Review: Don Julio Rethinks Agave With Alma Miel

Their new joven expression embraces agave honey and French sparkling wine casks

February 8, 2024 8:00 am
Don Julio Alma Miel
Don Julio Alma Miel
Don Julio

What we’re drinking: Tequila Don Julio Alma Miel, a “joven” tequila (joven means a blend of unaged and aged tequilas)

Where it’s from: Founded in 1942 by Don Julio González in the highlands of Jalisco, Julio’s titular tequila is currently owned by drinks giant Diageo. It’s one of the top five tequila brands in the U.S.

Why we’re drinking this: When somebody designs a new process for making tequila, we take notice. And Don Julio is no stranger to limited edition or unique bottlings — we’ve seen them add a little smoke (via ex-Lagavulin barrels) to the mix and they might have invented the unofficial Cristalino tequila category. 

For Alma Miel, the brand says they were inspired by the agave honey that comes from the heart of the 100% Blue Weber agave. For the new bottle, that means creating a blend of blanco tequila distilled with that aforementioned oven-roasted agave honey and mixing that with an añejo tequila, aged for at least 14 months and finished in Crémant du Limoux wine casks from the Limoux region of France (that’d be a sparkling wine). 

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“For the tequilas in our portfolio, the process here is quite different,” Don Julio’s Global Brand Ambassador Karina Sanchez tells me a few days before the Alma Miel launch. “We blend our proprietary blanco with the roasted agave honey, plus that special añejo, to create Alma Miel.”

Sanchez suggests trying it neat or on the rocks with a twist, but interestingly for a luxury launch, the brand is also emphasizing cocktails, with variations that range from a Negroni to an Old Fashioned to an espresso martini. Which is a pretty remarkable range — is Alma Miel that versatile and flavorful? Let’s find out.

Don Julio Alma Miel packaging
The packaging for Don Julio Alma Miel
Don Julio

How it tastes: Coming in at 40% ABV and not quite clear — it’s more translucent or straw pale in color — there’s citrus, a floralness and caramel sweetness on the nose. Dig in a bit and you’ll pick out a fair amount of apple and honey as well. On the palate, those notes continue, particularly the apple, but thankfully the roasted agave profile (vegetal, some minerality) is still present.

I don’t see this for an Old Fashioned, but on the rocks or as a twist on a Negroni? Definitely. It’s a sipper that seems like it would do well in unexpected drinks, like this Oscars-inspired cocktail with bianco vermouth and both chocolate and orange bitters. 

Fun fact: This isn’t the first time we’ve heard about agave honey in tequila. Campari’s new-ish Mayenda blanco tequila sees the distillery macerating the roasted piñas of the agave in their base distillate and blending that with agave miel before the final distillation.

Where to buy: You can grab Tequila Don Julio Alma Miel for $100 on ReserveBar.


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