David Ravandi, owner and master distiller of 123 Spirits, has described his portfolio as “tequila for wine drinkers.” He founded the brand in 2010 specifically with oenophiles in mind, and believes terroir, farming, and aging techniques are as significant to the development of intensely expressive agave-based spirits as they are to fine Burgundy.
“I value complexity and delicate floral aromas in my tequila, and in order to achieve those qualities, I take a winemaker’s approach, painstakingly overseeing every step in the production process from harvesting the agave to the first pour,” said Ravandi, whose first foray into the spirits industry came in 1998 when he co-founded Casa Noble tequila.
123 Organic Tequila Extra Añejo ($150), dubbed “Diablito,” begins its long journey to bottle 6,000 feet above sea level in the iron-rich red soil of Jalisco’s Amatitán region near the town of Tequila. The 10-year-old, estate-grown, 100 percent blue agave is USDA and EU certified organic. It’s slow roasted in a traditional stone oven before undergoing natural open fermentation and double distillation. From there it spends 40 months resting in French Limousin oak. The resulting 80-proof spirit is an easy-drinking elixir of multiple flavors, from rich vanilla and heady spices at intake, to tart citrus on the finish.
The brand’s commitment to lightening its carbon footprint extends to the packaging. Each bottle of 123 Organic Tequila is hand-blown from recycled glass, and labeled with recycled paper printed with environmentally friendly soy ink. Ravandi originally created Diablito for his personal collection, but in 2014 he released 1,000 bottles. Since 2015, he has released 2,500 bottles annually. The latest allotment will be available May 1. (123tequila.com)