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Solento Organic Tequila launched in late 2019, one of a flurry of new tequila brands over the past few years, but it stands out for a few significant reasons, including being USDA-certified organic and made from single-estate agave. The brand was founded by Taylor Steele, a filmmaker known for his work capturing the Southern California surfing scene. The eye-catching bottle, designed by Javas Lehn, almost looks more like it might contain perfume rather than tequila, but the liquid within is a solid representation of the category. It is distilled at NOM 1480, where brands like El Sativo and 123 Organic Tequila are also made, and according to the brand, the agave pinas are cooked for two days in stone ovens before being pressed to extract their juice and distilled.
Sustainability is important to Steele, and we had a chance to chat with him via email about exactly what this means for the brand. “Consumers are becoming more environmentally and ethically conscious around the power of their purchasing decisions and, as a result, holding brands to a higher standard,” he said. “When we launched Solento, we knew, as conscious consumers ourselves, that this would be a core tenant of our values by growing sustainable, organic agave while working on initiatives that give back to the land.” These [initiatives] include recycling the bagasse (solid waste) and using it as compost, and sending the vinasse (liquid waste) to a water treatment facility to remove toxins. “Producing a USDA-certified organic product means we aren’t contributing to exposing our workers or members of the community to harmful pesticides,” said Steele. “As the founder of a brand produced in Jalisco with many close friends living in the area, it’s important to us that our charitable initiative supports the state.”
There are a few main charitable initiatives at the moment. The first is focused on promoting sustainable farming training for local farmers, including how to conserve native seeds and organic/pesticide-free and multi-crop farming. The second is called School Organic Farming Engagement, which promotes an organic and pesticide-free garden at a local primary school to help educate kids about healthy eating and sustainability. Finally, there’s the Second Life campaign, which encourages people to upcycle their Solento bottles once they’re empty, instead of throwing them away.
So how does the tequila actually taste? Quite good, as it turns out. The blanco tequila has notes of coconut, agave, and grass on the nose, followed by strong black pepper, white chocolate, and vanilla flavors on the palate that lead into a grapefruit finish. The reposado, aged for nine months in American oak, begins with a bouquet of candied orange and earth, followed by a palate rich in vanilla, plum, white pepper, and nutmeg, culminating in a figgy finish. Finally, the anejo spends 18 months in barrels. It opens with caramel and honey on the nose, evolves into butterscotch, toffee, and dark chocolate on the palate, and has a lingering vanilla pudding finish. These are all excellent sipping tequilas, but the blanco, in particular, would work well in cocktails as well.
Solento may be new but they’re a promising upstart in the world of tequila and we’re excited for you to give them a try. Check out their three bottles below and let us know what you think!