Enrique Fonseca is somewhat of an anomaly in the world of tequila; unlike many of his contemporaries who chose to use their distilled spirit in mixtos, Fonseca once famously declared that he’d rather pour his second distillate made from 100% blue agave down the drain than see it mixed with alcohol distilled from other sugars. He’s also farsighted enough to be the only producer to have laid entire production runs to age in oak barrels, and is likely to be the only one to own a large treasure trove of old casks many of which have been ageing tequila in them for over 10 years.
As such his Fuenteseca aged tequilas are some of the most sought-after tequilas in the world – take the Lote Fuenteseca Extra Añejo 18 Year Old, for example, which would never had existed as a commercial product if Jacob Lustig from American spirits importer and distributor Haas Brothers hadn’t convinced Fonseca to bottle and ship some of it. The 18 year-old contains spirit from blue agave that’s been harvested in September 1995, distilled in both copper column stills and copper alembic stills – in a distillery he had bought off Bacardi – and then laid into Canadian white oak casks previously used to age rye whiskey. Six years later the tequila was extracted, blended and then rebarreled in Canadian white oak casks as well as European oak barrels that had been used to age Californian red wine, to age for a further 12 years. The result is an exquisite sipping tequila with notes of agave, white pepper and a hint of vanilla imparted by the oak.
Why are we telling you all this? Because the folks over at local spirits distributor Proof & Company – which normally carries the Fuenteseca 9YO and 12YO – has managed to lay their hands on some 16 bottles of the prized Fuenteseca Extra Añejo 18 Year Old. They did open a bottle over at Anti:dote to share with some industry buddies recently, which leaves just 15 bottles for sale. In fact it’s probably even less now, with certain channels likely to have already stumped for a bottle to grace their shelves.
We understand that the Fuenteseca Extra Añejo 18 Year Old goes for some S$620-650 wholesale here, and for a extremely rare product it’s going to be significantly more expensive in retail. It may be pricier than most single malt Scotch whiskies of equivalent age, but hey, there’s a price to pay for bragging rights. The only rarer tequila is Fuentesca’s stock that’s been ageing for some 23 years – the oldest in the world – but there’s a just one problem: nobody has been able to convince Fonseca to bottle them yet.