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Jose Cuervo Tradicional Silver

Review: Jose Cuervo Tradicional Silver 82.5/100
a review by Chip Dykstra (Aka Arctic Wolf)
June 18, 2018

According to the Jose Cuervo website, it all began in 1795 when Jose María Guadalupe de Cuervo began to commercially produce his Mexcal wine spirit based upon an official permit from the King of Spain. By 1812, he had established La Rojena, the distillery which to this day still produces Jose Cuervo Tequila. By 1844, Jose Cuervo Tequila was being distributed within Mexico, and in 1873 the earliest known documented export of the Tequila outside of Mexico occurred when 3 bottles of Jose Cuervo were transported across the United States border by donkey. Those exports have continued (although no longer by donkey), and now the Jose Cuervo brand is the best-selling tequila brand in the entire world.

Jose Cuervo Tradicional Silver was released in 2011. It is a true 100% blue agave tequila. It is produced at the Casa Cuervo, S.A. de C.V. which is located in the central lowland tequila region of Jalisco Mexico. (the same distillery which produces all of the Jose Cuervo brands as well as the 1800 Tequila Brand).   According to the Jose Cuervo website:

When bottled, a special process is used to conserve its flavor and finish at freezing temperatures. This means that it can, and should, be kept chilled in the freezer and served as a crisp, smooth, frozen shot.

I should note that I do not recommend keeping the bottle in your freezer for an extended time period. After I finished my review, I threw mine in my deep freeze and when I pulled it out a week later some of the contents had frozen. I checked into this and learned that contrary to my expectation, a spirit which is bottled at 40 % alcohol by volume can have indeed have ice form within the bottle if subjected to the very cold temperature of a deep freeze. Fortunately, no permanent harm comes to the spirit. It just needs to thaw, and then it needs to rest for a few weeks for the contents to return to normal.

In the Bottle 4/5

The spirit arrives in a tall slender bottle which has a nice visual appeal. However, it is rather difficult to place this bottle on my tequila shelf which is constructed for the more typically short and squat tequila bottle. The ‘slender tallness’ of the bottle has the additional drawback of being a bit unstable requiring only a small jostle to knock it over. Having said that, I have been encountering more and more of these tall tequila bottles lately, so perhaps it is time for me to adjust my shelves to accommodate them better.

The bottle is corked with a nice synthetic cork and the labeling is quite satisfactory. Overall the good outweighs the bad, although a shorter squat bottle would have garnered a slightly higher score.

In the Glass 8/10

Jose Cuervo Tradicional Silver is a clear spirit consistent with the information presented to me that this spirit is unaged.  When I gave my glass a bit of a tilt and twirl, I saw the tequila imparted a light glossy sheen on the inside of the glass the crest of which formed tiny legs that trickled down the inside of the glass.

When I nose the glass the scents and smells in the breezes seem somewhat muted consistent with lowland agave which tends to be more earthy and vegetal than Highland tequila. I note soft punky aroma of baked squash and grilled pineapple. There are also light indications of a vague cane-like sweetness, hints of vanilla, and wisps of lemon zest. Based upon the breezes the spirit seems quite approachable.

In the Mouth 50/60

The impressions in the breezes translates very well from the glass to the mouth. The delivery is soft as the spirit has a light buttery texture. The spirit is also very mild with the herbaceous agave muted. I taste hints of vanilla, and a light citrus zest accompanying the mild earthy agave. The fruity agave is perhaps too soft, and although there is a light swat of pepper, I find myself withing the spirit would have more kick. I can sip the spirit easily, but it does not have enough character to engage me.

I mixed a few cocktails, beginning with a Picador (a margarita with lemon instead of lime), and followed up with a Toreador. While both cocktails were good, I felt the same way about the cocktails as I had regarding the spirit when sipped neat. This is not all bad though, I strongly suspect that the spirit will appeal to a wider variety of palates than would a more herbaceous blanco. Not everyone wants a mouth full of fruity agave and hot pepper.

In the Throat 12.5/15

The spirit is smooth but not engaging. A light sweetness which reminds me of sugar cane is evident as is a touch of vanilla. As one sips we do have a light build-up of white pepper.

The Afterburn 8/10

Jose Cuervo Tradicional Silver doesn’t really burst with complexity (or with herbaceous agave). In fact it bears more than a light resemblance to the Jose Cuervo Especial (blanco) which is a mixto rather than a 100 % agave spirit. Having said that, it is also true that the Tradicional is inexpensive when compared to other 100% agave spirits. It mixes easily into cocktails and ts muted flavour will appeal to a wide range of palates. The spirit is a good choice for large gatherings or for casual cocktails on the back deck.

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


Suggested Recipe:

The Green Ripper

Here is a fun recipe of mine called The Green Ripper. This cocktail is part of my series of Tequila cocktails named after the Travis McGee novels of American author John D. MacDonald. I have always liked the Travis McGee novels, and the titles of these books seem to me to be particularly well suited to be also the names of great tequila cocktails.

The Green Ripper

1 1/2 oz Blanco Tequila
3/4 oz Bols Blue Curacao
1/2 oz Fresh Lemon Juice
Orange and Mango Soda (Koala Brand)

Place the tequila, the Blue Curacao, and the fresh juice into a metal shaker
Shake until the outside of the shaker frosts
Strain into the chilled wine glass
Add Orange and Mango Soda slowly stirring until the desired shade of green is achieved
Garnish with Lime if desired

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)

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