The Noble Bloggers presents: Carl Wrangel & The Barking Dog
Tequila in Denmark has two names in common: Carl Wrangel and The Barking Dog. How did this happen? This is exactly what we have for you, this week, on The Noble Bloggers!
The connection between Carl and Casa Noble happened thanks to our good friend Mark Alberto Holt, back in the world famous Sayulita Fish Taco & Tequila Bar. One visit later, the history of Carl and Tequila in Denmark has become a fascinating story that we would like to share with all our friends.
“Buenas Dias Comrades!
Unlike most things Tequila, I am neither Mexican or from the United States, but from a cold and fairly big country with a small population, Sweden. Right at the top of Europe. This is not where i live, however, but this is where the story begins. In my teenage years most of my friends tried the one (tequila) with the hat once or twice and never picked up that bottle again. Me, on the other hand had a different idea, It gave me something that moonshine or other bad “vodka’s” did not, a smile on my face. So this became my natural choice for what ever occasion.
Years later I moved to London in the UK and started tending bars. My knowledge of booze at that time was pretty much, the one with the hat, Bacardi Breezers and beer. But that was about to change quickly, my first night working in a bar as matter of fact. “What would you like for your staff drink Carl? – Bacardi Breezers please!” Epic Fail. I got bullied for a while, and started drinking what everybody else did, tequila and beer. By that time I got introduced to 100% agave tequila, Sauza Hornitos. It was like gold in my mouth compared to the one with the hat. After years behind the stick I heard of a new bar opening, on my street, It was a tequila bar, with focus on only 100% agave tequilas and Jaliscan food. I told myself I would work there one day, but knew for sure that I was not good enough. I trained myself hard, managed a couple of bars, got more experienced and a few years later I applied for a job, and got it!
It is here my love story with tequila really starts. I now had over 200 different tequilas behind my back, which most of them I had never heard of. Every day I tried a few different ones and read up on them, I simply had to know everything about all the bottles I had. I picked a few in the beginning that I sold a lot, and then gradually changing. After a year or so, I felt that I could not stand London anymore, it was eating me up. All work and no life. So I decided to move to Copenhagen, Denmark.
Tequila was not big at all in Denmark, so it was a whole new challenge. First of all I could not get good Tequila over here. Part from in Juuls Vinhandel where they stocked Tapatio and El Tesoro, great choices btw. But it was a bit pricey to stock in the bars by that time. It was a fairly fresh market for cocktails and especially for quality Tequila. Quickly figured that Tommy’s Margarita was the way to hit the town, “get people to drink margaritas and they will eventually accept Tequila” I was thinking and it didn’t take long before Tommys was in most of the good bars, and people were drinking Herradura Blanco as the preferred shot. I convinced my boss at the time to buy all the Herradura in the country before we ran out of stock. It was at the same time Brown- Forman got hold of them. As the years passed I got more and more Tequila in the bar I was working at the moment, and I was also pushing the distributers hard. Put people in contact with people and before too long (not soon enough though) a few good brands started popping up in bars. Arette, Viva Mexico, Casa Noble, Corralejo, Aha Toro, Siete Leguas, Herencia de Plata and so on. But it was clearly not enough, I needed more brands to be able to convince people about the diversity of Tequila. Lucky for me a good friend started working at Juuls Vinhandel and he could help me import some good stuff. We now have a big range of artisenal Mezcals and quality Tequila and we are always on the lookout for new stuff.
Wow that was a long intro! (That was not meant to happen, oh well…).
The story continues when I went to Mexico for the first time. I read a lot of books, blogs and so on about tequila and tequila country, but as any aficionado I simply had to see for myself. That trip is a whole other story. But the result being a lot of old bottling of tequila I already had, and for years they stood on my shelf at home as a kind of trophies. One day I had enough and cracked one open, and It took me straight back to when I tried it years ago. I got hold of another bottle (newer one) and didn’t think much of it, but it kept popping up in my head that it seemed better before. It wasn’t until I tasted Casa Noble Gold that all my theories about tequila bottle aging came “true”. I though I was loosing my mind. I remember talking to Tomas Estes, Carlos Camarena and Dave Yan about it, but no one would really agree, and still to this day I claim that tequila gets better over time. I think Dave might be on my side of this argument after the CNG incident. Accidental or not, i just cracked an old Tapatio Blanco (square bottle, white paper label) open, and DAMN! that juice is good. The new one can’t compare. It is completely different. Yes, of course different harvest, fields and so on, but still… no, I believe that just like wine, tequila gets better with age (not aging).
Another point i wanted to bring up was water. I am sure most of you at some point had added water / ice to a tequila and the result was not that great from a tasters point of view. It is not like with whiskey that it opens up flavors and aromas, in my opinion it kills the distillate or dilutes it if you prefer, which leads me on to distilling to proof. I recently picked up a Don Fulano Blanco 50% and compared to the 40% it has so much more flavor, it has no alcohol burn, silky smooth drops of agave. Another great example, a favorite of all times Herradura Blanco 46%, it is a much nicer tequila than export strength. Why is there not more producers who sees the value in this? Agave spirits is really unique in this way, and I think that should make a great selling point. A while ago I got really in to mezcal and one of the first things I got told was to never drink a mescal at 40%, that it was polluted by water, and it makes sense!
Another thing that makes great sense in the world of tequilas what Casa Noble is doing, experimenting with high quality barrels. For me it doesn’t matter how well made your tequila is, onces it gets into a cheap barrel, that will reflect on your product and is no longer a premium product. I have been to quite the few distilleries and the amount of them that do not care about the barrels is a bit scary. There is no reason not to, part from of course the price of the barrel. But is it not better for a brand to have quality product all the way through than skipping the last and most important part of the making of Reposado and anejo tequila, because you don’t want to pay the price for a premium product? How can you expect us to be willing to pay for something that is “cheated”? Or maybe i just need to relax and have a drink. Salud!
Thank you and respect to Casa Noble for keeping it real!”