1. There's a lot of fun aspects of writing about tequila.  The most obvious being that drinking is most often fun and delicious.  Getting beyond that, so much of it becomes an opportunity with which you can share tastings and opinions with friends...locally or around the world.  I've gotten to know, met and have enjoyed having conversations with many people around the globe about tequila, which makes me feel very blessed since this blog started out as just me hacking away in the basement sipping on something and writing notes on a blog that I never expected anyone to read and mostly for my own personal reference of my likes and dislikes.

    For Casazul (NOM 1489) and most of my recent reviews, the tastings have been done as blind samples shared by friends, enthusiasts and in this case, a sample for the Monterey Tequila Festival.  All comments and scores are submitted without any knowledge of the product and the price is only given at the end to be able to judge on value.  I rarely give out point totals just because it's easy to score expensive bottles high.  If you're a familiar reader of this blog, you know that my goal has always been to find and recommend value priced gems.  Casazul is a reasonably priced reposado in a fairly basic looking bottle.  All of the other brand info can be found by visiting Tequila Matchmaker's page on the product as well.

    Price: $35-40/bottle
    Aroma: Citrus, buttery agave and pine notes on the nose.  Pretty good intro.
    Initial Taste: A touch of sweetness and earth.  The buttery agave is present as well.
    Body: The body is thin and a touch watery.  Medicinal notes are present as well and overshadow the agave and barrel notes.
    Finish: The finish is a combo of smoky and spicy elements and the medicinal harshness that ruins the pleasant flavors that were initially present.

    This bottle started on a promising note, but it all fell apart as the sips continued.  Not the worst diffiuser product that I've tasted, but for the price range, there's just better products out there to be sure.  The search continues for more...








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  2. The final review of the El Rey line of tequilas that I had rated blind and was a very pleasant surprise.  A smaller brand from NOM 1123 at a good price of $35 a bottle.  With most everything else covered in the reviews of the aged expressions (and that can be found in the links above), I'll jump right in.

    Price: $35/bottle
    Aroma: A fairly standard aroma of clean cooked agave with light pine and vegetal hints.
    Initial Taste: Crisp and green.  Nicely sweet without being overly so.
    Body: Medium to think body.  Nice oils and coating of the glass.  Peppery notes and more vegetal notes are present as well.
    Finish: A medium length peppery and sweet cooked agave finish.  Very solid

    Hopefully this brand will get some more distribution as it gathers awards.  It's a very nice product at a very nice price.  I will definitely be picking up a bottle.



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  3. Casazul is a new brand for me from NOM 1489, which houses other brands that might be recognizable like Casa Dragones and Hussong's.  It's double distilled and diffuser extracted and made in the Los Valles region of Jalisco.  The bottle is clean looking and sleek, the price is in line with many in the marketplce.  Let's see how it tastes.

    Price: $40/bottle
    Aroma: Some green agave, spicy notes and a distinct element of alcohol and medicinal notes.
    Initial Taste: Medicinal, not much agave flavor present
    Body: Medium bodied, somewhat oily.  The flavors are harsh and medicinal.  Some vegetal notes, but way out of whack.
    Finish: Similar to the rest of the bottle.  Not something that I hoped would linger very long.

    This didn't go well.  The appearance looks OK and the price is OK, but the contents held all of the bad elements of diffuser produced tequila.  It's harsh and medicinal...and you should move along to something else if you are shopping for a New Year's gathering.







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  4. Revel Avila is a new agave distillate with no NOM that I can find.  It's distributed by Old Town Tequila, who you know I love and buy from and is a great source for lesser known agave brands.  This one has a nice presentation and a dark color for a repo and a premium price.  I wish that I could provide more background info, but all I have right now is the tequila and the bottle photo.  So here goes...

    Price: $70/bottle
    Nose: The nose is smoky, but not overpowering like the more pungent mezcales.
    Initial Taste: Buttery, sweet and smoky.  A nice blend of all of them.
    Body: The mouthfeel is thick and oily.  The sweetness is kind of like candy corn and mixes with the smoky notes.
    Finish: The linger is the smoke.  It's a nice finish.  No real burn to speak of.  Very pleasant.

    This is a nice change of pace.  It's smoky, but not overpowering.  The sweetness is there, but it doesn't seem manipulated.  If you're looking for a mezcal/tequila blend in a flavor with some barrel sweetness, this is a bottle to check out.









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  5. It's been a while since I've been able to taste anything from Alderete.  5 years ago, I drank and fell in love with the Anejo and with lack of any distribution in the Midwest, it was virtually impossible for me to get my hands on it.  Any loyal readers of the blog know that I have long been a fan of just ionabout anything coming out of NOM 1414, so this in theory should be a real treat.  The rub, much like most of my later reviews, they were rated and written blind to provide no brand bias.  Here are the results.

    Price: $45-50/bottle
    Nose: Great agave forward nose.  Some citrus and pine notes as well.
    Initial Taste:  Fruity agave.  Sweet and clean tasting.
    Body: Medium bodied.  Some oak notes and cinnamon join up with the fruity notes (both citrus and melon)
    Finish:  The oak creates a hint of bitterness in the end and a nice peppery kick.  Really well rounded from start to finish.

