Tasting the Tequila Cazadores Trio
And beyond the tequila trinity, what about all this gold tequila we see everyone? As a devote to all things gold, these blends were most likely the bottles I was most drawn toward purchasing before being properly educated. But after learning the basics, say it ain't so, gold tequila is in most cases a lesser quality than silver tequila. Gold tequilas are more often than not silver tequilas with coloring or sugar additives. Fortunately for us, there wasn't a gold tequila in sight at the Cazadores distillery, except for the naturally aged reposados and añejos that naturally gain a slight coloring from oak barrel aging.
The story of Cazadores starts with Jose Maria Bañuelos, who created the recipe in 1922 and kept it in the family for three generations like all famly secrets deserve. It wasn't until his grandson Don Felix perfected the recipe and opened up a factory in 1973 that the special recipe was released to the public. He named the blend Cazadores, "hunters," in honor of his grandfather to signify a man hunting down his dream, and marked it with the symbol of a deer, the favorite animal of his grandfather, which he often watched at night mingling with the gorgeous blue agave plants in the field.
Gallery: Cazadores Distillery Bar
We began our tasting with Cazadores silver, a beautifully clear spirit that reflects silver light when held over a white area. We swirled the delicacy in our glasses, watched as the solid legs of the spirit fell down the side of the glass, sniffed citrus and black pepper, and finally took a sip, swished and exhaled. The taste went down smoothly, and we were left with an overwhelming sensation of fresh mint in the mouth. Although I knew the best tequilas were yet to come, I was overwhelmingly impressed with this fresh silver, made for mixing, but one I would pointedly enjoy solo.
Next we were invited to try the Cazadores Reposado, a much fuller blend that equated to being aged in oak for at least two months. The spirit had a gorgeous gold reflection when held up to the light. We smelled ripe fruits from this highlands liquid, notably pear.
And finally, the añejo, a premium blend meaning it has been aged in oak for at least a year. The añejo had a rich, full body, and released scents of caramel, apple, and coffee. Any tequila aficionado would tell you it's a sacrilege to mix añejo, but as a fan of oak-bodied spirits, I quite enjoyed it in several tequila drinks to cut the sweetness of the mixer. According to Cazadores Brand Ambassador Tania Osequera, añejo is best enjoyed solo in a sniffer, accompanied only by an orange wedge sprinkled with cinnamon.
We then had the pleasure of sampling Cazadores straight from the barrel. It delivered a heavenly scent, reminiscent of the aroma of the oak and tequila blend living in barrels in the aging room. After swirling the liquid in our glasses, we found that the legs of the tequila took forever to fall, a hint at the richness to come. The natural color of the liquid was a subtle gold. The barrel tequila tasted both dry and sweet, with smooth notes of bittersweet chocolate. It went down smooth but left a harsh tingling in the throat, signifying the importance of a further distillation in the process. The barrel, which had been aged for a year, was a trial at a Cazdores extra añejo, the first of its kind to be released from the brand. Keep your eyes out for this sure to be interesting bottle.
My visit to Jalisco was sponsored by Tequila Cazadores, but the opinions expressed in the article are 100% my own.