Camarena Tequila

camarena tequilaCamarena tequila might not be a premium tequila brand, but it is not a discount, bargain-basement tequila brand either. I paid about $30.00 for a 1.75 liter bottle of Familia Camarena Reposado tequila at the famous and massive Apple Jack liquor store in Wheat Ridge, Colorado. For a huge liquor store, Apple Jack only has a good, not great tequila section. The name Camarena isn’t familiar to me and I”m surprised I haven’t seen this tequila somewhere else.  When shopping for margarita-making brands of tequila, my budget is usually $20.00 and under. I’ve found some very good tequila, including the Rancho Alegre Silver and Reposado which are made from 100% agave and sell for around $19.00 per 1.75 liter bottle. Unfortunately, most liquor stores don’t carry Rancho Alegre tequila, thus an opportunity arose for trying a new brand. Most stores don’t carry the Camarena tequila either. In fact, I was not going to find a tequila made from 100% agave at Apple Jack in my price range, so the Camarena was the next best thing. The attractive Camarena tequila bottle caught my eye because it had a bright orange tag with a 94 rating by Wine and Spirits.  If the rating is accurate then a tequila with a score that high should be good enough for sipping by itself, while cheap enough for consuming large margaritas. Could the Camarena hold up to that promise? I usually prefer the less expensive reposado over the similarly prices silvers or blanco tequila because they have a fuller, woodier flavor. I had to admit, though, the Camarena seemed very light for a repasado tequila – almost yellow and certainly not the dark, amber color of some of the other reposado tequila brands I’ve drank, much less something like a 3-year old extra anejo tequila. Well, every now and then, it is worth it to go beyond my budget by as much as 33% or more, just to try something new and supposedly better than the other tequila brands I’ve reviewed. So, onto my actual impressions of Camarena tequila.

Is Camarena Over-rated?

Is the Camarena reposado tequila as good as Wine and Spirits lofty, 94 rating? In a word, no. I think a 94 rating is much too high for any tequila in this price range, much less the Camarena which I’ve had better. The best thing I can say about Camarena is that it is dry and smooth . Certainly light years better than Cuervo Gold Tequila which doesn’t even deserve to be called, tequila.  Camarena is almost too dry. The first sip of this light gold tequila gives me just a little tease of the agave and smoky wood than quickly fades into the flat, disappointing burn of the alcohol taste. I notice little or no sweetness from the nectar. The Camarena seems to lack a little soul, but it also lacks the unpleasant punch of some of other tequila brands in this price range. If you’re not overly fond of the complexities of tequila flavor, but enjoy margaritas or sunrises, the Camarena will suit your tastes and budget just fine.

Rancho Alegre Tequila

Tequila Drinker’s Best Kept Secret?

Rancho Alegre
Rancho Alegre Tequila

A Tequila this good and cheap has got to be one of the best kept secret on the planet (at least until this article). Yesterday afternoon, when I checked the ratings websites for bargain priced, decent 100% De Agave Tequila the name, Rancho Alegre, was no where to be found. I found some other brands that were rated very high and cost around $30 for a 750ml bottle. Some examples of these great value priced tequilas include names like Don Eduardo Silver, Hacienda Del Cristero, Marquez de Valencia Reposado, Oro Azul Blanco, just to name a few. With prestigious, Mexican brand names like these, it’s not hard to believe they are quality tequilas, even at a bargain price. But, if I had seen a name like this one on the list for $30.00, I’d be skeptical to say the least. That was before I knew what I know now.

100% De Agave

Armed with my top-shelf, $30-a-bottle, tequila shopping list, I stopped by my local liquor store on the way home from work. My hope was to find a good bottle of sipping tequila like the Don Eduardo and also buy a good mixer-tequila like Sauza for Margaritas, which my wife enjoys. Despite a very nice display and selection of Tequilas, I was unable to find any of the names on my wish-list. I was about to grab the $22.99, 1.75L Bottle of Sauza Gold, when the $17.99 price tag with the unusual name, Rancho Alegre, caught my eye. Underneath the Ranch Alegre label, read 100% De Agave. Now, I’ve had tequilas that claim to be 100% agave before that weren’t any good, so I was skeptical to say the least. Some of these lower priced tequilas claiming to be 100% De Agave remind me of Cuervo. They are very dirty and foul tasting, and don’t make a smooth margarita. Still, at $17.99 for a 1.75L bottle, I thought it might be worth the risk. I loaded the Safari App on my iPhone and searched for a quick review and found some very favorable comments. The ratings stated that Rancho Alegre is not only a good mixer, but very tasty sipping tequila. Either the Reposado or Silver Rancho came highly recommended by the first online review. Deciding I no longer needed the Sauza, I picked up a 1.75L bottle of Reposado.

Rancho Alegre Taste

The first sip of Rancho Alegre lived up to and maybe even surpassed its online rating: Buttery toffee, Agave nectar finishing up with pecan and walnuts. The finish has a bit of a nutty bite, but not at all unpleasant. It was almost too good to use for Margaritas. Before mixing a batch, I let my wife take a couple of sips. She immediately approved and absolutely savored the Margaritas. I couldn’t decide if wanted to drink the Margs or sip on it all by itself, so I did both. I probably drank way too much tequila last night, but had absolutely no headache this morning. I’ve reviewed some excellent bargains in Vodkas and Gins, but this newly discovered tequila is the clear winner of them all when it comes to bargain priced liquor. Now that I’ve let the secret out of the hat, I’d better stock up on Rancho Alegre while it’s still available at such an astoundingly, low price.

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