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Tuesday, July 14, 2009

1800 Select Silver Tequila Review


I've recently received a bottle of 1800 Select Silver Tequila which runs about $30 a bottle and decided to write up a review on it. This spirit really packs a punch. While most blanco or silver tequilas are only 80 proof or 40% alcohol by volume, 1800 Select Silver is 100 proof or 50% alcohol by volume. Yes, that extra 10% makes quite a difference in strength.

1800 Tequila takes its name from the date in history where tequila was first aged in wood barrels. 1800 uses 100% blue agave, double distilled and matured french and american oak wooden barrels. Their silver, reposado and anejo tequilas won the silver medal each in the 2008 San Francisco Wine and Spirits Competition while their Milenio and Select Silver received a Bronze metal. They state that this is the first 100 proof white tequila. In a quick search I've found 5 tequilas at 50% alcohol by volume all saying something along the lines of being the first or being the only one of its kind on the market. I haven't done enough research to look at timelines but who was first to me is all marketing. I don't really care. I'm looking for quality.

Okay, so let's talk about my thoughts on the 1800 Select Silver. I read a lot online about this definitely being a tequila for shooting. Well, many of you who've been listening to my podcast over the years know I'm not much about shooters. To me, that's just alcohol abuse (in a different way then what that term normally means). I'd rather enjoy the flavor of my spirits then to throw them down my gullet just to get drunk fast. If you're looking to get drunk fast, this will definitely do it in a heartbeat considering how strong it is. I'll repeat, this tequila is 100 PROOF! Okay, since I don't like shooting spirits, what did I do with it? Well, as with any spirit I'm testing, I first try them neat... not by shooting it but by sipping it and rolling it in my mouth then swallowing softly followed by deep breathing to really capture all the flavors. At such a high strength, it is incredible how much agave aroma and flavors are present but this makes sense after reading that after it is distilled twice it is blended with a small amount of aged tequila. I think this makes a huge difference from what I had expected. The flavors are wonderful actually. It's tangy and warm with flavors of citrus, agave and a bit of sweetness. The finish is a bit spicy.

Mentioning spice actually brings me to my next test. I stirred 1800 Select Silver with agave nectar, a lemon peel and angostura bitters to make a Tequila Old Fashioned. The sweetness in the agave nectar really brought out the sweetness in the tequila and incredibly enhanced the peppery spiciness to the finish. I actually had to pour my first one out and make it again because I didn't expect how sweet the drink would get. If you try this, use less simple syrup (I prefer agave syrup since you're using tequila) then you normally would. You'll thank me. The strength of the drink is still prevelant but after a good stir with ice, the drink is strong but still incredibly smooth.

My next test was to shake the tequila just by itself with ice and to pour into a cocktail glass and taste it this way. This is a wonderful way to remove the sharpness of over proofing by diluting with water and making it ice cold. Still, after all that the same tasting notes shined through. If you prefer to drink just tequila with nothing else added to it, this is how I'd prefer serving 1800 Select Silver.

Finally, it's a great tequila for using in sour drinks like the margarita. It will blend well with lots of juices and sweeteners, which will help tone down the high proof.

All in all, it's a great tequila for being a silver. I love tequila but I tend to go for sipping it over the rocks so I prefer an nejo. Silver tequilas for me are better for mixing into cocktails. If you want extra punch in your tequila cocktails then 1800 Select Silver is for you.

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