Tequila ASMR: How It Felt to Be Harvested, Distilled & Aged
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Tequila ASMR: How It Felt to Be Harvested, Steamed, Distilled, Barrel-Aged and Filtered

Tequila ASMR

We Have Arrived at the Spirit Industries’ Newest Innovation: Tequila ASMR. Photo: Gran Centenario

It seems like the spirits world is always reaching for new heights.

As brands attempt to differentiate themselves from the pack with unique twists like special barrel-agings, crystal filtration, gourmet infusions and more, they too are being pushed towards more elaborate branding and presentation. We no longer live in the world of a simple margarita; nowadays, we can expect our margarita topped with seaweed foam or gold leaf, perhaps even served deconstructed on a plate.

This was exactly how I felt as I walked into a tequila ASMR event hosted by Gran Centenario to launch their new Cristalino expression.

I wasn’t sure quite what to expect; the term “tequila ASMR” doesn’t exactly speak for itself. The event had been described as a “sensory experience” that was going to “explore sound, scent and taste to reveal the smoothest, ultra-premium expression of Mexico’s #1 Tequila.” I was mystified.

After a brief wait, a small group of us were ushered behind curtains into a brightly lit room with glass tables and translucent plastic highchairs.

Tequila ASMR

Sitting in front of each of us was a pair of headphones, a blindfold and a pamphlet detailing the tequila expression we were about to experience.

Tequila ASMR

The setup.

Gran Centenario Cristalino was described as a mixed batch añejo with a smooth apple flavor acquired from its time spent aging in Calvados brandy casks. It was apparently also filtered for clarity using real Mexican silver. Both of these details would later become important.

We were told by a host at the front of the room to put on our blindfolds and headphones. In crinkly, satin-soft surround sound, I was told to place my hands on the table if I didn’t want to continue at any point during the experience.

Hands by my side, the ASMR began. The first words were spoken — “I am agave. I bask in the sun.”

A warm light flashed on me from my left, bright enough to feel it beam through my blindfold. I immediately realized what lay ahead of me; not only was I the agave, but I was about to be processed into Gran Centenario’s newest tequila.

Tequila ASMR

Photo: Pexels/Los Muertos Crew

Hearing the hard thwacks of a shovel, I was dug out of the ground and my stalks were trimmed. My agave comrades and I were then taken to the plant for processing. There we were steamed, announced as a puff of damp air was wafted into my face.

Next came distillation. Bubbles crackled and popped in my ears, rising above me. I nearly jumped in my chair when someone trickled their fingers on my forehead to emulate the feeling of being distilled. I remembered once again – I was the agave.

Since I was being turned into an aged tequila, I of course had to be barrel-aged. I was poured into a cask where I could hear the faint sound of breathing as I seeped in and out of its wooden walls. A voice muttered that I was beginning to “remember those who occupied this place before me.”

An unseen hand gave me a small plate that I was encouraged to sniff. It smelled like apples.

Tequila ASMR

Photo: Pexels/Los Muertos Crew

Lastly, I was filtered for clarity. I heard the clinking of glasses in the distance as I was turned from an amber-tinted añejo into a shimmering clear Cristalino. I could swear I smelled a metallic puff of silver spritzed in my face, but I can’t be completely sure.

At long last we were told to take off our blindfolds and headphones. In a somewhat macabre twist given the context of the experience thus far, I was told to taste a glass of Gran Centenario Cristalino that had appeared in front of me.

Despite my general reservations about cannibalism, I took a sip.

Suffice to say, the experience was unlike any I had ever had. The over-the-top, sometimes ludicrous extent to which I was placed in the shoes (or rather, the field?) of an agave plant was as aromatic as it was absurd.

We can only imagine what comes next for the tequila industry.

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Pedro Wolfe is the managing editor of Tequila Raiders. With several years of experience writing for the New York Daily News and the Foothills Business Daily under his belt, Pedro aims to combine quality reviews and recipes with incisive articles on the cutting edge of the tequila world. Pedro has traveled to the heartland of the spirits industry in Tequila, Mexico, and has conducted interviews with agave spirits veterans throughout Mexico, South Africa and California. Through this diverse approach, Tequila Raiders aims to celebrate not only tequila but the rich tapestry of agave spirits that spans mezcal, raicilla, bacanora, pulque and so much more.