Review: Casamigos Blanco Tequila 88.5/100
A review by Chip Dykstra (Aka Arctic Wolf)
Published May 14, 2015
Casamigos is a new tequila brand promoted by George Clooney, Rande Gerber and Mike Meldman. According to the website information this is an ultra premium tequila made in a small batch process from ‘hand-selected 100% Blue Weber agaves, grown in the rich red clay and cool climate of the Highlands of Jalisco, Mexico‘. As a Highland Tequila, we can expect Casamigos to exhibit strong fruity citrus notes and to have a little hot pepper in the delivery and in the finish. (This is as opposed to lowland tequila which has stronger earthier flavours of agave and less hot pepper.)
The website goes on to tell us that the piñas of the hand selected agave are roasted in traditional brick ovens for 72 hours prior to their fermentation. During a long 80 hour fermentation, these piñas are exposed a special blend of yeast said to maintain a ‘consistent, refined flavor’. The Casamigos Blanco tequila is then rested in American Oak for 2 months before being filtered and then bottled at 40 % alcohol by volume.
Although the Casamigos 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 1416. 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 Productos Finos de Agave who incidentally also produce Avion Tequila.
In the Bottle 4/5
Casamigos Blanco arrives in the clear medium tall bottle shown to the left. The simple beige label tells me the spirit is made from 100 % Agave Azul (Blue Weber Agave) from Jalisco, Mexico. Given that George Clooney, Rande Gerber and Mike Meldman are promoting the spirit as an Ultra Premium Tequila, I would have expected more style in the presentation. I understand that the producers are trying to imply hand-craftsmanship suggesting that what is inside the bottle is what is important, and that additional monies spent on a fancy label or fancier bottle will just drive up the cost. However given the celebrity push this product has received which I suspect was already expensive, I was expecting a presentation which exuded a touch of class.
In the Glass 9/10
I poured out a small sample of the Casamigos Blanco into my glencairn and began my review with a good look at the spirit before I began to nose it. The tequila is crystal clear making it apparent that whatever colour that might have been imparted by its two month stay in oak barrels has been filtered away prior to bottling. This filtration would also have impacted the flavour muting the highland agave to some degree. (This might be a good or a bad thing, we shall have to examine the spirit more thoroughly to find out.)
I gave my glass a light tilt and a slow swirl, and I discovered a light sheen was left on the inside of the glass, the crest of which gave up a small leggy droplets which ran back down into the spirit at a moderate pace. The legs seem slightly thicker, and slightly more oily in appearance than what I have seen in other blanco tequila suggesting that at least some of what the oak has imparted has survived the filtration process.
When I brought the glass to my nose, I noticed a light punky agave scent within the breezes with the sharp spicy/peppery note which is typical of highland tequila somewhat muted. I noticed both grapefruit and lime zest weaving in and out the air within the mild white pepper and highland spice, and I also noticed a subtle smokey tone wrapped up within the fruity agave aroma. The overall impression I am receiving from the scents above the glass is in fact very similar to the aroma of Avion Tequila which comes from the same distillery; however the Casamigos appears to be slightly more smokey. Perhaps this perception has its roots in the 2 month resting period the spirit underwent in oak barrels which is part of the tequila’s maturation.
In the Mouth 53/60
When I took my first sip of the blanco spirit, I was struck by a light mineral quality which seemed to be present. This quality gives the tequila a softened mouth feel which I found quite enjoyable. Although Casamigos is a highland tequila, I found its spiciness blunted (probably a result of the resting time in oak as well as its filtration prior to bottling), and the normally fruity/punky agave flavours softened and more approachable. A light earthy smokiness runs though the spirit and some very fine wood spices seem to have made it from the barrel into the final spirit. Sipping is very pleasant.
Fortunately, I had received my spirit sample in time for me to place it in my blind tastings for the 2015 Rum Howler Margarita Challenge. The Casamigos Blanco was very well received by all judges, and the consistent comment from each judge was that the Margarita constructed with this agave spirit was very relaxed and quite delicious. Based upon my examinations, I believe I can say quite confidently, that the Casamigos Blanco is a very good tequila for sipping and a great tequila for mixing cocktails.
In the Throat 13.5/15
The Casamigos Blanco has a lightly dry and lightly spicy finish which heats the palate and throat gently while leaving lingering impressions of grapefruit zest resting within a mildly spicy highland heat. When sipped a second time, ghostly flavours of mint and anise seem to unravel themselves from the highland heat with perhaps a touch of wood spice and mineral water lingering as well.
The Afterburn 9/10
I am, as you can tell from the review, quite smitten by the Casamigos Blanco tequila. The smooth mineral-like quality I discovered when I sipped on the spirit is very engaging, and I found the spirit quite tasty and approachable which is no mean feat for blanco Tequila. The spirit works very well as a sipping or shooting spirit, although I found I personally preferred mixing margarita style cocktails and enjoying them on my back deck (in the sunshine of course).
You may read some of my other Tequila Reviews (click the link) if you wish to have some comparative reviews.
Cara Cara oranges are a navel variety orange grown in California’s San Joaquin Valley. They have a bright orange peel with just a touch of a pinkish hue, and their interior flesh is distinctively pinkish similar to a pink grapefruit. The flavour of this orange is unique representing a sort of hybrid mixture of tangerine and traditional navel orange flavour with an unusual (but delightful) sweetness which is ideally suited for cocktails.
Cara Cara Margarita
2 oz Casamigos Blanco Tequila
1 1/2 oz Fresh Squeezed Cara Cara Orange Juice
3/4 oz Fresh Squeezed Lime Juice
1/2 oz Orange Curacao
1/4 oz Simple Syrup (1:1)
Cara Cara Orange Peel
Add the first five ingredients into a metal shaker with ice
Shake until the sides of the shaker frost
Strain into a chilled martini glass
Garnish with a small peel of Cara Cara Orange
Of Course the standard margarita cocktail is quite tasty as well. Here is the recipe I used for my 2015 Rum Howler Margarita Challenge!
Alfred Cointreau Margarita
4 oz Blanco Tequila
1 3/4 oz Cointreau
1/4 oz Simple Syrup (1:1)
2 oz Fresh Lime Juice
Combine all ingredients in a large metal shaker and add ice
Shake until the sides of the shaker frost
Shake and strain into a set of martini glasses
Garnish with salt and a lime wheel.
Please enjoy this indulgence responsibly!
Note: 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!
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)