Cabrito (NOM 1140)
Centinela is a family-owned business with claims of producing handcrafted tequilas dating back to 1894. Located in the city of Arandas, in the heart of the Los Altos tequila growing region, Centinela is supervised by master distiller Jaime Antonio Gonzales Torres. Don Jaime has supervised Centinela production for more than 30 years.
For several years, Centinela maintained an average production of around 3,000 liters per day, but in 1995 it expanded dramatically to 15,000 liters per day by the end of 1996. Centinela owns some agave fields, but purchases the majority of its agaves from local farmers.
Hospitality at Centinela is warm and generous. Juan Leonardo Hernandez, the administrative manager, speaks no English, but lives to accommodate visitors, and has an unfailing palate for recommending fine restaurants in the area. A tour reveals a distillery bursting at the seams with a jumble of new hornos, tanks squeezed into cramped buildings, and stills fighting like saplings for a place in the sun. Every building on the property is filled from floor to ceiling with barrels.
All Centinela tequilas are 100% blue agave. Under the Centinela brand is a Blanco, a Reposado, an Aņejo, and an Aņejo Tres Aņos that is aged in barrel for three years. These tequilas are imported into the United States by El Dorado Importers. The second label, Cabrito, includes a Blanco and a Reposado, and has been distributed in the United States since 1996.
The house style is refined, gentle, and full of finesse, with pure, intense agave aromas and flavors, and rich, cream soda character in the aged tequilas. Delicately fresh, with layers of complexity hanging on a strong agave base, Centinela tequilas are favorites.
Centinela Blanco: Brilliant, colorless with a delicately complex macho attack.
Intense earthy agave and wet cement aromas with honeysuckle and citrus. Flavors include light pepper laced with soft vanilla, and cinnamon spice on top of the agave. Slightly sweet, it is soft and viscous in the mouth. It finishes clean, with a long lasting fruity flavor, and a burn that singes the tongue.
Centinela Reposado: Pale yellow color, with wow! intensity and some pungency on the attack. Definitely macho and suave. Wet cement and white pepper aromas dominate, backed up with good fruit and oak. Slightly sweet with a medium mouth feel. Agave is also at the front of flavor with moderate oak, caramel and pepper. The finish has little bitterness and sweetness. The flavors of caramel and agave last a long time, with a slight alcohol burn.
Centinela Aņejo: Light golden color. Macho intensity and suave complexity with a mellow attack. White pepper and light smoke, combined with vanilla and caramel (cream soda) in the nose. Plenty of delicate, earthy agave aromas and flavors. Flavors are a nice balance of fruit, floral, and oak elements. Caramel, vanilla, and smoke mix together for a long-lasting, gentle finish.
Centinela Tres Aņos: Yellow gold color with a strong, but mellow attack. Macho intensity and great complexity. Delicate agave aromas, with more vanilla, toast, pepper, and caramel than the Aņejo. The flavor includes spice, white pepper, smoke, cream soda, and butter, all balanced by earthy agave. Sweet in the mouth, with a creamy texture, it finishes with a lively pepper flavor.
Cabrito Blanco: Strong and mellow on the attack. Colorless. Moderate agave intensity and sencillo. Moderate agave aromas with some fruity character and hints of
pepper and chamomile. Sweet and almost oily in the mouth. The moderate agave and pepper flavors quickly lose ground to a doughy, cardboard taste. The finish is moderately bitter. Flavors are short except for the dough flavor. Alcohol is hot.
Cabrito Reposado: This pale yellow tequila is full and mellow on the attack, with macho intensity and suave complexity. High agave aromas are backed with good fruit and pepper character, and slight hints of caramel and chamomile. The mouth feel is slightly sweet and slightly oily. Caramel and agave command attention in the flavor, and hints of cardboard linger in the background. The finish is slightly bitter, of medium length, and hot with toasty, doughy flavors.