Bacardi-owned Patrón Tequila has released its first smoky expression, called Gran Patrón Smoky.Gran Patrón Smoky is created using 100% weber blue agave. To give the Tequila its smoky note, the piña of the agave plant is roasted in underground stone pits at the Patrón Hacienda distillery in the Highlands of Jalisco, Mexico. The piñas are normally baked in small brick ovens. The agave is then crushed with a volcanic stone tahona wheel. The juice and agave fibres are then put in pine wood fermenters and distilled in “small capacity” copper pot stills. The Tequila is said to have notes of artichoke, pepper, spices and hints of sweet citrus. This leads to “very distinctive” smoked agave and more citrus flavours, ending with a “long peppery finish”. Lee Applbaum, who was last month appointed global chief marketing officer at Patrón Tequila, said: “At Patrón, from the beginning, we have always been dedicated to preserving traditional Tequila-making techniques. “With Gran Patrón Smoky we’ve taken that commitment one step further by exploring the ancient method of roasting the agaves in small, underground stone pits, resulting in a balanced yet complex smoky flavour.” Bottled at 50.5% abv, Gran Patrón Smoky will be available in limited quantities in 13 select US markets from September, with plans for “broader expansion” in 2019. It has an RRP of US$199 per 750ml. Bacardi acquired Patrón International Spirits in April this year, in a deal that valued the Tequila maker at US$5.1 billion. Last month, Bacardi said it is working to increase Patrón’s production capacity by “close to 50%” while retaining its artisanal processes.