This Innovative Tequila Brand Just Dropped an Unusually Aged Single-Barrel Cristalino

In the world of tequila, the cristalino category has become increasingly popular over the past few years (for better or worse), while single barrel expressions remain a relatively infrequent occurrence comparatively speaking. Tequila Cayéya, however, decided to bring these two concepts together with the launch of El Diablo’s Elixir, a single-barrel cristalino that underwent an interesting maturation process.

Tequila Cayéya is produced at Destiladora de Agave Azul (NOM 1424), where several other brands are made. The blanco aside (for obvious reasons—it’s unaged), Cayéya’s two core aged expressions are both single barrel releases: The reposado spends nine months in re-charred American oak ex-whiskey barrels, while the añejo is aged for 15.5 months in American oak and then finished for 2.5 months in French wine barrels. These are limited releases, with the reposado coming out three times a year and the añejo just twice.

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El Diablo’s Elixir, part of the new Devils vs. Angels series, is being released in a batch of just 1,200 bottles as a one-off that will not be repeated. This is an añejo cristalino released as a single barrel expression, as opposed to a blend of barrels, that was aged in three different types of casks: six months in American oak, six months in French oak, and back in American oak for a final six months. The tequila was then filtered through charcoal to remove the color, making it a cristalino. Official tasting notes describe agave, sweet caramel, and toasted oak on the palate, with a peppery finish.

According to the brand the tequila is additive-free, which would also make it stand out given that many cristalinos use additives to restore the flavor that was removed during filtration. To be clear, tequila brands can use less than 1 percent additives without disclosing it, although Cayéya’s blanco expression is verified as being additive-free by Tequila Matchmaker, and according to a rep for the brand the other SKUs are in the process of being certified.

There is also a new one-off single-barrel añejo tequila to accompany the cristalino called The Spirit of an Angel. This one spent 27 months in casks: nine months in American oak, nine months in French oak, and nine months back in American oak, so basically an older version of the cristalino minus the filtration. The tasting notes for this expression describe agave, oak, coffee, and toffee on the palate, with a long finish full of espresso flavors.

El Diablo’s Elixir seems to come at an opportune time, as so many brands are releasing cristalino expressions, with varying results, including Codigo 1530, Mijenta, Casamigos, and Espolon. Each tequila in the Devils vs. Angels series comes in a specially designed bottle and gift box, the Diablo in red and the Angels in blue, and is priced at $150. You can purchase both at the brand’s website or find them at various secondary retailers.

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