Liquors in millennial pink have garnered mass attention throughout the year, what with rosé making a comeback, and pink gins becoming a fad. New tequila producers, Código 1530, have entered the market with an equally enticing, blushing proposition — pink tequila.
The Código Rosa is one in five of the small town label’s offerings. Based in Amatitán, the distillery approaches its craft through a number of interesting methods, the first being ageing the tequila in ex-wine barrels. It doesn’t use additives, or any artificial colourings. This means the light pink hue of the Rosa is all natural.
This is achieved through maturing the tequila for a month in lightly toasted French oak barrels from Napa Valley that previously held cabernet wines. The residual wine that has soaked into the cask’s interior tints the spirit slightly, resulting in its colour. This process is not all just for the aesthetics, as the toasting of the barrel does impart some of the wine’s characteristics to the prominent agave notes of the Rosa. You get cherry, black pepper, and oak too, and none of the eye-watering sharpness associated with mass-brand tequilas.
While the Rosa may be Código 1530’s most hyped up product yet, the entire brand is worth noticing as a fresh player in the relatively small tequila market here.
Before being branded, the distillery has existed for five decades in Amatitán, where tequila is still being made. It remained one of Mexico’s most closely guarded secrets, that only the elite were privy to. The co-acquisitor of the company, Ron Snyder, had his first experience with the private stock tequila on a golf course, served from a glass water bottle.
If Snyder’s name sounds familiar, it is because the man was once the CEO of Crocs. Yes, those rubber shoes. Since leaving the company in 2014, Código 1530 has become one of his numerous ventures.
Snyder and his friend, Frederico Vaughan, located the distillery and found three brothers running the production by hand, from step A to Z. Ingredients were another point of pride and attention. They use far more aged agave than the industry standard — 10 kilograms of the massive plant go into one single bottle instead of seven. The yeast used to ferment the tequila is sourced from a small family bakery in the town, while mineral-rich water — filtered through the volcanic soil of Los Bajos — constitutes the rest of the liquor.
Código 1530’s tequilas begin with the Blanco, and end at the Origen, an extra añejo tequila matured for six years. Every expression epitomises the brand’s intention — for tequila to be appreciated on the level of whiskies and other fine spirits. It has achieved this remarkably. Unaged tequila may spell a bad prospect for some, but the Blanco is smooth, with prominent notes of agave and pepper. You can already imagine sipping this in a margarita, with orange juice to bring out the agave’s sweetness.
The highlight, naturally, was the Origen. A bottle is worth S$500 because it is aged for six years at a time. The result could almost pass for cognac, with vanilla, sweet oak, and spice coming through. Justin Tan, Brand Director of Código 1530 Asia, instructed that this is one that you ought to drink neat, and we couldn’t agree more.
Tequila may not have as much of a market share in Singapore as it does in North America, but it is with hope that a label as promising as Código 1530 can accord it some authority in Asia.