By Brad Japhe

The London Spirits Competition recently released its annual results for the best booze to buy across all major categories. Now in its 7th iteration, the contest evaluates entrants based upon quality, value, and appearance. According to its website, it separates itself from the crowded landscape characterizing the competition-industrial complex because it singles out and shines a spotlight on “brands that consumers really want to buy and have a clear market value for trade buyers.”

Given that rubric, it’s nothing short of astonishing that the professional palates at LSC selected a $250 bottle of tequila as the best in show from that specific category. That’s the suggested retail price of the Reserve Collection Añejo from Cierto that took home the top prize. The fact that it constitutes a value speaks volumes to how sensational those judges deemed it to be. So let’s pour a little out from its fancy, faceted decanter and see what makes the actual liquid within so special.

To recap, añejo tequila must spend between 1-3 years in barrels before hitting the bottle. The overwhelming majority of examples on shelves today mature in ex-bourbon cooperage. Cierto instead opts for 18 months in French Limousin oak. It’s a pricier vessel by comparison, but they’re paying for added complexity in the final product. Instead of more common one-dimensional caramel notes, this one is a polished composition involving toffee, toasted wood spice and a hint of hazelnut.

The release has amassed a whole slew of awards over the past several years in contests from San Diego to continental Europe. Across the board, judges point to an impressive arrangement of warming aromatics, which serve to accentuate the subtler elements on the palate. You’re left with something that’s both approachable yet complicated, too. A tough balancing act to pull off.

According to its website, Cierto is the most award-winning tequila on earth. Given the sheer number of awards out there these days it would be virtually impossible to corroborate such a claim. But what we can say with certainty is that this liquid comes from NOM 1146, a highly-regarded tequila operation in the Lowlands of Jalisco.

This hand-in-glove fit conveys itself in an undeniable elegance... One that might very well be considered a value, even at $250 a bottle, if you ask the judges at London Spirits Competition, at least.


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Cierto Private Collection Blanco
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Cierto Private Collection Extra Añejo
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