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Cabo Wabo Blanco

Review: Cabo Wabo Blanco Tequila    (84.5/100)
Review by Chip Dykstra (Aka Arctic Wolf)
Posted on March 05,  2018

When I first reviewed Caba Blanco Tequila six years ago, it was described to me as a spirit produced from agave grown in the lowlands of Mexico’s Tequila producing region.This was important to know, because lowland agave will usually bring more earthy/punky flavours through the distillation than highland agave which tends to bring fruitier/spicier flavours through the distillation. This year when I researched the spirit, I could no longer verify any information regarding the terroir of the agave used to produce the brand. I am not sure whether anything has changed, and in fact my previous tasting notes  seemed to indicate a spirit which relied more upon highland grown agave  rather than lowland.

To be clear, I am not sure whether anything within the spirit changed, however it is true that the ownership of the brand has been evolving. 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. Thus the brand is no longer produced under the direction of Sammy Hagar.

As my original review for the spirit may no longer reflect the current contents, I thought it would be appropriate to revisit the Cabo Wabo Blanco Tequila with an updated review.

Although the Cabo Wabo Website does not specify the exact distillery which produces this agave spirit, I did notice that the identified NOM on the bottom of the label is Nom 1440. This NOM identifier is required by the Mexican Government to be placed on the label of each bottle of tequila 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. In this case it is Destiladora San Nicolas S.A DE C.V who incidentally produce the Espolon Tequila (click to read my review of the Espolon Blanco) brand for Gruppa Campari as well.

In the Bottle 4/5

Along with the ownership change, there has been a change in the bottle and label design as well. Cabo Wabo arrives in the stubby bottle shown with the slender long neck. The closure is a synthetic cork with a wooden top.

Broken topper

I had some problems with the corkage. 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 also happened with my recent Espolon samples as well, and appears to be part of a bottling problem at the facility which produces the tequila for Gruppo Campari.

In addition, I find the label rather uninspiring. The spirit looks more like a mid tier brand than a premium 100% agave tequila.

In the Glass 8.5/10

The Cabo Wabo Blanco is clear, and when I gave my glencairn a slow tilt and twirl, I saw a light oily sheen left on the inside of the glass. The crest of that sheen dropped small leglets and they lengthened into slender legs which ambled down the inside of the glass. The initial aroma was typical of highland rather than lowland tequila. The breezes brought a mild, but firm agave scent which gave me impressions of grilled zucchini. The fruity agave was joined by the spiciness of citrus zest and spicy white pepper. There also seemed to be light impressions of mint and green bell peppers. I like the overall aroma which although mild, is also inviting.

In the Mouth  51/60

I took a sip and let the spirit rest on my tongue before I swallowed it. I found the tequila quite soft in the mouth with a lightly oily texture. The spirit seemed somewhat subdued. In my tasting notes I wrote down words like ‘earthy garden squash’, ‘sweet bell peppers’, and ‘light peppery lime’.  As I sipped the citrus zest and the peppery lime increased in intensity. This heat was tempered by a light sensation of mint or menthol. Sipping is enjoyable; however, I have a stronger urge to mix cocktails than I do to sip neat or over ice.

I started with a  Royal Alexander Margarita, and the results were very good. The spicy character of the spirit mixes well with lime and orange liqueur. The spicy character of the tequila pushes nicely through the cocktail. I also mixed a Paloma which I enjoyed even more.

In the Throat  12.5/15

A nice peppery spice follows the tequila down the throat in an exit that while not harsh is not smooth either. It sits somewhere in between.

The Afterburn 8.5/10

Cabo Wabo Blanco is a nice approachable tequila, with a good balance between fruity citrus and spicy white pepper. Although the hot peppery spiciness seems to be the spirit’s dominant characteristic, it does seem to be toned down a notch making the spirit easy to sip. However, it is the strength of the Tequila in the cocktail format that has me excited the most. For Margaritas and Palomas on a warm Saturday afternoon, I heartily recommend Cabo Wabo Blanco.

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

Although I recommended Cabo Wabo Blanco Tequila for Margaritas and Palomas, I would like to share a cocktail I constructed when I ran out of Gin and Limes on a Saturday afternoon. I spied my bottle of Bols Blue and my Cabo Wabo. Instead of limes I used freshly squeezed lemon juice and the Deep Blue Good-bye was born.

Deep Blue Good-bye

1 1/2 oz Tequila Blanco
1/2 oz Bols Blue (Curacao)
Juice from 1/2 Lemon
1 tsp Simple Syrup
Ice (4-5 Large Ice-Cubes)

Soda (sub Sprite or 7-Up)

Fill a long Collins glass with ice
Add the Tequila, Bols Blue, and Lemon Juice
Stir and complete with lemon-lime soda

Please enjoy the spirits and cocktails I recommend responsibly, it is my intention to help you drink better spirits and cocktails, not to help you drink more spirits and cocktails!

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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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