Casamigos blanco tequila is a light fruit-driven tequila with flavors of papaya, guava and vanilla. Agave freshness leads to a slightly medicinal vanilla-noted finish.
Classification: blanco tequila
Distillery: Diageo Mexico Operaciones S.A. de C.V.
NOM: 1609 (formerly 1416)
Still Type: stainless steel pot still (copper coil)
Released: 2013, ongoing
Proof: 80 (40% ABV)
Aged: rests 2 months, unaged
Awards: Spirits Brand of the Year 2020, Market Watch Magazine
- Easy-drinking introduction to the tequila category
- Equally appropriate for shooting or mixing into cocktails
- The sweet flavor profile might turn off some agave purists.
- A slightly “medicinal” note toward the end of each sip
Color: Crystal-clear, with a light to medium viscosity and very short legs
Nose: It has a heavy vanilla note on the initial nosing, not much in the way of grass or agave-fruit initially. As it opens up, there’s a hint of tropical fruit, perhaps papaya or guava. In general, it’s a fairly one-note bouquet.
Palate: It opens sweet and bright, with an anchor of desirable agave freshness on the nose. Midpalate, it’s light-bodied with a pronounced agave, banana, papaya and vanilla character. At the back of the palate, there’s a touch of black pepper and more vanilla, plus a hint of a medicinal note.
Finish: A brief medicinal-vanilla finish. There’s a dryness on the inside of the cheeks not attributable to wood tannins.
In 2013, actor George Clooney and nightclub owner Rande Gerber (who happens to be married to Cindy Crawford) dropped Casamigos (which roughly translates to “house of friends”), a high-profile celebrity-backed tequila. Back in May 2017, Gerber said, “It was created out of our desire to drink the best-tasting, smoothest tequila. We wanted to be able to drink it all night long and not be hungover the next morning.” He swore, “Nothing goes into a bottle until George and I taste it first. We sign off on every batch, and then the bottles are numbered.” The brand was a huge success, and the next month it was announced Diageo bought the brand for nearly a billion dollars. They moved production from NOM 1416 (the distillery that also makes Avion and Campo Azul, among many others) to the beverage company’s own still (NOM 1609). Clooney and Gerber are still involved as the marketing faces of the brand.As a result of the ownership and distillery changes, many longtime drinkers of the label note a shift in the flavor profile. While it’s not clear how much has been verified beyond anecdotes, the general online consensus is that the modern incarnation of the label runs sweeter and leans heavily into vanilla notes (all from legal additives in tequila). However, the company says the process has not changed since the move and acquisition. Agave piña are roasted (rather than steamed) for 72 hours, and the juice undergoes an 80-hour fermentation process. It has been too long since I’ve tasted the original to accurately note any differences. Considering the brand has seen continuous double-digit growth each year (according to Market Watch Magazine) and a 35% increase in sales from 2019 to 2020, they’re doing all right with any changes.
As a shot, it works perfectly fine. It’s what some might classify as “smooth” (while others will cringe at the term). There’s minimal brashness or burn either entering or leaving the mouth. It pairs perfectly well with fresh lime juice and salt, but you might want to avoid Rose’s or other presweetened lime products, as the tequila itself is already pretty sweet. (Tequilas are allowed to add a little sweetener; depending on whether it’s cane sugar or a more powerful artificial sweetener, it can be quite noticeable).
Casamigos may not be a first choice for a sipping tequila, but it isn’t going to crash your palate in the way that less-well-made tequilas might do. It works nicely in classic Margaritas, especially in Margarita riffs with strawberry, pineapple or cinnamon. Here again, use an easy hand when adding other sweeteners, such as agave syrup, because the tequila brings a hint of that to the party already.
Comparing it with other 100% Weber agave tequilas in roughly the same price range, it’s a bottle that might appeal more to someone new to the tequila category or who prefers a sweeter spirit, as some rums are. In sweetness and fruitiness, it compares somewhat to the new Don Ramon tequilas. Pitting it up against other more traditional blancos (say El Tesoro, Espolòn or even Don Julio), you’ll notice a diversion away from pure agave notes in the Casamigos.
Another area it might fall short for some is in the price category. It’s classified as a high-end premium tequila, but these days there’s stiff competition from brands half its price, such as Espolòn and Olmeca Altos, which also offer up a great drinking experience.
According to Diageo, the tequila is still produced in traditional ovens and the juice extracted with a roller mill.
The bottom line: The Casamigos line is a pleasant user-friendly, beachside shooter and solid cocktail ingredient. Agave purists may balk at the heavy vanilla notes and sweeter flavor profile.