Camarena Reposado is not a great sipping tequila, however, this inexpensive bottle is best used in traditional Mexican cocktails like the Margarita or Paloma.
Classification reposado tequila
Company Familia Camarena
Distillery Casa Tequilera Herencia de Los Altos, S.A. de C.V.
Cask American oak (new and ex-bourbon)
Still Type column
Proof 40% ABV
Aged 60 days
Awards Great Value, 2021 Ultimate Spirits Challenge
Straightforward tequila from a prominent Mexican tequila family name
Agave-forward, herbaceous character is a nice departure from modern “sweet” tequilas
Works well in cocktails
Excellent price point for the quality of the spirit
Somewhat brash on initial taste (though can be considered a plus to tequila fans)
A slightly metallic/astringent tang at the end of the finish
Color: Pale straw gold
Nose: Herbaceous agave leads, with an overlay of ripe tropical fruits (particularly mango and pineapple), along with a hint of faint grass and white pepper.
Palate: On first taste, there is a significant amount of spice and heat, perhaps more than one might expect from the family name and the bottle design, with light to medium oak tannins also providing a bit of bite. It opens up more at the mid-palate with more fruit, almond, and a medium-bodied “chewiness.” At the back of the mouth it is softer than on the open, but still bright with spice and herbaceous-agave notes.
Finish: A medium-to-long finish with agave, banana, almond, and heat, and an unexpected slightly metallic tang at the end
Familia Camarena tequilas are part of the expansive and productive heritage of the extended Camarena family in Mexico: Carlos Camarena (arguably the godfather of craft tequila) is behind El Tesoro, Tequila Tapatio, and Tequila Ocho; Felipe Camarena helped release the luxe Tequila G4 and Terralta. This label, initially helmed by Mauricio Camarena and backed by “six generations of tequila making,” is represented by a blanco, reposado, and (as of 2019) añejo expression. The label itself is relatively young, having launched in 2010, and is still family owned.
Blue Weber agave is harvested in the Arandas highlands of Jalisco, Mexico, which generally is known for producing tequilas with strong fruit notes. Here, the end result is one that is more herbaceous and grassy, not unlike what lowland agave is better known for. In this case, that makes it a nice “antidote” to the plethora of new tequilas that are emphasizing vanilla, caramel, and banana sweet notes. Here’s a traditional tequila, with a “natural” flavor profile at an affordable price point. The company doesn’t disclose how old the agave is when harvested, ages its reposado for the minimum 60 days, and does point out it uses a combination of “traditional ovens and modern techniques” (autoclaves, diffusors) to cook the agave. Each of these can be viewed as proprietary production processes to create the style it wants to create, or as cost-saving measures to produce an affordable product.
Based solely on mouthfeel, Camarena seems to represent an “authentic” tequila, with few or no additives (this has not been verified). The initial brashness, an overall lack of complexity, and the unusual, astringent final note in the finish render it a less-than-deal sipper. However, it works beautifully and seamlessly in traditional tequila cocktails such as Margaritas or Palomas. The company has also compiled a list of cocktails emphasizing a variety of berries, fruits, and fruit juices, which suggests its bartender has found that the challenging alcohol and herbaceous notes can be balanced with a sweet fruit mixer.
The company bills itself as “the most awarded tequila,” and has since its launch. Initially, it was produced at another distillery (NOM 1456, Tequila Supremo, S.A. de C.V.)