La Vida Loca

When I first tasted through my samples of Dulce Vida 100 proof tequila, I was not impressed. The supplier had stopped by to let me know about the new arrival, left me some 50ml sample-sized bottles to try out, and hoped I would call with an order later that afternoon. I never made the call. When he checked back in later that week to get my opinion, I told him I wasn't a huge fan of the spirit. It was all heat and no finish. My sales rep was totally flummoxed. Everyone seemed to think the new Dulce Vida tequilas were out of this world except me. What was the issue?

It turns out that the sample bottles I had been left were from an older batch - a test run. My guy asked if he could come back again with fresh, full-sized bottles and have me try them over. "Sure, why not?" I said. It turns out there was a difference in the two batches. A huge difference. The spirits in the mini bottles tasted like more subpar, unexciting, flash-in-the-pan, upstart tequila that I would not be interested in carrying. The tequilas in the full-sized bottles were flavorful, vibrant, full-of-life, and clean.

I was happy to place an order after such a turnaround.

Dulce Vida is another American brand, like our friends at Campeon, that has decided to contract tequila out of Jalisco according to their specifications. The spirit is distilled at NOM 1443 - Grupo Industrial Tequilero - a facility that makes a number of different brands, Don Pilar being the one most K&L customers would be familiar with. According to the supplier, Dulce Vida is sourcing their own Highland-sourced, organic agave for distillation and making sure the spirit has absolutely zero additives. The higher standards definitely result in a higher quality of tequila. I was afraid the 100 proof level would destroy the nuance of the spirit, but it actually doesn't. The spice and the fruit still come through in all three expressions.

All three are price at ArteNOM levels and provide a refreshing alternative for those looking to try something new.

Dulce Vida Blanco Tequila $39.99 - White pepper, baking spices, citrus, and lots of power. This is for those who like it spicy instead of smooth.

Dulce Vida Reposado Tequila $45.99 - Cinnamon, cloves, vanilla and spice cake intermingling with black pepper on the finish. Robust and flavorful.

Dulce Vida Anejo Tequila $49.99 - Just the right amount of wood without any of the caramel or toffee that infiltrate some of the more "adulterated" anejo tequilas. This has nuance and character in addition to extra richness.

-David Driscoll

David Driscoll