila Experience™. His powerful annual public educational shows and tastings have been the buzz of the tequila industry, and he will come to you and host  Intimate Tequila Tastings™ to educate consumers on the correct way to sample and enjoy the pleasures of tequila. Yes, PLEASURES!

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Alex, no, not the bad boy tequila consuming sidekick to Tony Montano (Scarface), is the founder of Tequila Aficionado.com having had the brilliant idea to launch a premium tequila and mezcal online magazine back in early 1999. Alex has an extensive background in wine and spirits, having been in the industries for many years. When Alex fell in love with the under appreciated spirits of Mexico, Tequila and Mezcal, he made it his mission to educate the public on these fine spirits. Alex has interviewed many leaders in the Tequila industry and uncovered some fascinating facts along the way.

Together these two brilliant tequila tasters reviewed Cerritos Tequila Off The Cuff for both Blanco and Anejo, and the results were nothing short of “RECOMMENDED”!

Honorable mention on this stellar team of course, has to go to my girl Lisa Pietsch! While she is not on camera for review, she is a formidable player with Mike and Alex at Tequila Aficianado. Lisa Pietsch is a U.S. Air Force veteran, multi-published action/adventure novelist and freelance writer, among her many talents. Although Lisa admits she doesn’t know all there is to know about tequila, she has a passion for it and anticipates each new bottle, just as I do, with the promise of a magic elixir and a world of epicurean possibilities. A “Ya-ya Tequila Sister”, Lisa has some strongly held beliefs on how tequila and tequila related beverages have been and are marketed for women. Rumor has it she has a recipe collection tried and true, revolving around Tequila coming to publication soon!

Hail to the tasters, blind and sighted, sterile and not so sterile…..they are the trend setters and educators into the mysterious world of tequila and the ones to follow for great reviews….especially if they happen to be following…..me!

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