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Tequila/Mezcal Reviews

Tasting George Clooney's Casamigos Tequila - Real Or Hype?

 

Casamigos - maybe the first breakthrough celebrity alcohol brand in the 2000's. Who would've guessed it'd be a tequila? George Clooney did!

So as the perfect brand story goes - three friends really passionate about having a good time thought it might be cool to bottle their own tequila. Decided to go on this little passion project of finding great tequila, finds it, bottles it, it's not for sale, just personal consumption, friends beg them to share it with the world, and BAM! They're got a full brand and marketing roll out and now sits on every liquor store shelf.

 

 

Amongst those friends are uber cool George Clooney and Rande Gerber (perhaps better known as Cindy Crawford's husband). Their Casamigos brand (meaning "House of Friends") was started in 2014 and quickly took off so astronomically well that Diageo acquired it for a whopping US$1bn in 2017, making George Clooney more coin than he ever did making movies - which is why you don't see him making movies no more.

Since then, the brand has added a mezcal expression and even hopped on the Cristalino tequila trend.

Now obviously, you can't be expecting George Clooney to be out there cooking the agaves, so tracing it back to its NOM (the ID number of the distillery that produces the tequila), we see that it was originally made at NOM 1416, which also produces a number of other celebrity-backed tequilas, and more famously Clase Azul, and then after Diageo acquired the brand, its production was shifted to NOM 1609, which belongs to Diageo.

 

 

And while Casamigos has been an incredible enduring success that till this day regularly tops the charts of best-selling tequila brands, of course it has its detractors who point out that sweeteners have been added to the tequila. For the record, it is legal for tequila to have sweeteners added to it so long as it is deemed health safe and is produced within the official tequila-producing geographical zones and made using blue agave.

The Casamigos brand officially states that it uses 100% blue weber agave from Jalisco, roasts their agaves for 10x longer than standard, and fermented 2x longer than the usual, and is matured in American ex-Bourbon casks. All of them are bottled at 40% ABV.

We'll find out shortly how Casamigos ranks amongst celebrity tequilas by trying the flagship trio of the Blanco (unaged), the Reposado (7 months ageing) and the Anejo (14 months ageing). The Reposado and Anejo are simply the Blanco but aged for various time frames.

Let's go! 

Casamigos Tequila Blanco, 40% ABV - Review

 

Tasting Notes

Color: Water

Aroma: A quite pronounced vegetal scent at first like freshly chopped succulents or maybe cut grass. Thereafter strong vanilla frosting, vanilla cream cake or fondant. There’s some slight flecks of dried mint and maybe alittle bit of finger lime. Comes off rather sweet, but still with that categorical vegetal quality.

Taste: Much more vanilla, sugar syrup, maltose candy, agave syrup - but creamy, so maybe more of a slice of vanilla cream sponge cake. Big candy corn flavours too. Really quite sweet here. Sprinkle of some black pepper, and again alittle bit of eucalyptus and some lemon citrus zest.

Finish: Pretty clean and short, lemon sherbet candy.

 

My Thoughts

Just to get it out of the way - it does seem sweetened, it really has strong vanilla frosting and candy notes, so I wouldn’t be surprised. So if you were here for the craft, I mean let’s be real, why would you be coming to a celebrity tequila for that. But for the sake of evaluation, we'll grade this on the perspective that it does have sweeteners added to it and so it'll be on a scale adjusted for celebrity tequilas.

So with that out of the way - it tastes nice, insofar as candy tastes nice. It’s not what a tequila should taste like, but category aside, it tastes reasonably okay (as in no off notes aside from the sweetness) and presents a very easy drinking option for whoever this is targeted at. It’s kind of like getting a frappe at Starbucks.

To grade it on its own category of celebrity tequilas, this is actually one of the better ones, at least there’s the vegetal notes on the nose, and some nuances of flavours to it. To that end, this actually makes a great pick for shots because it’s so easy to drink, and with that vegetal scent, you’d think it really was Tequila - so you’re really getting the ideal experience.

