el Día de los Muertos in Mexico, and was the main setting for the classic LucasArts adventure game Grim Fandango. I do not live close enough to the border to have participated in these celebrations, though as an anthropology student I am very familiar with it and have handled a lot of real skulls in my day, always with respect and according to the highest ethical standards. I also collected animal skulls as a child and had a number of them adorning the bookshelves in my room. Not to be macabre, but looking at the teeth of a cow versus a coyote teaches you a lot about how herbivores and carnivores eat their food. The twisting river-shaped lines in the skull of a deer show how the plates came together throughout its life.
If you are going to spend the holiday imbibing Mexico's native liquors, I would suggest spending a few extra dollars to move up to the top shelf. Here I review three tiny 50mL bottles of Partida Tequila. The brand was launched in 2001 and all of these are made in the Tequila Valley of Jalisco on the southwestern coast of Mexico, and all are 100% blue agave.
Partida Tequila Blanco
$40/750mL, 40% abv.
Classic tequila aroma, clean and bracing with a bright finish. These white or silver tequilas are primarily employed in cocktails, where the citrus and other elements will smooth the edges.
Partida Tequila Reposado
$48/750mL, 40% abv.
Nutty and vanilla notes with a smoother finish. Very interesting aftertaste that tends to be reminiscent of good brandy or grappa. Due to the softer body, I'd recommend this for making real margaritas (as in, DO NOT mix this with that bright green stuff in a jug, use a lime and simple syrup and Triple Sec).
Partida Tequila Añejo
$50/750mL, 40% abv.
Aged in Jack Daniel's barrels, once again, bringing a local product home through a circuitous route. Slightly sweet and deliciously smooth with nice oak elements and a touch of orange peel on the finish. The one that you don't want to mix with anything, but merely enjoy from the comfort of an easy chair with a crystal brandy snifter.
Note: These bottles were provided as samples for review.