It was only a matter of time. After cropping up in every conceivable category of spirits from brandy to $500 gin, mizunara – the expensive and notoriously unworkable Japanese species of oak – is coming to tequila, courtesy of the latest expression to be released by small-batch producer: Casa Dragones.
Now into their second decade of operations, the brand is well-known for its extremely precise, clean-flavoured reposado (silver) offerings. Casa Dragones spokespeople put this down to the distillery’s “state-of-the-art process of elaboration”; unlike traditional tequila houses, the blue agave which forms the base spirit isn’t oven-cooked. Instead, in a contemporary twist, each expression in the line-up is made, at the initial stage, using a process of diffusion. Steam and water lead to a pure liquid extraction, with the additional net gain reportedly being how sustainable (in contrast to old-school methods) diffusion is.
The brand has previously fielded an unaged, añejo (old), and sipping tequila. To that, it now adds the Reposado Mizunara – a true first for the tequila world, aged in casks assembled from the eponymous Japanese wood.
“Innovation is what we like to do best – to explore possibilities within the tequila category” said Bertha González Nieves, Co-Founder of Casa Dragones.
“I think that tequila lovers out there and spirit aficionados in general will be very excited to experience something completely different.”
A well-worn trope in the world of whisky, mizunara has become an object of desire for discerning dram drinkers all across the globe – in large part due to its prevalence in the top-end of Suntory’s single malt portfolio. Most famously wed to the Yamazaki 18, it requires a good deal of patience and expertise to work with – owing to its porousness, irregular grain and high moisture content. However, when successfully harnessed, mizunara imparts a variety of delicious flavours to high-proof spirits: including coconut, cedarwood and the distinctly Japanese incense known as kara.
To get the most out of this temperamental resource, Casa Dragones began experimenting with mizunara back in 2018. Over the course of the next four years, the brand worked in close consultation with a Japanese cooperage, who offered insights on how best to construct mizunara casks and the level of char most suitable for ageing spirit made of blue agave. Nieves says the rare Japanese wood “marries beautifully with our tequila”: the end-result being a pale golden drop, that comingles traditional reposado notes with those of something you’re liable to pay $9,999 for.
No word as of yet when Casa Dragones’ latest mizunara expression will be dropping in Australia, but for those who are sufficiently intrigued, you can find it at a selection of online retailers through the brand’s website priced at US$169.99 (AU$262).