WINE & SPIRITS
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"This is the tequila we once reserved only for our family's personal use," said Juan Domingo Beckmann, a 10th-generation member of the Cuervo family, at the launch party in Manhattan. "We wanted to offer the consumer the same tequila we've been drinking for the last 200 years." While aged amber tequila has long had a place on the American connoisseur's shelf, Beckmann explained, high-end, un-aged silver is just now coming into its own. So rich and smooth it needs no mixers, Jose Cuervo Platino comes in a beautiful but classic bottle, hand-sealed in blue wax. Yet my vote for packaging of the year goes to an even more dazzling bottle of tequila from Los Arango, a boutique producer that takes its moniker from the name of Mexican revolutionary Doroteo Arango, best known as Pancho Villa. Super high-end, the label's small batch of aged anejo has hints of honey and spice and comes in a spectacular hand-blown blue glass bottle with a rectangular body and a whimsical, off-center neck. Like so many drinkers these days, I am certainly a sucker for artful packaging. And yes, you guessed it: I'm an avowed experimentalist eager for another spirit-soaked night of booze exploration.