Spirit Of The Week: Solento ‘Extra Añejo’ Small Batch Tequila
Surf filmmaker Taylor Steele boxes his apex, 40-month aged tequila with a vinyl record.
The lovechild of indie surf filmmaker Taylor Steele, Solento was conceived to celebrate the founder’s love of Mexico—an early affair born on trips south of the border with surfer parents before he could even stand on a board. As Steele launched his film career, more trips to Mexico with soon-to-be-superstars like Kelly Slater and Rob Machado further cemented his love of both adventure and the Land of the Sun.
“I have so many nice memories from these trips of enjoying time by the ocean with friends, family, and quality tequila,” Steele tells Maxim. But then the nascent filmmaker moved to New York City, far from the home of beautiful breaks and bountiful blue agave.
“That is when I craved that feeling I always felt in Mexico,” Steele continues. “Being in a new city, I started connecting with new and old friends and tequila became a great starting place for conversation. It helped me become present, and I wanted to inspire that in others. It’s almost like the tempo of Mexico is brought out in each sip.”
Soon Steele’s success with surf films begat him commercial work, which at first seemed a boon. But the more marketing clients and jobs he booked, the more a moral dilemma began brewing in the creative’s soul.
“The more clients I worked with at a more regular cadence, I was facing the moral dilemma of selling something I didn’t truly believe in,” Steele shares. “When I no longer felt excited about the work I was doing, I decided I needed to pivot again and pursue something I believed in and could fully stand behind.”
The solution to his woes came in the form of distilled blue agave.
“When evaluating my own passions, I kept coming back to the feeling of pure happiness I felt while sipping tequila with friends after a day filled with doing something that ignited my soul,” the awarded filmmaker continues.
“As soon as I pinpointed that feeling, I wanted to replicate that for others. Then upon learning more about the tequila industry, its history and the beautiful process that it takes to make from seed to bottle, it became obvious that starting a tequila brand was my next move.”
In 2019 Solento launched with a Blanco, Reposado and Añejo. But sustainability was critical to Steele, so he committed to growing 100% USDA-certified organic blue weber agave in Amatitán, Jalisco, free of pesticides in single-estate fields to protect his farmers and jimadores.
And this month Solento unveils its apex Extra Añejo expression: a small batch tequila made from that same organic blue agave, which then spends a long 40 months aging in American oak barrels.
To celebrate this momentous spirit, Steele and his Solento team have boxed their halo spirit in a worthy package. The longtime music fan — early surf movies like Momentum featured then little known So-Cal bands like Blink-182, Pennywise, The Offspring, Unwritten Law, 7 Seconds and Sprung Monkey, acting as a huge launching pad for their careers—makes music an integral part of the packaging by adding an actual vinyl record in the packaging.
The Neil Diamond-heavy 12″ is meant to soundtrack a chill, relaxed and most likely shoeless Solento Extra Añejo sipping experience, so the box also includes twin tumblers to help you pour a glass.
“Built on the idea of slowing down, enjoying yourself and savoring life, Extra Añejo is the epitome of that since you can taste the patience it took to grow the 100% organic Blue Weber agave and then age it for 40 months,” Steele explains. “We felt adding an audio element deepened the tasting experience.
“Every song and each playlist is meant to set the mood and help slow down the world down just a little bit more, to feel the experience and remember your surroundings while you’re sipping Solento Extra Anejo.”
Only 480 boxes of Solento Extra Añejo exist—find ’em if you can for around $300.