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Cabo Wabo Anejo

Review: Cabo Wabo Anejo Tequila   84.5/100
Review by Chip Dykstra (Aka Arctic Wolf)
Published on June 13, 2022

Cabo Wabo Tequila was created in 1996 by Rock & Roll legend, Sammy Hagar and named after the nightclub he owned in Cabo San Lucas. In 2007, Gruppo Campari purchased 80 % of the brand from the musician, and then purchased the remaining 20 % in 2011. Campari has also purchased the distilly, Destiladora San Nicolas S.A DE C.V.  which now produces both Caba Wabo and the Espolon Tequila brand for Gruppa Campari as well. This can be verified by examining the four digit NOM on each bottle of Caba Wabo (NOM 1440). This identifier is required by the Mexican Government to be placed on the label of each bottle of tequila produced to verify that it is produced legally from agave sourced in the Tequila region of Mexico. Each distillery has its own NOM, and thus we can trace the distillery of origin.

While researching the distillery I learned that it is located in San Ignacio Cerro Gordo which is in Jalisco (Los Altos Southern). While this area is typically associated with agave grown and harvested in the Highlands of Mexico’s Tequila growing region (Highland grown agave typically brings firm spicy pepper and citrus flavours through the distillation), it certainly could be the case that some lowland agave (which typically brings punky fruit flavours through the distillation) is used in the production of Cabo Wabo as well.

Cabo Wabo Anejo is produced from agave harvested at at least 8 years old. This agave is cooked in brick ovens, the juice extracted via metal shredder and roller mill, then fermented and finally double distilled. The tequila distillate is then aged for at least 12 months in what appears to be a combination of different aging barrels (based on my reading of the website).

The Anejo Tequila is sold in North America bottled at 40 % alcohol by volume.

Cabo Wabo Anejo (My Review Bottle)

In The Bottle 4/5

Cabo Wabo has recently received a bit of a make-over and the bottle you find on your shelf make feature new labeling. The bottle I reviewed however, still had the labeling as shown to the left. (The new style is shown below and to the right.). The Anejo spirit arrives in a stubby long necked bottle with a wooden topped synthetic cork closure.

Broken topper

I have had problems with the corkage of both the Cabo Wabo and the Espolon branded tequilas. The dry climate here in Alberta tends to dry out the glue which attaches the wooden top to the cork causing the cork to break apart. This appears to be part of a bottling problem at the facility which produces the tequila for Gruppo Campari. I noted in my recent review for the Espolon Anjeo that the problem may have been solved; however it reappeared with this particular bottle of Cabo Wabo Anejo. Perhaps the issue has been resolved with the newly labeled bottles. Lets hope so.

To be honest I find the label on both the older bottling and the newer bottling uninspiring. The new label in particular makes the spirit look more like an economy branded spirit than a premium agave tequila.

In the Glass  8.5/10

Colour:  Gold/amber

Nose:  Initial notes of soft agave fruit, butterscotch and spicy pepper. Vanilla and fine oak spice follow with hints of both almond and nutmeg. Some bright citrus burst through followed by more peppery spice. Light notes of chocolate and scattered tea leaves round out the nose. Hints grilled plantain and pineapple appear as does a sort of soft swell of punky agave fruit.

I enjoy the nose is pleasantly complex without being overbearing.

Cabo Wabo (New Label)

In The Mouth  51/60

Spicy oak, citrus peel and peppery agave spice push are followed by punky agave fruit which becomes more dominant as I sip. There is also a light sweetness of butterscotch and vanilla and a kind of an herbal grassy menthol coolness that helps with the initially aggressive spice.  By the time my palate has adjusted fully, I find I am enjoying the tequila. It is a little aggressive to be called a sipper, however the punky agave combined with the hotter spices bodes well for cocktails (see below).

I would also suggest that there is more complexity than my descriptors suggest. Hints of chocolate and black tea leaves come forward when ice is added as does an impression of toasted walnut.

In The Throat 12.5/15

The finish is crisp and spicy. Trailing flavours of butterscotch and vanilla combined with impressions of chocolate and black tea. A touch of menthol coolness helps with the peppery spices.

The Afterburn 8.5/10

I have reviewed the entire Cabo Wabo line-up (the Blanco, the Reposado, and the Anejo). The line-up is consistent with the scores of all three expressions being with a couple points of each other. My preference was for the Reposado, which I felt achieved a better balance between the oak and the agave than I found with this Anejo, but I would not quibble with onyone who would choose either the blanco or the anejo instead.

You may read some of my other Tequila Reviews (click the link) if you wish to have some comparative reviews.

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Suggested Recipe

As my suggested cocktail, I am going to suggest using both Cabo Wabo Anejo and Cabo Wabo Blanco to bring the best of both styles to this heretical offering. Some say it is heresy to mix two styles of tequila in one cocktail. I dare you to try this recipe just to see how delicious the results can be.

El Hereje
(the Mexican Heretic)

1 oz  Cabo Wabo Blanco Tequila
1 oz Cabo Wabo Anejo Tequila
1 oz fresh Orange Juice
1/2 oz fresh Lemon Juice
1/4 oz Sugar Syrup (1:1 ratio)
2 dashes Orange Bitters
Ice
Lemon Slice

Add the first six ingredients into a cocktail shaker with ice
Shake until the outside of the shaker begins to frost
Strain into a chilled cocktail glass
Garnish with lemon peel

Please Enjoy Responsibly!

If  you are interested in more of my original cocktail recipes, please click this link (Cocktails and Recipes) for more of my mixed drink recipes!

 

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You may (loosely) interpret the scores as follows.

0-25     A spirit with a rating this low would actually kill you.
26-49   Depending upon your fortitude you might actually survive this.
50 -59  You are safe to drink this…but you shouldn’t.
60-69   Substandard swill which you may offer to people you do not want to see again.
70-74    Now we have a fair mixing Tequila.  Accept this but make sure it is mixed into a cocktail.
75-79    You may begin to serve this to friends, (we are probably still cocktail in territory).
80-84    We begin to enjoy this spirit neat or on the rocks. (I will still primarily mix cocktails)
85-89    Excellent for sipping or for mixing delicious cocktails!
90-94    Definitely a primary sipping spirit, in fact you may want to hoard this for yourself.
95-97.5 The Cream of the Crop
98+       I haven’t met this bottle yet…but I want to.

Very loosely we may put my scores into terms that you may be familiar with on a Gold, Silver, and  Bronze medal  scale as follows:

70 – 79.5    Bronze Medal (Recommended only as a mixer)
80 – 89.5     Silver Medal (Recommended for sipping and or a high quality mixer)
90 – 95         Gold Medal (Highly recommended for sipping and for sublime cocktails.)
95.5+            Platinum Award (Highest Recommendation)

 
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