cambio logo
cambio logoCambio Additive Free Alliance Brand Member

Spare Change

with John des Rosiers

About The Cellar Reserve Series

Agave has a lot more to show us than what has been done to date.

I am not just looking to make the world’s best tequila—I am trying to show there are hundreds of facets that lie undiscovered in agave because, as an industry, we do not utilize all the tools available to showcase these qualities. There is more, a lot more.

Our Cellar Reserve Series is currently launching, and it’s a chance to explore what can be created with agave combined with special techniques and rare barrels for aging. The series will be small—tiny batches that will each have its own story or techniques that brought it to fruition. Every release will be numbered and named, and each will have the bottle count on the label. Bottle, not case. Very tiny.

This series is an experiment, both as a brand and for me as I dive into showing what is possible with these amazing plants and incredible terroir. The series will stretch and delve into dozens of new ideas, new flavors, aromas, and complexities. It gives me an outlet for my creativity while simultaneously challenging what we know about agave. These attributes will remain consistent through the series:

· Bottled at cask or still strength, no dilutions

· 1 time only, no version will ever repeat, making them truly “One-Offs”

· Never chill filtered

· Always unique – these ideas will not be present in our flagship series

· Specially curated handmade labels naturally dyed the soil color of Jalisco

· Machined-engraved, solid metal capsules

#1 el Desliz (the error, slip up): 1000 bottles – 49% ABV

This was a batch of 4 barrels of Cambio, literally our very first experimental batch at ZB. We assumed this would be a test batch, like any new brand starting out at a new distillery, we had a lot of work to refine the process and get used to the ovens, tahonas, brand new wooden fermentation tanks, and to coax their copper stills softly into dripping our new idea into life.

We had barrels specially prepared to use for our Blanco’s aging, and this batch was initially to test just color and flavor influence at a 1 month interval. So after that 1 month we opened the casks and were stunned to see a medium gold hue to our supposedly Blanco Tequila. Our barrels were specially prepared indeed, just not in the way we had wanted. They had received a very colorful and aromatic medium wine toast from the coopers, instead of having no toast at all.

So much for the Blanco test…

As we worked with a different cooper team from Baja to rework the barrels and prepare them for later use, we noticed something special about the Tequila in the barrels—it was beautiful and layered with butterscotch, ripe pear and white peach ending in a spice box of lifted aromatics. The idea for our Cellar Series #1 was born. I left this unintentionally wonderful first batch in those same barrels for 15 months in total.

#2 Gin Barrel Experiment: 250 bottles each release – 46% ABV

We have several barrels that hail from one of the finest rye whiskey producers in America, they also happen to dabble in gin; finished in those same barrels. When used for aging, these rye/gin barrels produce an incredible layered, aromatic, spiced, and complex version of Cambio. This version will actually be part of a Miniseries within the Cellar Reserve Series.

We are going to release 3 different ages of the same tequila using these barrels: 4-month Reposado, 8-month Reposado, and 12-month Anejo.

As customers, normally you only get to experience a distillery’s final product. You’ll rarely get a chance to taste it the way I do, as it matures and grows with time, developing in the barrel from month to month. So I thought it would be cool to show you how this process works and how we decide when a given tequila is done and ready.

This is the 4-month version, literally 1 barrel only. Elegance and complexity dominate this young Reposado with playful aromas of gin spice, blonde caramel, thyme and orange peel. The later versions coming soon will show greater oak influence, more softness and a rounder finish.

#3 el Corazón: 1200 bottles each release – 50% ABV

One of the special production attributes at Cambio is our higher level of sugar to start fermentation. Every yeast needs a certain range of sugar percentage to do their magic, and most of the yeasts used in tequila need something around 8-9° brix (Degrees of Brix is the general language we use to talk about the amount of sugar in something, from agave juice to sorbet to wine grapes). For our flagship version, we start a little above 12-13°, as our yeasts are hungry little buggers that like dessert before dinner!

Also, those normal tequila yeasts do their work around 90° F. Ours need a cool and relaxed environment and a fall jacket—about 50° F.

I had an idea for a special batch to see what would happen if we started out at extremely high sugars and used extremely low temps to ferment.

18° brix and temperature at 44° F.

No one has ever made tequila like this, ever. I know because the yeast we used to perform this little task didn’t exist in Mexico until we imported them, and the temperature controlled wooden tanks we custom built didn’t either. Corazón was also fermented in only American (Tennessee) White Oak tanks, the Flagship versions use 2 styles of wood.

Wow what difference. After taking 3 weeks to ferment and 2 long and slow days of distillation, we had something truly special. I called it Corazón because during distillation I was tasting the heart of the process, and it was filled with fruits and flowers and aromas not usually found in tequila, truly expressive and beautiful. So that’s how I bottled it, just the heart. No heads or tails were used as we normally do in our flagship versions, this means that our yield was half of normal. And we all get to experience a style of tequila never seen before, changed in 3 important ways and then finally aged for 1 month in White Burgundy barrels.

The Cellar Reserve Series always takes time to explain and read about, but their crafting and attention to detail demand it. By the way, this is the short version. Anyone who has had the pleasure (or pain) of listening to me talk about them knows these stories take some time to tell. I hope you enjoy hearing what we are up to and stay tuned for more—these first three releases are just the beginning. The versions in the coming months and years will really change how you think of Tequila.


Subscribe To Our Newsletter

Subscription Form