Tequila Ocho Plata Puntas – La Ladera 2021 (50.5 % Alc. Vol.)
Tequila Ocho Plata Puntas (La Ladera 2021) is the latest special offering from the well-renowned La Alteña distillery (NOM 1474). It is also the last collaboration between Carlos Camarena and Tomas Estes; two pillars of the Tequila industry that need no introduction.
We will start out this review by saying that a lot has truly changed since our last write-up was published more than a couple of years ago.
Tequila Reviewer started out as a fun project, focused on exploring and sharing the interesting world of the spirit that we’ve all learned to appreciate and love. Our knowledge, palate, and appreciation, however, have all evolved in what appears to be a blink of an eye.
After an unnecessarily-long break, we are kicking things back into action. And, we are doing this by reviewing one of the most popular tequilas of 2022.
Why It’s Special
Ocho is arguably one of the best tequila brands available in today’s market. Every single one of their releases is unique and special in its own way.
Puntas is a tribute to the last collaboration between “Master Distiller” Carlos Camarena (Ocho, Tapatio, El Tesoro, etc.) and Tomas Estes; co-founder of Ocho and Tequila Ambassador. Estes passed away in 2021.
The concept of Ocho Puntas is very simple. A cut is made in the early stages of the second distillation; leaving behind a limited amount of high-proof liquid. The end product is a 64% ABV (alcohol by volume) spirit that’s then reduced with spring water to 50.5 ABV.
Puntas is believed to be the most desirable part of the distillation process and not traditionally sold – but instead intended to be enjoyed with the producer’s friends and family. This is due to its high concentration of aromas and flavors.
In short, La Ladera Puntas is a high-proof blanco tequila that sets to deliver an exceptional tasting experience, founded on tradition and simplicity.
While there isn’t much information on the production specifics of this special release, it’s safe to say that they weren’t much different from the standard Ocho offerings.
Tequila Ocho was the first brand to introduce the concept of “Single Estate” which relies heavily on the concept of terroir.
In simple terms, the agave takes on unique characteristics, based on the land that it’s grown in. The altitude, sun, conditions, etc. will directly impact the final product.
The agave for Ocho Tequila is sourced from the Camerena family’s own fields, which are harvested after 7/10 years when they reach peak maturity. The piñas are then taken to the distillery where they are cooked in a traditional stone-brick oven.
The next step is extracting the juices using a roller mill and mixing them with water sourced from a natural spring. From there, the juice is passed onto wooden vats so the fermentation can take place; this process lasts 4-5 days.
Lastly, the juice will undergo a double-distillation process; starting with a steel-pot still and finishing with a copper-pot still.
As far as the specifics go for the “La Ladera” Estate, we couldn’t find any information on the defining characteristics of the terroir. We will update this write-up as soon as we obtain it.
Nosing and Tasting
It doesn’t get much better than this for a silver tequila. A quick swirl in the Riedel leaves a series of medium to slow tears crawling down the glass.
From the consistency and color alone, there’s no mistaking that this is one well-made high-proof blanco.
The nose is unmistakenly Ocho. While it’s true that the aromas on all vintages are unique in their own way, they all share the same DNA which gives them the unique character that makes this brand stand out.
As soon as you open the bottle, take the first poor, and have a whiff, you are hit with cooked agave that is surprisingly… balanced. At 50.5 ABV, you would expect this to have plenty of alcohol on the nose – although there is some hiding in the background, it does not dominate the aroma.
The aroma plays between a mix of light-fruity and vegetal notes as well as some citrus and light spice. There is also a subtle note of brininess and cinnamon.
If we could describe the aroma of this tequila, it would be just right. However, we can’t help but be disappointed, as we honestly expected it to have a bit more kick, depth, and personality. Still, the aroma is quite pleasant and balanced.
The tasting notes of Tequila Ocho Puntas don’t shy away from the nose.
The first sip starts out with agave sweetness. The consistency of this tequila is on the lighter/thinner side.
The sweetness begins to fade and is substituted by flavors of lime and cinnamon. There is some dryness and brininess to this tequila that make it enjoyable.
Highlands tequilas have a reputation for having fruity undertones. However, you really have to dig for these as the flavor is predominantly vegetal.
The finish is nice and long. The flavors linger and leave a pleasing sensation on the tongue that makes you want another sip.
Overall, the taste of this tequila is very enjoyable and will please those looking for a balanced high-proof Blanco.
Should You Buy It?
La Ladera Puntas has been on the sights of Tequila enthusiasts since it was first announced on social media.
It’s no secret that “Limited Releases” and “Special Edition” tequilas have taken the market by storm. It has also proven to be an excellent opportunity for different companies/producers to cash in on the latest trends.
If we set aside the backstory behind Ocho Las Puntas, we are left behind with a limited, exceptionally-made, high-proof spirit that will soon be scooped off the shelves by enthusiasts and collectors.
If you run across it, and it’s not outrageously priced, there’s no reason why you shouldn’t pick it up. It honestly is a great tequila that will not disappoint.
However, due to the price point and exclusivity, it isn’t a tequila that you’ll be wanting to drink every day. The bottle used for this review (Number 444) was purchased for a little under $1,000 pesos, in Mexico.
Sure, $50 USD might not seem like a lot of money, compared to some other limited releases. However, at the price point where it sits, there are better options that we’d rather spend our money on.
Overall, we can’t help but be a little disappointed with this offering. The tequila fills a gap that shouldn’t exist.
Balanced, aromatic, light on alcohol. Overall, it’s enjoyable but it won’t blow you away.
A direct transition from the nose; the aromas translate into the flavor. While the tequila is undeniably tasty, it’s not as exciting or bold as we had originally hoped for.
The finish is nice, long, and balanced. Nothing to complain about here.
Here’s where some enthusiasts will disagree with us. At almost $1,000 pesos ($50 USD) it is not the most expensive limited release tequila out there – it isn’t the most inexpensive either. However, at some point, we have to draw a line between what’s actually fair and what’s overpriced.