It’s unheard of for me, the Whisky Loving Pianist, to receive free samples,… albeit applied for via ballot [like everything else the days]. Just weeks before the Tequila & Mescal Fest [WLP] returns to the Tobacco Dock, London in September , this is an opportunity to try tequila aged in ex-whisky casks. If ever there was a potential malternative in tequila form?
The aim of this exercise, ‘is to get feedback from genuine whisky lovers and help inform our next steps as a fledgling business as we seek to widen the tequila category with scotch enthusiasts’, says Storywood. As always, I shall tell it as I find it and proceed with my own unique blend of critical objectivity.
If Storywood’s presentation of their three tequila’s is anything to go by, we are in for a treat.
‘Storywood uses only 100% Blue Weber agave, aged for 10 years and harvested traditionally with a coa’.
Storywood Speyside Reposado  Ob. Aged for 7+ months in ex-Speyside single malt barrels 40% TMM82
Golly, tequila! It’s been a while. What does reposado mean again? Consulting my archives [WLP]: ‘reposado [up to 1 year], anejo [1yo+] and extra anejo [2yo+]’.
- N: A very pleasing balanced fruity > earthy/grassy sweet n sour nose. The sweet fruity > vanilla whisky influence is certainly present, especially when you know to look out for it. With a charming phenol touch, there is a marriage here between tequila and malt,… from the perspective of a Whisky Loving Pianist.
- T: Tastes as it smells. Tasty neat, the [mid-palate] whisky influence is subtle [just right for me], though more detectable after tucking into the higher strength presentation [dram #3]. Displaying [more] balance, body with deftness, chew,…
- F: ,… and finishing true, it concludes with non-salty and ever-so-light malty-sweetened seaweed and barley sugar.
- C: With an understated maltiness, here, we’ve a versatile [and recommended] sippable tequila,… though bring on the cocktail sundries all the same.
Scores 82 points
Let’s see what’s happened to the spirit with another 7 months in a Speyside finishing oven.
Storywood Speyside Anejo  Ob. Aged for 14+ months in ex-Speyside single malt barrels 40%
- N: We’ve two worlds, but apart, collided, or united? This convergence of two spirits offers an open array of colourful hues, At 14 months finishing, we’ve more of the whisky influence that adds husky honeyed < creamy vanilla = milk chocolate < barley sugar/currant bun tones to the cucumber-fresh aromatically peppery agave spirit.
- T: At 14+ months, the whisky finishing element is, understandably, far more influential. Though it’s certainly short of oversteer, too much more and I might start asking myself whether this is whisky-finished tequila or visa versa. Perhaps I would soon get used to this mix. For me now, it’s a slightly confusing push-me-pull-me situation, though tasty and interesting all the same.
- F: Somewhat salivating [liquorice-heat] grassy sour > sweet tequila elements meld with malty chocolate and < barley sugar dryness.
- C: The line of success here may simply come down to the expectations of what each individual might want from a tequila aged in an ex-whisky cask. I’ll stick with the shorter finish myself, for the preservation of the underlying spirit, but that may well be far from the consensus. Certainly a very decent and thoughtfully produced tequila, regardless.
Scores 80 points
Storywood Speyside Reposado Cask Strength  Ob. Aged for 7+ months in ex-Speyside single malt barrels 53%
- N: Surprisingly, the extra strength brings out the influence of the malt whisky in a way that the 40% presentation does not. As a result, we’ve an additional malty-sweet dunnage-y fruitiness with a lactose suggestion over those already subtle phenols, though the [rum-like?] cactal hereditary remains clear.
- T: At higher strength, we’ve a far richer mouthfeel and more focused/controlled delivery, the tequila seemingly following on from the initial malty arrival. With combined sour > malty-sweet cactal [seaweed] vibes once again, there’s more clarity here compared to the longer-finished article.
- F: Peppery-grassy=malty-fresh finish, the spirit clean and direct.
- C: This is the tequila to give to any whisky fan. Then you follow it up with the [most tequila-faithful] 7-month 40% bottling for full tequila conversion.
Scores 83 points
I like my whisky and I like my tequila, though never together – until now, sort of.
- #1] Lovely tequila with a desirable shade of maltiness.
- #2] The ‘inbetweener’. Perhaps even more a tempting proposition for the tequila drinker than the whisky drinker?
- #3] A tequila for the malt enthusiast, and the extra strength further promotes its appeal.
Gateways aside, Storywood is producing fine tequila that should appeal to various spirits-centric fans, whether that be luring more malt heads to tequila malternatives, or indeed, making malt whisky even more appealing to more tequila fans.
Further reading: website