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Cabo Wabo Reposado

Review: Cabo Wabo Reposado Tequila   86.5/100
Review by Chip Dykstra (Aka Arctic Wolf)
Posted on March 12, 2018

Caba Wabo Reposado was the very first tequila brand I reviewed on this website. At the time of that original review, I was told that it was 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 spicier pepper and citrus flavours through the distillation. This year when I researched Cabo Wabo, I could no longer verify any information regarding the growing region of the agave used to produce the spirit.

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.

As my original review for the spirit may no longer reflect the current contents, I thought it would be fun to revisit the Cabo Wabo Reposado 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 144o. 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 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 has 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 agave tequila.

In the Glass  8.5/10

Cabo Wabo Reposado is a pale yellow spirit indicating a short time in oak.  Reposado (which means “rested”) tequila spends less than one year in Oak. This means I am happy with the colour as if it was any darker, it might indicate the addition of caramel. When I tilt and twirl my glass, I see only very slender legs forming which disappear before they reach the bottom of the glass.

The breezes above the glass bring hot spices and citrus zest forward with the typical punky agave aroma (this aroma always reminds me of baked squash) peculiar to Tequila is muted somewhat. This seems to indicate the spirit has much more highland character than lowland although drawing firm conclusions from nosing is perhaps perilous. There are some fine spices in the breezes which remind me of ginger and sandalwood as well as a very light butterscotch and vanilla presence. My feeling at this point is that the ‘highland spice’ which seems to be the dominant characteristic will make this a great spirit for classic tequila cocktails.

In the Mouth  52.5/60

The entry into the mouth is spicy with both white pepper and citrus zest prominent. The citrus zest brings to mind fresh squeezed lime. There is an ever so light buttery texture, and as I sip I notice the spice seems to be heating up. I also notice light flavours of vanilla and butterscotch and ever so light baking spices and almond. The fruity agave brings to mind grilled pineapple and baked squash.

If I was tasting blind, my guess would be that this is a highland tequila as spice and citrus seem to dominate the earthy agave. It could be that the distillery uses both styles of agave, or that they select for these flavours in the distillation over the more earthy style. I mixed a Margarita (see recipe below) and found myself very content. Cabo Wabo is a good tequila, especially if you favour those citrus notes and a light squeal of hot pepper.

In the Throat  13/15

This is spicy and fresh in the throat and on the back of the palate . The agave note ends quickly but the citrus/pepper stays. I taste no irregular bitterness or any off notes in either the straight spirit or the Margarita that I mixed.

Afterburn   8.5/10

Everything is in balance, and neither the fruity agave nor the hot pepper become overwhelming. When I compare my tasting notes now with my review of eight years ago I do not find any obvious differences. I liked Cabo Wabo Reposado then, and I like it now.

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


Recipe Suggestion

You will notice that this recipe includes two optional elements, a teaspoon of simple syrup, and a splash of soda. I often add both elements especially if I have friends over who do not consume tequila regularly. The touch of sweetness and the splash of soda often makes the taste of the Margarita cocktail more suitable to a larger variety of palates.

The Margarita Cocktail (A Traditional Recipe)

1 1/2 oz Cabo Wabo Tequila (Blanco or Reposado)
3/4 oz Triple Sec
3/4 oz Fresh Lime Juice
1 tsp Sugar Syrup (optional)
Splash of Soda (optional)
Lime Slice for garnish

Chill a cocktail glass and rim the outside with coarse salt
Place the tequila, lime, Triple Sec, and sugar syrup into a metal shaker
Shake until the outside of the shaker frosts
Strain into the chilled cocktail glass
Add a splash of soda if desired
Garnish with Lime

Note: If  you are interested in more of my 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)


2 Responses to “Cabo Wabo Reposado”

  1. Hi Powderhound,

    I am currently working on a review of Herr-a Dur-a Reposado, a heavier tequila with more agave flavour and less citrus. Hopefully it will be done soon.


  2. powderhound said

    Cabo wabo is one of my favorites. Two, actually, as I love the Blanco Tequila they put out as well – try that one over ice, it’s a unique, easy drinking, refreshing tequila. Very light and citrusy – not a full bodied tequila, but very good.

    Another I’d recommend if I may is Gran Centranario, which is absolutely amazing!

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