Welcome to Add to Bar Cart, where Cool Material’s writers and editors recommend the spirits that they’re enjoying most right now.
In the tequila-saturated world we live in, there’s no shortage of high-quality agave spirits to choose from. But a new brand called Alma del Jaguar adds another layer to why you should drink it other than the fact that it’s a highly sippable spirit: conservation.
Alma del Jaguar’s name is more than just a reference to the biggest cat in the Western Hemisphere, an animal that’s seen more than 50 percent of its natural range destroyed by deforestation, development, and poaching. The brand works to help protect jaguars in Mexico and the U.S. (Alma del Jaguar translates to “Soul of the Jaguar”) through direct donations to the Northern Jaguar Project, a conservation organization that manages the Northern Jaguar Reserve in Sonora.
Alma del Jaguar works with the environment top of mind in other ways, too. Nearly all of the packaging is sourced from within 85 miles of the distillery, and it uses recycled Mexican glass and cardboard, reclaimed agave fiber for the labels, and repurposed cork for the stoppers.
All of this makes Alma del Jaguar a brand you can feel good about supporting. Though all of that doesn’t necessarily make it a tequila worth drinking. For that, you need to turn to the brand’s dedication to letting the best agave notes shine in this delicious spirit.
ABV: 40 percent (80 proof)
Where it’s available: Online via Seelbach’s
How Alma del Jaguar Blanco Tequila Is Made
In tequila, location matters in more ways than the simple fact that the spirit can only be made in the specific designated area of Mexico. History and tradition matters, too, and in Alma del Jaguar’s case, the tequila is made on the Vivanco family’s fifth-generation estate in Los Altos de Jalisco by the town of Arandas. The family has grown agave in Los Altos (or the highlands, in English—the Vivanco estate is at about 6,800 feet elevation) since 1929.
Alma del Jaguar is additive free (meaning it uses only agave, water, and yeast). It’s a blend of two tequilas: 80 percent of the blend is distilled from juice fermented with wild yeast, and the remainder uses Champagne yeast from France. The Los Altos agaves are cooked in a brick oven for 54 hours, then are rolled once to extract the juice before water from an estate well is added. As the batches ferment in open-air fermentation tanks, classic music plays. Then, the fermented liquid is twice distilled in a copper pot stills from the famous Mexican copper town of Santa Clara del Cobre. Finally, the unfiltered spirit is bottled by hand at the source.
What Alma del Jaguar Blanco Tequila Tastes Like
On first smell, the tequila has peppermint and black pepper notes alongside the enticing aroma of cooked agave. Each sip has a slight anise sweetness that balances out the citrusy, floral, peppery tequila. The finish is all black pepper and green agave that leaves your mouth feeling clean and ready for another sip. Alma del Jaguar has a bit of a kick to it for a 40 percent ABV tequila, but not so much that you won’t want to drink it neat. That said, it can hold its own in the best tequila cocktails.
Why You Should Add Alma del Jaguar Blanco Tequila To Your Bar Cart
Alma del Jaguar has an aesthetic bottle and label that looks good on a bar cart line up. There’s not denying that. But the full flavors, unfiltered and dual-yeast approach to tequila, and sustainability and conservation efforts make this a brand that you’ll want to pull out at parties just as much as you do for an after work drink.