    NOM 1414 does it again.  This is a classic reposado profile.  Agave forward, but with enough barrel influence to keep it interesting.  I feel like I would find some different flavors if I tried a sample on a different day.  Really tasty, really complex and a good value.  Buy.









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  6. El Jefe tequila is a new brand for me from a distillery (NOM 1548) with which I'm also not overly familiar.  It actually shows that it's no longer in production, but I see it sold in a few places online.  You can see all of the details in the links above about production, so let's get right to business.

    Price: $40-50/bottle
    Aroma: Smoky and vegetal agave nose.
    Initial Taste: Vegetal and peppery with a touch of sweetness.  Nice.
    Body: A tad thin, but the peppery notes are still there with hints of smoke. 
    Finish: Long and lingering finish.  The smoky and earthy notes are there mostly.  There's also a hint of bitterness and alcohol on the linger.

    This is a blanco that started out very promising, but fell off a bit as it advanced.  It's still a nice blanco, but for a higher end price, I'd probably recommend others over this one from a value perspective.  The presentation is nice and if you like a natural and smoky flavor, this one may be right up your alley.  Salud!







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  7. Another tequila from the El Rey line and recent winner of the Gold Medal at the Monterey Tequila Festival.  It hails from NOM 1123, which has housed a number of other tequilas that I have enjoyed over the years.  The bottle looks classy and it's well priced.

    I should take some time to note that Tequila Matchmaker has given me permission to use their photography and I have linked their page below each photo where you can view information on region and production method.  That site is a treasure trove of tequila knowledge and I couldn't recommend it highly enough.  Thanks for them for their help and knowledge.

    Now for the tequila...

    Price: $40-45/bottle
    Aroma: Lightly vegetal agave nose with hints of vanilla.
    Initial Taste: A pleasant balance of green pepper and grassy notes with light sweetness.  Tastes natural, not manipulated.
    Body: A nice, oily body.  Flavors continue to be consistent with some fruit/melon notes to add some complexity.
    Finish: Long finish with some strong agave peppery notes to mingle with the fruit and vanilla.  Nicely balanced.

    For the price, this is a really nice reposado.  I don't know how to summarize it more than that.  It's at Old Town Tequila for under $40 right now.  A definite buy.







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  8. Generally speaking, anything coming out of NOM 1146 is something that I am looking out for.  Based on how much I enjoyed the anejo, I was really looking forward to trying the T1 Sensacional Extra Añejo.  At a shade over $100, the price is in line with other XAs and the presentation is excellent as it is with the entire line...and that color...let's jump in.

    Price: $100-120/bottle
    Aroma: Cooked agave, brown sugar and berries.
    Initial Taste: A bit more savory than sweet.  Oak forward with nice spice balance with a still present agave flavor.
    Body: Nice oily body.  Good balance of agave, spice and berries.
    Finish: Medium length finish that is a bit more oak forward.  Dark chocolate and mocha notes mix well with the agave kick and berries.

    This is a top notch tequila overall.  Well priced, well package and great tasting.  Another winner out of NOM 1146.


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  9. I've heard a lot of buzz about Codigo 1530 since it was released.  This is my first taste of anything from the line, but I have enjoyed bottles that had been previously made at NOM 1500.  The bottle has a unique presentation and unique barrels as it is aged in French oak and wine barrels.  It a tad expensive for a reposado, but sometimes a unique process makes it worth it.  Let's find out.

    Price: $60-70/bottle
    Aroma: Smoky, earthy and vanilla.  An interesting mix.
    Initial Taste: Buttery agave and vanilla.  Creme brulee type entry.
    Body: Nice and oily body.  Sweet and smoky and peppery.
    Finish: Some vegetal green pepper notes along with some oak forward notes of coffee and dark chocolate.  A bit more savory than most.

    This is an interesting repo.  The more I drink it, the more I enjoy it.  I'm not sure that I'd want to pay $70 for it, but it's well balanced and unique.  If you like a thick mouth feel and some earthy smoky notes to go along with a lighter sweetness, this will be up your alley.  My biggest hangup is with the price.







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  10. Before getting this, I was not at all familiar with the Cazcanes brand or anything coming out of NOM 1599.  Cazcanes No 9 is a high ABV blanco at 100 proof, which is something that I've enjoyed in the past from other brands. The presentation is wonderful in this great looking traditional bottle and label.  Let's hope the tequila is just as good.

    Price: $50/bottle
    Aroma: Earthy and peppery nose.  Not overly sweet.
    Initial Taste: Cooked agave sweetness with some natural vegetal notes and spicy.  The high proof is very evident.
    Body: Nice oily body.  The heat comes forward a bit more and overwhelms the earthy notes that were present on the nose.
    Finish: The finish lingers for a while, but is also hot.  There's peppery and vegetal notes that give it a very natural flavor, but the astringency and heat doesn't really ever find balance.

    Cazcanes No. 9 has some really nice aspects going for it, but in the end didn't quite hit all of the right notes.  For those that enjoy overproofed tequilas, they might like it more than me.  I wouldn't recommend this for tequila novices.







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