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A Short Note On Changes and Why They’re Good:  Over the past eight years, LOTS – and I mean that as in thousands – of people have asked me for More of The Pour Fool. I sorta ignored it. This blog is an Indulgence, for me, a antidote for decades of writing to order for newspapers and magazines, with a 200 – 300 word space budget and roving gangs of fleash-eating Editroids who tore into my admittedly-dense copy blocs like wild dogs on a lame sheep. But I’ve now been brought around to the idea that Less Is More, while More is also Less: to wit, readers want two things, primarily: an archive of reviews and scores, with quick access to past criticism, and shorter posts but more of ’em. So, starting with this very post, that’s what I’m going to try. The Pour Fool will now appear DAILY, as often as that is possible and, because my days inexplicably have only 24 hours in ’em, each post will be less than half as long as usual. (If I can manage it, they’ll be about a third, eventually) And I’ve already started building that archive of scores and quick review capsules, taken straight out of the posts. I’m going to encourage you to hang in there with me, while I adjust to this new paradigm and, to the very twisted among you…Never Fear. I have NO plans to stop skewering Anheuser Busch and their minions or to back off a hair on any opinions. If acid is your drink of choice, I’m still the West Coast Vice-President of Sales and they’ll get my poison pen when they pry it out of my cold, dead fingers. Got all that? Great…now onto the new and “improved”, The Pour Fool…

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TPFI was sent a sample bottle of Soltado Tequila about four months ago and actually laughed out loud when I opened the box. The notion of a true añejo Tequila (this stuff spends twenty-eight months in oak barrels, folks!) infused with Serrano peppers and Mexican canela (cinnamon) led logically to two questions: 1) Why mess with a properly-aged añejo? and 2) Why, period? Soltado is a Mexican brand that’s produced by all 80 of the agave farmers in Juanacatlán, a town in the midlands of the tequila-producing state of Jalisco. What possible marketing rationale could these presumably sane people have for doing this;  for making a Tequila that would seem, at least, to defy most of the flavor combinations for which Tequila is rightly famous? A Margarita with peppers and cinnamon? I don’t think so. But, as I have said repeatedly, I love the weird stuff, so I opened the bottle and poured about a half of a regulation Wee Dram…sipped…

soltado_0128_straighthr…and then I poured another full Wee Dram…and then a splash more. My little beverage universe tilted a bit off its axis of logic and reason. Could this insane stuff actually be this flippin’ good?

Nutshell: YES. Oh, my stars and garters – as my grandmother used to say – not only was it considerably less weird than I expected, it was actually sippable! It didn’t really require the presence of any mitigating elements like ginger ale or lime juice or coconut milk. It made some sort of oddball, twisted, mutant Sense, kinda the way your frame of reference gets knocked out of true the first time you taste some blend of things which just cannot be any good at all (in my case, some Chilean Merlot and a splash of Washington Gewurtztraminer) and it turns out to work better than the first shift at Microsoft. Soltado adds up to a blessedly complete and satisfying añejo that comes shining through the underbrush of additives like a searchlight, while meshing perfectly and seamlessly with some serranos peppers that are so fresh and vivid that they taste almost like what happens when you just bite into one right off the bush. The impossibly rich Mexican cinnamon (I was a baker, in my early adulthood and I used Mexican canela over Madagascar cinnamon whenever possible) just lays back beneath the peppers and that lovely, lively agave flavor like some ace NBA point guard who’s decided to give his teammates the spotlight for the evening. It’s there and it throbs with Possibility but it’s singin’ harmony and happy to do so.

maria

Photo by corazonenplatillo.com

Once I got past the sheer, ass-kickin’ novelty of finding what was practically a whole new beverage to sit and sip, I began thinking about how Soltado could be put to work. Would it play well with others? The very first thing to stomp into my virgin cocktail consciousness was the Bloody Maria, that South of The Border kissin’ cousin of our all-American Bloody Mary. The difference between the two, of course, is Vodka versus Tequila and this stuff already packed the heat that you usually build in with Tabasco or Texas Pete, and the cinnamon, which perverts usually use to ruin a good Bloody mix. I made my own Bloody concoction and dumped in a liberal shot of Soltado…and fell on the floor again. I absolutely PROMISE YOU that Soltado Tequila will produce one of the two or three best Bloodys you have ever tasted, unless your Bloody mix is just tomato juice and nothing else. The peppery Edge of this stuff sings in the drink like no amount of Tabasco ever will. It’s like this Tequila finally got reaquainted with a high school sweetheart and eloped. The natural bell pepper-ish freshness of the agave and its wonderful, fruity, peppery finish booms out of every sip, and the assertive peppers give the palate a swift, aggressive tingle that’s smoothed just a tad by the bedrock of that sweet, pungent ciinnamon. Just…sublime. By the slimmest possible hair’s breadth, I still prefer Soltado neat, either chilled to within range of absolute zero in my freezer or over one or two rocks but I plan to keep this Bloody Maria recipe in my liquor cabinet forever, or for at least as long as I can still find the cabinet and lift the bottles.

Soltado is going to hit your plastic at about $39 tonnage and I predict that, after your first bottle, that’s gonna start to look like a huge, screamin’ bargain. Trust me, you are NOT the tightwad I am and I think nothing of throwin’ down for this uniquely memorable stuff, on a very regular basis.   97 Points

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Speak yer piece, Pilgrim.

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