Tori Spelling once wanted to know: Mother, may I sleep with danger? Yes, Tori. Yes, you may. It’s just that instead of crawling into bed with a serial killer, you’ll be taking a bottle of tequila. Trading up, really.
Peligroso (Spanish for “dangerous”; PeligrosoTequila.com) is the latest brand trying to muscle its way into the Patrón-dominated premium tequila sector. Peligroso, though, may have a leg up on other hopefuls looking for a spot on the Empire State Building while King Kong is clinging to the spire.
For starters, the year-old Peligroso is already in Light Group’s 16 clubs and restaurants, including top-end nightlife venues like Haze and the Bank where it’s on bottle service menus, plus Blue Martini, Border Grill and the Hard Rock Hotel. For another, the company lured Christy Farias as its vice president of marketing, who headed Patrón’s sales and marketing in the Northeast before leaving to found p.i.n.k. Vodka. She was the No. 6 person at Patrón, which routinely outspends all other liquor brands in marketing nationwide.
Plus, Peligroso’s investors—one a sunglasses magnate, another a renown designer—have close ties to the action sports world and are looking to capitalize on that association. Already, pro surfers Greg and Rusty Long are brand ambassadors—and really, anyone whose job includes the possibility of shark attack does have a certain claim to danger.
The whole enterprise started when president and CEO Keith Ross was asked to invest in someone else’s product before breaking off and going his own way.
“My partner and I were invited to go down to Guadalajara with the opportunity to invest in some agave fields and make a tequila,” Ross says. “We moved away from the initial guy who wanted us to invest. … We became engrossed in it and really went to master school down there.”
That schooling included talking with, among others, the family of Don Julio González (yes, that Don Julio), the Herredura family and the Cuervo family. They settled on the El Viejito distillery in Atotonilco, Jalisco, in the highlands outside Guadalajara. The powerful 84-proof tequila fits into the tequila-meets-Red Bull brand imagery and the live-fast crowd it courts, though Farias contends it makes for a smoother drink than its lower-proof compatriots.
When Nitro Circus Live comes to MGM Grand on June 4 Peligroso will be doing parties with Andy Bell, plus they’re looking to break into the motorcycle and tattoo worlds. Backstage at Coachella, Peligroso handed out free margaritas to the likes of Arcade Fire, and backstage at the Chelsea Ballroom, they did the same for the Strokes.
Indie rock, action sports and tattoos: What could be more dangerous?
Vegas Seven sat down with Cosmopolitan property mixologist, Chandelier bar general manager and overall tequila maven Mariena Mercer to sample Peligroso’s silver, reposado and añejo. (Peligroso plans to offer an extra añejo, but it isn’t yet available.) Here’s the consensus:
The silver doesn’t have the harsh edges typical to blancos. It has a surprisingly sweet, feminine character with strong notes of vanilla. It is the least peppery of the three types, which is atypical. The tequila has a clean finish and an oily mouth feel.
Mercer: “If you can sip a blanco, you know the añejo and reposado will be good.”
The repo has a very pale, straw color to it. There’s a little bit of oak on the nose and a hint of caramel in the taste, with more pronounced pepper. That pepper, though, is really the only drastic distinction from the blanco.
Mercer: “I like my repos a little more aged.”
It’s maybe only a shade darker than the reposado instead of [an añejo’s typical] deep, rich brown. Oak, vanilla and honey were all more pronounced. This añejo is vaguely reminiscent of Irish whiskey.
Mercer: “I would buy the añejo, and I would drink the blanco. It’s great for non-tequila drinkers especially.”