Casamigos añejo tequila is a complex, flavorful entry in the world of aged tequilas. Although it errs on the sweeter side of things, herbaceous agave notes absolutely shine through, leading to a balanced and crowd-pleasing flavor profile.
Classification añejo tequila
Distillery Diageo Mexico Operaciones S.A. de C.V
Cask American oak (likely ex-bourbon, but undisclosed)
Still Type stainless steel pot still (copper coil)
Proof 80 (40% ABV)
Aged 14 months
Bright, clean agave and tropical fruit notes with a lingering fruit-and-spice finish
An excellent sipper, but approachable enough to be brought into cocktails
Probably the best of the three Casamigos tequila expressions
There is a strong caramel note which some blanco purists may find intrusive.
The alcohol/menthol note in the finish might be strong for some drinkers
Color: Pale gold
Nose: Agave on the initial approach, with hints of vanilla and caramel. On a second nose, tropical fruit notes of papaya and perhaps banana, and a bit of burnt orange are evident.
Palate: It enters the mouth with the spice and bite of oak tannins and alcohol competing with grassy agave. As it hits the mid-palate, the medium body spirit floats above the tongue and tropical fruit notes open up. Toward the back of the palate and into the finish, caramel and vanilla sweetness compete with oak and agave.
Finish: A medium to somewhat short finish of oak, caramel, a bit of green pepper, papaya, apricot and the menthol notes of alcohol.
These days, there are a lot of celebrity tequilas (of widely varying quality, acceptance and levels of celebrity involvement). But back in 2013, when actor George Clooney and hospitality maven Rande Gerber (aka Mr. Cindy Crawford) launched Casamigos, it was still a new concept. And it became very clear they were vested in the brand’s success; it was generally well received by the drinks industry. In June 2017, spirits giant Diageo announced it was taking over the brand for a LOT of money and moving production to its own distillery. The celebrity duo would stay on as the face of the brand.
Despite the changes, Diageo insists it is still focused on a quality brand. According to the company, highland-grown blue Weber agave from Jalisco, Mexico, is roasted in traditional brick ovens for 72 hours (as opposed to employing cheaper, quicker steam cooking). A proprietary yeast blend is employed during fermentation, rather than a commercial yeast, and that process lasts 80 hours (48 hours in fermentation tanks is common). The implication is that the extra money you might be paying for a bottle of Casamigos is the result of extra effort put into its production.
Like most añejo tequilas, this is largely meant to be enjoyed slowly and neat or over ice. However, because it’s not a particularly “heavy” aged spirit, it should make for intriguing Margaritas, or as a replacement in cocktails made using a lighter Speyside whisky like Glenlivet. It’s probably not the go-to for an Old Fashioned riff.
While celebrity-backed tequilas are currently undergoing extra scrutiny by aficionados (for good reason: Vanity projects often use existing inferior stock and cost-cutting shortcuts packaged in a stylish bottle), Casamigos añejo is worth some serious consideration. It’s perhaps the best of the three expressions and the most agave-forward, despite the extra oak aging. One thing worth considering is that it’s priced at a slightly higher tier than many of its direct competitors like Cazadores, Olmeca Altos, and Espolon. Is it worth the extra bucks? That’s likely up to you. Head to a bar and do some side-by-side comparisons if you want to spend wisely.
The big news, when Diageo bought the brand, was the price tag: almost one billion dollars. Gerber insists that when they launched the brand, it was essentially for their enjoyment, and such a payout was “something we never could have imagined.”
The Bottom Line
Casamigos añejo tequila is a complex, flavorful entry in the world of aged tequilas. Though it may trend a little too “sweet” for some tequila fans, the herbaceous agave notes definitely shine through.