Komos, the ultra-luxury, award-winning tequila made its UK debut in Selfridges this year, making the perfect festive gift to those dreaming of sunnier climes. The premium tequila takes inspiration from European wine-making techniques and is aged in the finest French oak wine barrels to create a nuanced and complex spirit with a satin finish.
Komos’s portfolio is made up of four expressions: Añejo Cristalino, a clear smooth tequila, Reposado Rosa, a rich pink tequila, reminiscent of a French rosé, Añejo Reserva, blended in French oak wine and bourbon barrels, plus sherry casks and Extra Añejo, aged for a minimum of three years in both French oak white wine and American oak whiskey barrels. Each Komos expression represents Mexican tradition combined with Mediterranean influences and works wonderfully on its own or in a variety of premium classic cocktails.
Richards Betts, founder of Komos, has spent his career developing established and emerging brands in luxury markets. He uses his considerable expertise (in 2003, Richard was the ninth person ever to pass the Court of Master Sommeliers’ Masters Exam on the first attempt) to bring innovative and opulent drinks to market.
Here, he talks to Shekha Vyas about what makes Komos so special.
How did it all start?
I started Tequila Komos after falling in love with tequila during my travels to Mexico. I wanted to create a tequila that reflected the beauty and complexity of the agave plant, and I worked with local producers to develop a unique process that would bring out the best in the agave. Tequila Komos redefines the tequila category – blending the highest artistry in tequila-making with innovation inspired by European winemaking techniques, building off my background in Winemaking.
What makes Komos different?
While we use the best-of-the-best techniques in traditional tequila making while also incorporating some innovative wine making techniques. Instead of bourbon barrels like most tequila, we use the very best French oak barrels to age our liquid. The result allows the agave to shine through, and a softer and smoother drinking experience. We also do specific things such as aerating the tequila for various lengths before we bottle it.
Why do you think there is a renewed interest in tequila as a luxury item?
In recent years, there has been a growing appreciation for great beverages across the board – from beer to alcohol-free to spirits. As drinkers become more knowledgeable, they understand the beauty of the spirit and are interested in drinking the best. What was once viewed as something you shot, is now something that is likened to cognac or fine wine. This change in perception has naturally seen the attention of the cognoscenti drawn to tequila which recognize it as a sophisticated option.
What are your predicted trends for tequila and the drinks industry in 2024?
The trend of consumers gravitating towards high-quality, premium tequilas will persist. People are willing to pay more for unique and well-crafted products, and this will drive innovation and competition among tequila producers to offer exceptional expressions. This, of course, is good news for the tequila enthusiast.
Additionally, consumers are increasingly conscious of environmental and social issues. Tequila producers, including Tequila Komos, will focus more and more on sustainability practices, such as agave sourcing and waste reduction. For example, we have launched the Komos Foundation, pioneering a process which turns agave waste into adobe bricks to build local infrastructure.
Finally, I’d add that tequila’s popularity is not limited to its home in North America. In 2024, we can expect continued growth in international markets, with more countries embracing and appreciating tequila as a spirit of choice. Komos is loved in London, throughout better addresses in Europe, the Middle East, Africa, and beyond.
Tell us about Komos’s unique production process and how this reflects in the amazing taste of your different expressions?
The unique production process at Komos involves slow-cooking the agave in traditional brick ovens, which helps to bring out the natural sweetness and complexity of the agave. The agave is then fermented using indigenous yeasts which enhance the flavor of the tequila. This process results in a tequila that is smooth, rich, and full of flavor. After double distillation, the tequilas are rested for various periods of time in various French oak barrels that previously held various wines. Each is carefully considered for what it imparts and, just as importantly, for what it doesn’t impart. We want the tequilas to be individual and each represent a symphony of flavours and not just a single note. We find this beautiful and compelling.
What was the best “accident” you discovered during the production process, or what is a key thing you have learned?
When creating our Reposado Rosa expression, we wanted to express the influence of barrels that previously held red wine. The result was beautiful to smell and to taste but the red wine that was in the barrels also gave the tequila a beautiful hue. The result is a beautiful pink color just like Provencal rosé wine.
Those kinds of learnings help inspire what we do at Komos: respecting tradition by utilizing the best-of-the-best tequila making methods, while also applying some innovative winemaking techniques to make something truly unique.
What is the best way to taste great tequila and what do you do at home to train your nose, palate and senses to be the best they can be?
Being curious is a good start here and, really, anywhere in life. I love tasting a wide variety of foods and drinks and learning constantly. It’s also important to take the time to enjoy and not rush it. The good news is this also is a really nice “down time” moment in an otherwise very busy life.
The best way to taste great tequila is to drink it however it makes you most happy! Truly. Over here we think it’ss great neat, with a large rock, or even in a special cocktail. It’s also important to use a glass where you can appreciate the aroma.
What food do you think matches with Komos?
Komos pairs well with a wide variety of foods, including grilled meats, seafood, and spicy dishes. The tequila’s complex flavor profile makes it a versatile pairing partner.
What do you do to support the community when producing your tequila?
Producing a spirit with the greater good in mind is at the heart of what we strive to do at Tequila Komos. Ever since I made Sombra Mezcal in Oaxaca, I have been interested in how we as an industry can make agave spirit production more sustainable.
That’s why I created my adobe brick project there, whereby we take the waste products and turn them into adobe bricks which are donated for community projects. We carry on that ethos in an even bigger way today with Tequila Komos. We also work with local producers to source our agave, and we are committed to sustainable and responsible production practices.
Tell us about your gorgeous bottles and the love that goes into making them?
We believe that the beauty of the bottle should reflect the beauty of the tequila inside, and we put a lot of love and care into the design and production of each bottle. These beautiful bottles are handmade porcelain.
Also, we don’t throw our bottles away, and hopefully you don’t either! They are meant to be repurposed, to be used for florals, candles, water service, whatever you can dream up for them. In fact, the labels are made with a special adhesive that comes off the bottle easily with a little running water to make it easier for anyone to reuse them.
What is next for Komos?
Of course we want to introduce more people around the world to the beauty and complexity of Komos tequila. Most importantly to me however, is working to expand our sustainability initiative in Tequila, Mexico, with an aim to get more distillers on board. It could be very big and truly affect change.
If you weren’t involved in Komos, what would you be doing?
If I weren’t involved in Tequila Komos, I would likely still be working to help the region of Tequila. If I could spend all my time on our sustainability mission – turning agave waste into adobe bricks to build local infrastructure – I would. I’m really proud of the work we’re doing there and excited to see what happens next, as our goal is to spearhead the largest sustainability initiative in the region. If not that, I might be a geologist or a short order cook, two things I enjoyed before I got into the spirits industry.
Finally, do have advice for others who wish to pursue a career in drinks production, particularly with tequila?
My advice for those who want to get into the industry, and maybe my advice for everyone in general, is to eat, drink, explore the world, and be open to learning constantly. Having a better understanding of flavour profiles and what you like and how it fits into the world is key to creating something special.
Also, for tequila in particular, respect the environment and the communities involved in the tequila production process. Embrace sustainable practices and support ethical sourcing of agave.
Read the article at Luxury Lifestyle Magazine HERE.