Spirits & Liqueurs Tequila & Mezcal

Hornitos Reposado Tequila Review

This older tequila brand uses newfangled technology. The results are not good.

Hornitos Reposado Tequila bottle

Liquor.com / Laura Sant

liquor.com rating:
2

Hornitos’ reposado tequila is an older tequila made with modern techniques, and the quality suffers for it. Although it’s affordable, you’ll find better-quality tequilas in a similar price range.

Fast Facts

Classification reposado tequila

Company Sauza Tequila (Beam Suntory)

Distillery Tequila Sauza (Tequila, Mexico)

NOM 1102

Cask American oak

Still Type column and stainless steel pot

Released 1950

Proof 80 (40% ABV)

Aged at least two months

MSRP $25

Awards Silver, 2017 and 2018 Beverage Testing Institute

Pros
  • Reasonably priced, making it good for parties and high-volume mixing

  • Aged for barely the minimum time required to be called a reposado, ensuring the wood doesn’t overwhelm the agave

Cons
  • The starches are extracted from the agave using diffusers, which are cheap and efficient but, according to tequila fans, result in an inferior final product.

Tasting Notes

Color: Very pale golden yellow, with thick, swift-moving legs

Nose: Not a whole lot going on here. Some agave does come through after a few whiffs, but it seems slightly stale, more musty than vegetal.

Palate: Sweet vanilla mingles with oak and agave, but the result is a clash of flavors rather than a harmonious blend—the sweet, dry, and savory notes just don’t quite seem to fit together.

Finish: A slightly syrupy sweetness lingers on the back of the tongue, along with a slight dryness that’s a bit off-putting.

Our Review

Hornitos has had a place in the Sauza tequila empire for more than 70 years, but at least in the case of its reposado expression, its longevity isn’t an indicator of quality. 

The agave used in Hornitos’ creation was originally cooked in smaller-than-normal brick ovens, but nowadays a diffuser is used to separate the starches, from which the sugars are then extracted. This method is cheap and fast and saves money on the production end, but the finished product suffers for it. 

This is simply not a good tequila—unbalanced and off-putting as a sipper, it won’t tank your Margarita or Tequila Sunrise, but there are plenty of reposados that will do a better job. Although it’s moderately priced at $25 or so for a bottle,  there are far better options for the same price or less, including Cazadores and Camarena.

Interesting Fact

Hornitos was created as an offshoot of Sauza by the head of the brand, Don Francisco Javier Sauza, in 1950, to celebrate the anniversary of Mexico’s independence. The cooking process distinguished it from standard Sauza: The agave was roasted in smaller ovens than were traditionally used (“Hornitos” literally means “little ovens'' in Spanish), giving distillers more control over the cooking process and yielding a superior final product.

The Bottom Line

The Hornitos brand is a venerable one, but the adoption of modern techniques has made the reposado a poor tequila both for sipping and mixing.