artenom 1580 blanco tequilaArteNOM has made some serious tequila waves in 2013. If you’re unfamiliar with the term “NOM,” it stands for Norma Oficial Mexicana. It’s a four digit code assigned to tequila distilleries by the Mexican government, which is one way that Mexico’s tequila regulatory body can regulate production practices and identify distilleries. NOMs are typically ignored by consumers, but if you’d like, look up the NOM on any bottle of tequila to find out where it’s from. That little artisan label you’re drinking just may be sourced from a massive, commercial distillery. But that’s besides the point.

The point is that ArteNOM has begun issuing limited release bottles of NOM-specified tequila from some of Mexico’s best and most under-the-radar distilleries. It’s a great opportunity to sample tequilas that aren’t typically available stateside. And recently, a few such tequilas landed on our desk. We’ll start with Tequila ArteNOM Selección de 1580, a blanco from the highlands.

Tequila ArteNOM Selección de 1580 Blanco comes from Jesús-María, which is Jalisco’s highest elevation tequila town at nearly 7,000 feet. The soil produces savory, fruit forward, and intensely aromatic tequilas, and that’s exactly what we have here.

The ArteNOM 1580 Tequila is full of cooked agave, ripe fruits and vanilla on the nose. It’s sweet and aromatic with a delicious baked goods thing happening. Take a sip, and things move toward the savory. There’s still a hint of sweetness, but that’s joined by lots of earth, vegetation, roasted peppers, pineapple and citrus. It’s intensely flavorful with a creamy mouthfeel, and it finishes long, smooth and dry.

This is really fine stuff. It’s crisp, clean and well-balanced, and considering all the flavors packed into this bottle, it remains very drinkable neat. Color us impressed. We’re looking forward to exploring more of Mexico’s small distillers soon, as we’ve got a bottle of reposado and anejo here that need drinking.

Note: If you’re keeping score, NOM 1580 was formerly NOM 1079. The distillery recently changed ownership and filed for a new NOM number. You may have seen ArteNOM 1079 in a prior release. ArteNOM 1580 is a new batch from that same distillery. The new number is reflected on the label, and it’s got a few notable flavor differences as well.

– 40% ABV
– $40

CE Rating: ★★★★

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