By Christina Fuoco-Karasinski
When Roger and Alisa Clyne dubbed their tequila Mexican Moonshine, they thought it was a fun moniker that played nicely off one of his Peacemakers’ songs.
When corn whiskey moonshine emerged in the United States, it negatively affected Mexican Moonshine.
“It was very confusing for our brand,” says Alisa, an ASU graduate. “Before, when it was tongue in cheek, it was OK. Corn whiskey moonshines have a lower-quality connotation. It was a challenge for restaurants to put us on the menu with the word ‘moonshine’ in the name.”
The couple has since rebranded their products Canción, an ultra-premium tequila line.
Canción was a logical choice for the name, as it’s the Spanish word for “song.” Staying with the musical theme, the unoaked Blanco offering has music notes below the trademark. They are the first few bars of the mariachis in the song “Mexican Moonshine.”
“We really wanted to honor our roots and stay true to what our foundation was,” Alisa says. “It turned out really well. The fans seem to love it.”
Canción is still the same small-batch craft tequila inside the bottles. It is made in a centuries-old distillation process at a modern facility called La Fabrica de Tequilas Finos (NOM 1472).
“We didn’t change anything about the process,” Roger says. “We changed the label so it would stop being confused by people who would like to try it. It’s disappointed a few of our hardcore fans. We totally appreciate that. But now that rock ’n’ roll is free now, we’re looking to have a 401(k).”
Prior to the rebrand, Canción won gold medals from the San Francisco World Spirits. The Canción family portfolio offers four award-winning tequila expressions with SRP per 750 ml bottle starting at $38 for Blanco, $48 for Reposado (rested nine months), $58 Añejo (aged 18 months) and $120 for Extra Añejo (aged over three years).
Canción is made with 100% blue agave from private farms in the valleys of Jalisco, Mexico. It is distilled twice and then filtered three times to clean out the fusil oils, aldehydes and ketones natural in the distillation process but guilty of contributing to that nasty headache procured the next day from cheap, less-filtered tequilas. The filtration is just enough to keep the American white oak-charred bourbon barrel aging notes in the personality of their Reposado, Añejo and Extra Añejo.
The launch of the rebrand brings a bartender-friendly Blanco bottle.
“If you take a look at a large tequila section of a liquor store, the bartender is challenged by almost every brand with great looking bottles that are difficult to handle in a busy cocktail-making shift,” Alisa says.
“So, I chose to take this opportunity in our rebranding to bring in a great Blanco bottle that is much easier for bartenders to create their cocktails with ease and fit the bottle into the speed rail for easier access.”
The crystal-clear Blanco conspires with melon and citrus to subtly harmonize and create an alluring nose — floral agave with hints of quince and white pepper blend for a balanced encounter. The finish is smooth and enduring, leaving the palate with a warm and lustrous invitation to return.
Reposado “rests” for nine months in bourbon barrels. It imparts a golden radiance with a viscous, buttery entry to the palate; a rhythmic balance of agave; and hints of honey and oak accents. It finishes with a smooth and smoldering crescendo.
Añejo is simply elegant. It begins with aging for 18 months in bourbon barrels, heralding a full nose of smoky, woody notes. A silky entry to the palate finishes with a harmonious blend of sweet and dry tastes of agave, tobacco and hints of vanilla. Perfect for sipping, it lingers with a long, silky glow.
And then there’s the recently debuted Extra Añejo, once reserved only for a commemorative ceramic bottle that celebrated the 20th anniversary of Roger’s first major-label album as the Refreshments, “Fizzy Fuzzy, Big & Buzzy.” It is now available at retail.
“It’s wonderful,” Alisa says.
Extra Añejo is a celestial union of a premium bourbon barrel and agave spirit allowed to rest and coalesce for over three years. Tequila’s legendary obsidian terroir meets American White Oak bourbon barrels’ heritage to conjure seamless notes of dry fruit, woody smoke and hints of caramel butterscotch. The finish is a refined experience of balance between sweet and dry in an alluring palate of agave at its best.
The tequila partners have all three major Arizona campuses covered. Three Peacemakers attended ASU, while two graduated. Investors and founders also studied at UA and NAU. One of the Clynes’ children is a new Sun Devil.
The Clynes are proud of the business they’ve built, whether it’s music or their tequila “songs.” CT