Spirit Of The Week: Tequila Ocho Reposado Barrel Select Widow Jane 2022

This rare tequila is aged for 8 weeks and 8 days in used bourbon barrels from a craft whiskey distillery in Brooklyn.

(Photo: Widow Jane)

I spent last week in the beautiful city of Mérida, Mexico to explore Yucatán food and watch the unveiling of Latin America’s 50 Best Restaurants. The Pollo Pibil cooked in underground pits by the Aldea Xbatún Mayan family was something not to be forgotten, while meeting among the world’s best chefs was truly both a thrill and honor. (Congrats to Virgilio Martinez and his Central restaurant for retaking pole position, the first time since 2016 for Lima’s culinary destination.) 

One of the tiny thrills was the party, partly hosted by the superb Tequila Ocho. While there we sipped a couple Blancos, and then were introduced to something even more special: the very limited edition Tequila Ocho Reposado Barrel Select Widow Jane 2022. This rare tequila — only 1,000 cases made — is aged for 8 weeks and 8 days in used bourbon barrels plucked from another of our recent MAXIM Spirit of the Week labels, the Brooklyn-based Widow Jane Distillery. 

“This limited edition reposado reflects Ocho’s philosophy on agave-forward tequila by showcasing the terroir of the agave used, while bringing some notes of vanilla, oak and caramel from the Widow Jane barrels to create a pleasant and well-balanced spirit,” explains Carlos Camerena, third generation maestro tequilero at La Alteña Distillery near Arandas, Jalisco. “I am certain it will appeal to the palates of both tequila and whiskey aficionados.”

(Photo: Widow Jane)

It’s hard not to be a fan of the love that Camerena pours into his tequila, and Ocho (and the El Tesoro lable as well) are the jewels of his work. The single-estate, single-field certified 100% additive-free spirit sources its agaves from Camarena’s own tree-shaded fields.

There he allows many agaves to fully mature to pollinate and help preserve the endangered bat population, critical to the livelihood of the agave azul which the entire region depends upon.

Sadly, it’s a rare practice in Jalisco as you lose those agaves once the quiotes grow — but Camarena insists upon it. Tequila Ocho’s agave-forward tequila earns subtle notes of caramel and baking spice from the Widow Jane bourbon barrels to its chocolate and citrus profile, making for a rare tequila worth seeking (45.5% ABV). $129

Follow Contributing Spirits Editor Nicolas Stecher on Instagram at @nickstecher and @boozeoftheday.