El Ladron Blanco Blue Agave Spirit, distilled by Venus Spirits and bottled at 47% ABV.
Price Range: $40-$50
Founded by Sean Venus, Venus Spirits is a new craft distillery located in Santa Cruz, California. I met Sean at a K&L tasting event in San Francisco where he was pouring El Ladron (The Thief) blue agave spirit and his gin . Sean has an extensive background in brewing and fermentation. He worked for a number of microbreweries while attending the University of Oregon and spent six years with Gordon Biersh.
El Ladron Blanco Blue Agave Spirit is made from organic blue agave syrup imported from Mexico, fermented and double distilled in a 600-liter copper alembic still.
Nose: The aroma is has interesting notes of cranberry and raspberry with a hint of sweetness. There is also an underlying green vegetal aroma commonly found in blanco tequilas. Let the spirit sit for a little bit and the aromas open up revealing dried tarragon and more earthy agave notes.
Palate: In the mouth El Ladron blanco is smooth; it is big and round on the tongue and tastes sweet with a light caramel flavor. As it sits the flavor reveals a dry mineral character that thins out. There are notes of black pepper, and cayenne combined with a smokey vegetal note like barbecued asparagus.
Finish: The finish has a slight sting that mellows out into a pleasant warmth. Sweetness lingers on the tongue almost like caramelized onions.
Conclusion: El Ladron blanco is an excellent agave spirit. It shows very well neat and it also makes a really tasty margarita. At 47% the agave spirit shines through and adds an solid earthy character that balances against the citrus and sweetness of the other ingredients. This is by far one of the best US agave spirits I have had the pleasure to taste.