Clase Azul unveils Día de Muertos, a tequila celebrating Mexican traditions, culture and the spirits among us.
Writer Liam Callanan once noted that we’re all ghosts. He said each of us carries, inside, people who came before us. My rejoinder would be: Many of these ghosts are likely imploring us, especially after this raucous year, to simply stop, relax and have a sturdy drink—probably three—neat or on the rocks. And, please, invite the spirits to the party.
This month, Clase Azul releases a mere 2,000 bottles worldwide of Día de Muertos, a tequila blend of the brand’s Plata and Reposado—aged eight months in oak barrels—and Clase Azul Ultra, which has been aged five years in reclaimed sherry barrels. The release celebrates the Day of the Dead, a holiday celebrated by Mexicans for more than 3,000 years. “The story began in the pre-Hispanic times when the Indians celebrated the rebirth of their dead loved ones,” says Arturo Lomeli, Clase Azul’s founder and CEO. “With special permission from the god of death, the deceased rose from the other dimension to visit the world of the living.”
Chilly days often change the equation of what we want to sip—usually warmer aromas and deeper flavors—and Día de Muertos doesn’t disappoint. At the turn of fall, Clase Azul shipped me a bottle, which, as fortune would have it, was the first sample in the States. My wife and I poured the tequila over ice and let it settle and mingle for a few minutes. Our noses immediately recognized a subtle nuttiness, with teases of white pepper and cloves. Autumnal taste reigned in our glasses, with flavors like oak, vanilla and even ginger. The finish landed smoothly—a perfect, even-tempered result of wise aging and blending.
It’s clear Lomeli relishes the product as much as the process. “We only use mature agaves, waiting up to nine years before we harvest,” he says. “We don’t use a diffuser—a fast-cooking oven—and instead stick to slow-cooking in brick ovens. We’re also proud to use tahonas, which are huge, heavy stone wheels, as our method of crushing the agaves.”
If the tequila doesn’t wake our tag-along spirits, the bottle will. Each is handmade by Mexican artisans, who take up to two weeks to craft the piece of art emblazoned with marigold flowers, which represent an abiding guide to souls on their return to the corporeal world. The bottle’s skull symbolizes the transformation from mortal to mystical. It’s all heady, powerful stuff—much like what all of us, and our collective ghosts, will discover inside the bottle.