Review: This pricey tequila has roots in Ukraine


The bottle

Laneta tequila ($89.99-$169.99, depending on expression)

The back story

Normally, when we talk about tequila, we talk about Mexico, where the agave-based spirit hails from. But Laneta is a tequila that also has roots in a very unexpected place — namely, Ukraine.

That’s because it was founded in part by Edward Geyman, a fourth-generation Ukrainian glassmaker who is now based in the United States and also runs Carvart, a prominent architectural-solutions company.

The story goes that Geyman, a fan of agave spirts, was looking for a new way to showcase his design work, so he eventually partnered with Manny Blanco, a booze-industry veteran, on a tequila brand. Laneta, which refers to “la neta” (a Mexican colloquialism for “the truth”), launched a few years ago, but is making a renewed push of late in this country.

Given Geyman’s interest in all things glass, the bottle became key to the brand’s identity. Specifically, it’s a super-tall bottle —17 inches — by industry standards. The scaling on the sides is intended to evoke the texture of the agave leaves, while the smooth neck is supposed to reflect the transformation of the agave into a refined spirt.

“There is rich symbolism at every point in the design,” Geyman told MarketWatch, noting that he takes this glass stuff seriously and that his great grandfather was “making glass and selling it door to door in the 1930’s Soviet-era Ukraine.”

Geyman added that the bottle “was an opportunity to create something that would immediately catch your eye on a backbar and feel luxurious in your hands.”

Of course, there’s also the liquid inside the bottle, which is indeed sourced in Mexico. The brand bills itself as a small-batch, ultra-premium tequila (the pricing certainly reflects that). It is growing its portfolio, having recently added an añejo expression ($129.99) to its lineup.

The brand’s push comes at a time when tequila and mezcal sales are soaring in the U.S. The Distilled Spirits Council of the United States says the category of Mexican spirits has grown by 528.5% over the last two decades, reaching $6 billion in sales (based on supplier revenue).

What we think about it

No question: That’s one impressive tequila bottle. But the liquid is tasty as well. I sampled the highest-end expression, the extra añejo ($169.99), which is about as delicate as tequila gets, with notes of the what the brand as chocolate and “luscious date cake.” It’s one to sip slowly, perhaps as you admire the design of the bottle.

How to enjoy it

As I said, this is a sipper for sure. But if you go with the base-level blanco expression ($89.99), the brand says it can be tapped for cocktails and makes for a “beautifully balanced margarita.”

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