The huge price tag is probably the first thing you’ll notice about José Cuervo’s 250 Aniversario Rolling Stones Special Edition. At $4,000 it’s one of the most expensive tequila releases in recent memory. And by all estimation, it’s worth every penny.
José Cuervo has a long, complex history in the tequila world, and they produce some of the world’s best tequilas — despite what bad memories a few of us might have from frat houses and house parties.
This isn’t the stuff you poured into the blender over the summer. It’s a blend of rare spirits, with an extra añejo tequila as the base (extra añejo means a minimum of three years of age), which is then blended with blanco tequila that has been stored in the Cuervo family’s private cellar for 100 years. (If that’s confusing, remember that aging and storing are not the same thing. Aging happens in a barrel.)
After all these rare spirits are blended together, the product of that hard work then spent another year aging in Spanish sherry casks, a nod to the Spaniards who infused some new distillation techniques with the old vino de mezcal process. The bottle bears a 14-karat gold cast of the band’s well-known tongue symbol, all wrapped up in a leather-bound guitar case.
As for why the Rolling Stones are involved in an ultra-high-end tequila, it all goes back to the band’s 1972 North American Tour, when the Stones discovered the tequila sunrise cocktail — and José Cuervo tequila became what you might call the tour’s honorary member.
Here’s what we really want to know: Why hadn’t the 100-year-old tequila been consumed? We asked Sonia Espinola, the Director of Heritage for the Cuervo Foundation. “For generations,” she explains, “the distillers would taste all of the tequila they produced and then set aside the best reserves for the Cuervo family. Over time, this collection grew in size, and today, many of the oldest reserves of José Cuervo tequila are from the family’s private collection.”
Basically, the Cuervos have a library of vintage products from the best years that rivals the greatest wine cellars in the world. Espinola says they’re “some of the most prized bottles in the Cuervo family’s collection.”
Espinola also gave us some insight into why they broke out the good stuff now. In a word: celebration. “Our blenders wanted to create a tequila that stood for the 250 years that the José Cuervo family has been making tequila,” she explained, “and to celebrate the rich heritage of the company. As the oldest tequila company, it was imperative that the blenders selected the best reserves to create 250 Aniversario, and this is where the 100-year-old tequila, from deep inside the Cuervo family cellar, makes its appearance.”
You knew there was going to be a catch, so here it is: Only 25 bottles of this rare product were produced. So we’d suggest getting on the hunt, unless you want to wait for the 300th anniversary.