Casamigos Tequila Reposado, 40% ABV - Review

 

Tasting Notes

Color: Light Gold

Aroma: Still the big hit of vanilla frosting, but here there’s alittle more butterscotch which gives an added depth to it. The vegetal scent is still here but alot more backseat and quieter, not as bright or vibrant. There’s some light woodiness here as well and cinnamon.

Taste: The big vanilla notes carry through here, again with the heavier and richer butterscotch flavour. The agave still comes through in the form of agave syrup, and then there’s a little bit of woodiness here that brings a slight bitterness with it. Again, a dusting of cinnamon. Light minerality. Very smooth here too.

Finish: More peppery here, and this time it’s noticeably longer, with some vanilla cream in the finish.

 

My Thoughts

Given that the Reposado is based off the Blanco that likely has sweeteners, it’s unsurprising that the big confectionary vanilla notes carry through. Personally for me though, I found the Reposado more drinkable considering that it didn’t feel too saccharine and came with more depth that made it more palatable. The finish here was also more satisfying and really much called for.

I think the richness of the butterscotch is probably going to make most folks like the Reposado quite a whole lot because of that sort of toffee earthiness that’s so rounded. 

On top of that, the vegetal notes here are pushed alot further back, so if someone wasn’t into tequilas for that reason, this would be down their alley too. 

Compared to other celebrity tequilas - this one’s actually quite enjoyable because of all that lovely butterscotch notes. Again, we’re just going measure it based on tequilas with additives tossed in. This really feels like you’re drinking a frappe.

Casamigos Tequila Anejo, 40% ABV - Review

 

Tasting Notes

Color: Honey

Aroma: Pure butterscotch, backed by more toffee. There’s a little bit of musty wood cellar here, and also some marzipan and cinnamon. There’s a very light waft of vegetal note but almost like walking by the agave plant itself.

Taste: It’s sweet and herbal, with a good richness to it. There’s honey, butterscotch, manuka honey, a deep agave essence that’s well integrated into the honey. It’s still pretty sweet. Light bit of woodiness, not so prominent here. More milk chocolate, tobacco leaves, baked pastries, lemon tea.

Finish: More spiciness here once again. Still very long, but more silky here, with some more milk chocolate, vanilla sauce and lemon tea.

 

My Thoughts

What surprises me most here is that somehow this felt less prominently sweet than the Blanco and Reposado, or at least it comes across more tampered when there’s bigger toffee and earthy notes as well to give it some balance.

It mellows out quite nicely, and actually has a pretty good body with some very nice confectionary flavours which again are much more palatable because it’s not nearly as sweet. It’s also got a good integration of the agave notes on the palate that’s a plus for this as well. The finish was also really satisfying.

I think the only drawback here is that while this is certainly tasty and very palatable with a sweet-earthy combo, it still leans towards lots of confectionaries which I’m sure most folks love, but it could take it up a notch if there was more dimensions to it.

That said, all in, this was my favourite of the three, and I found it very drinkable and approachable and honestly really tasty for what it is - at least the sweetness was much more in check here.

 

Last Words

Yes, yes, there’s sweeteners added - we knew what we were getting into! But for the sake of satisfying our curiousity, we wanted to give it a try anyway. What we found was definitely surprising, and while it’s too simplistic in its complexity (or lack thereof), it did punch above its weight as a celebrity Tequila. So while it doesn’t showcase the multitude of what Tequilas can offer and isn’t exactly artisanal or totally natural, it’s not half bad.

So with that out of the way, the Casamigos lineup is quite frankly way better than most celebrity Tequilas. It’s got much better flavours, more depth, better integration and roundedness, it was just that much more drinkable and satisfying. Aside from the sweetness, you couldn’t find much wrong with it beyond it being a fairly straightforward, easy drinking agave spirit.

To that end, it does exactly what it’s made to - be a reliable easy drink, and it does that really well. And so for me, the best was clearly the Casamigos Anejo, followed by the Reposado and then the Blanco. If you’re going to get one, get the Anejo.

 

Kanpai!

 

@111hotpot