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Tequila Ocho's New Añejo Uses Whiskey Barrels to Surprisingly Great Results

Tequila Ocho's New Añejo Uses Whiskey Barrels to Surprisingly Great Results


Ocho, one of the best names in the crowded world of tequila, just released the new Tequila Ocho Añejo Barrel Select Widow Jane 2024. The brand is known for excellent, traditionally made tequila—no celebrity backers and no additives to augment flavor or color. Additionally, the brand’s expressions are all vintages made from agave harvested from single fields, allowing these tequilas to really highlight the effects of terroir on the palate. 

Chalk it up to the vision of Ocho’s co-founders, fifth-generation tequilero Carlos Camarena and the late tequila expert and ambassador Tomas Estes, who created the brand in 2008. Camarena is well-known in the tequila world, and his La Altena Distillery is where other esteemed brands like El Tesoro and Tapatio are produced. Estes published The Tequila Ambassador in 2012, considered by many to be the definitive tome on the category. His son, Jesse, is currently the Ocho brand ambassador.

In 2022, Kentucky distillery Heaven Hill acquired Samson & Surrey, which included brands like Ocho, Brooklyn distillery Widow Jane, and FEW Spirits in its portfolio. So, as is often the case, the new Tequila Ocho Añejo Barrel Select Widow Jane 2024 is the result of a bit of corporate synergy. The name gives you a good inkling of what you’ll find in the bottle: a single estate, single field (Rancho El Nacimiento, in this case) añejo tequila that was distilled in 2022 and spent a full year maturing in “recently emptied” Widow Jane whiskey barrels. (According to a rep for the brand, these barrels were used to mature sourced whiskey blended at the distillery, not Widow Jane’s produced-in-house bourbon). 

“The philosophy of Ocho has always been to showcase the terroir of the agave plants, but we also love to try and experiment with new, innovative ideas,” said Camarena in a statement. This is the second collaboration between the brands. The first was a reposado aged for eight weeks and eight days in Widow Jane bourbon barrels.

Spending a year in these barrels greatly affects the flavor, which could arguably negate the effects of terroir that you’d pick up when comparing this to blanco expressions made from agave harvested from different fields. But the bottom line is that this is a very tasty añejo. The fact that it’s bottled at 96 proof goes a long way, because that higher ABV means less dilution and more flavor. The agave character really shines through, which is a very good thing, since you wouldn’t want to cover up such bright notes of grass, earth, and citrus. The effects of a year spent in barrels are pronounced without going overboard. There are notes of vanilla, oak, chocolate, and espresso coffee bean present, making this tequila a lovely sipping spirit. Go ahead and make an old fashioned or Negroni with this if you feel like. But for a retail price of $90 a bottle, not to mention its warm, rich flavor profile, this tequila might be one best saved for sipping neat.

Related: The Best Sipping Tequilas of 2024

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