A Review of UWA – A Scottish Tequila Collaboration.
Tequila in Scotland has a pretty bad reputation. Used either as a punishment or dare, or to help the latecomer to the party “catch up”, it has never been seen as a drink to sip, savour and enjoy.
Now a pair of North East entrepeneurs, Michael Ballantyne and Ross Davidson are looking to change the perception of Tequila in the area, and are releasing three expressions designed for the new Craft Generation sweeping the country.
Created to be served neat, over ice or as a specially created cocktail, UWA (U-wa) Tequila will be hitting the shelves very soon.
It’s not only Scotland’s first Tequila company, but also a world first Speyside Cask aged Tequila. The triple aged spirit, created from rare Blue Weber Agaves, is aged in hand selected casks from Dufftown which are shipped out to the Mexican town of Tequila.
The name UWA comes from the local saying “You Waa” which translates to “You won’t”. It is a familiar saying in bars around Scotland, especially when Tequila slammers are presented. “You Waa drink At!” or “You won’t drink that!” can often be exclaimed.
Having not had the pleasure of getting into ‘real’ Tequila, this is a first time sampling of what we would call Premium product. Therefore it took a wee bit of getting used to. What you will get from my review is an honest depiction of two expressions and what I feel they taste like, not a comparison to other Tequila’s (the only one’s I’ve had the pleasure of trying have been far from pleasurable!) and not a comparrison to Whisky (although some tasting notes are very similar).
First up is the UWA Platinum Blanco, the most raw of the three expressions. It is released in its purest form. When I saw ‘raw’ I don’t mean this as a tasting note, it’s not a derogatory term in the slightest. It is simply the most basic form of Tequila.
On the nose are tropical fruits with a hint of citrus, mainly orange. An earthy note comes through and the Tequila hit is there, with the Agave aroma leaving you in no doubt as to what this spirit is. There is no alcohol kick though, which is surprising but definitely welcome.
To taste is to sip a very creamy smooth spirit. A velvety texture carries dry citrus notes, a hint of spice and an almost coconut sweetness. The earth notes seem to have disappeared.
A lovely long and sweet finish comes from the swallow. Blood Orange and yes, here comes that undeniable vegetal Tequila note. Again, not a wincing, eye-watering smack but a rather appealing, moreish, sweet and warming flavour.
My second sample is of the Reposado, an aged, but still young Tequila, which has seen time in ex-Whisky Casks from Speyside, in turn formerly American Bourbon Barrels.
The time in Whisky casks has given this a subtle golden tinge. On the nose this has a slightly more lemon note than the Blanco, with sweet notes of Vanilla and Butter Cream. The Agave earthy note is still apparent, but much more subtle, balanced well between the additional flavours from the cask.
To taste this is much sweeter than I imagined. An obvious vanilla flavour dominates, with hints of butterscotch. With a little more air a whack of luxurious honey creaminess and sweetness envelops the liquid. A much more viscous texture to this leaves the flavours clinging to your mouth and lets you enjoy all the lovely sweet notes this has to offer. This is a big step up from the Blanco, and an absolute joy!
The finish is a complex one, the sweetness holds fast in the centre and front of the palate, where the earthy, agave note slides down your throat and disappears almost instantly. There is less of a spice to this and a much mellower, moreish creamy aftertaste is left.
Between the two, the Reposado is definitely my favourite. A lot more complex, with s sweet, almost ‘after dinner’ feel to it. Saying that, the Blanco is a massive step up to any standard ‘shooting’ Tequila I have ever had. To say that UWA has hit its target would be an understatement. These are certainly not drinks to be drowned out by lime or salt. Enjoy the flavour, make it last, sip as you would a good Whisky.
I can’t wait to try the Añejo, aged Tequila, expression which is due out next year. For now, my Tequila Tastebuds have been Tested. And they are very much Tempted.