OF BOOZE AND BANDS: Trader Joe’s Tequila takes on the Mighty Patrón

on 13/02/12 at 9:10 am

Booze News, BoozeBlog

Intrepid reporter, D.R. Stewart, reviews TJ’s tequila with the help of the J. Scott Bergman band.

“My old 90′s band loved Patrón. We loved it so much, we married it to Corona. We would ask – “Would you like a Pa-trone-ah?” A Frosty Corona, with a shot of Patrón at the ready.  Kismet!

Tequila has moved on. There’s an actual blog called the Tequila Whisperer As the popularity of tequila grows, experts warn the blue agave plant is being over-farmed. Even Turtle on Entourage was pushing his own brand.

I figured I needed help to understand the New Trader Joe’s Premium Silver Tequila (TJ’s), so I decided to call in a bandBands are where I first learned to drink premium tequila (college shots of cuervo don’t count. And yes, yes, I know there’s high-end Cuervo’s now, I just don’t drink em). I asked my pal Christian Gaines (a tequila afficiando) if I could hang out with his band: J. Scott Bergman. Why would Christian Gaines call his band J. Scott Bergman?  Well, cuz it’s actually J.Scott’s band, Christian plays bass in the enterprise. We met at the AMP rehearsal facility in NO-HO, the shiny new arts area of LA. 

I found them in Studio F, and pulled out the TJ’s tequila and set it out a tray with drinking glasses for all the band members. Fancy.

The J. Scott Bergman Band: L-R: Green, Gaines, Dew and Bergman

In between songs, I ask the band about their first Tequila experiences:

J. Scott Bergman: Trying to get relaxed before performing. I would use tequila to ease into getting on stage. A shot. Mighta been Patrón.

Drummer Dew:  I know I had tequila in England doing shots. [What kind?]  No recollection. [mind-erasing tequila!]

Christian :  Unfortunately, my first tequila was pretty much like everyone’s – Cuervo. I am much more interested in my later experiences – I love Mezcal. When I was in Guanajuato, I had some the Gusano Rojos [literally – “red worm”], their local regional central Mexican mezcal – absolutely brilliant. There are three basic kinds of tequila — plata ["silver"], reposado ["rested"], añejo [“aged”]. They do get progressively darker. Añejo is the darkest and sweetest and most like whiskey. I like reposados. I like añejos. Patrón is perfectly respectable tequila, but give me a Cazadores, Herencia, Gran Centenario.

The Trader Joe’s we are drinking is a plata, a silver. Martin tastes the TJ’s – he likes it, find it sweet, which he is positing as a good thing. J.Scott finds it “pretty good” but declares it “a little sweet for my tastes.”  Christan and Dew label it “smooth.”  I take a pull. I get the sweet they speak of, but it’s worth sipping to me, not something you chuck down your throat like medicine. Christian says,“All tequila should be sipped. The shot thing is the worst thing that ever happened to tequila.” I still feel that crap tequila has its place – in Margaritas. Good tequila overwhelms the mixology, too much tart for the tequila to compete against. Dew chimes in about an aperitif he had in Mexico with tequila, felt like a bloody mary to some extent, it’s known as the Sangrita

J.Scott feels that booze and bands do not mix anymore, saying, “modern artists are not as boozy as they used to be.” Nice buzz kill on our tequila, J. Scott. Christian opines it’s more about moderation – “being able to have a drink and not get plowed while watching a band. J. Scott is just worried that “people are killing themselves.”  We talk about the Indie ethic and J. Scott opines that “they are more into soy milk than tequila.”  Tres Bon Iver!

I ask people to clear their glasses of the TJ’s, so we can compare to the classic Silver Patrón. The drummer Dewasks to keep his portion “very small please.” Wow, things have changed.

Scott likes the Patrón better. Martin goes with the TJ’s. Christian feels the Patrón has more aroma and character. Scott: “sits on the palate heavier. Tastes more expensive.” Martin: I prefer east coast to west coast Scotch whiskeys, I’m from Henley-On-Thames, near George Harrison’s house Frair Park.” Sooo, obviously he likes the TJ’s better.

The boys played another song,Foutainbleau” off their CD. And I put them back to work. We come back to the TJ’s, now having the silver standard of Patrón to compare it against.  

J. Scott – Still prefer the other one [Patrón], this is just lighter. More of a casual feel to it. The other one feels like you’re drinking more serious. This is sweeter, lighter.

Drummer Dew:  Very Happy.

Christian:  [Provides the surprise — starts to like the TJ’s more:]  “This is pretty good. It tastes more honest to me. [take that Patrón!]  It’s not like it’s playing as many tricks on me.

The J. Scott Bergman band finish with their newest song I Can See You”and the finale on “Beautiful Ordinary.” 

Trader Joe’s Premium Silver Tequila retails for $16.95 tequila (750ml) and Mezcal for $17.95 mescal (750ml).  Patrone can often be purchased at Trader Joe’s for around $40.00, while in liquor stores it’s closer to $60.”

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