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Sunday, April 21, 2019

Distill Wars Episode VIII: Tequila Throwdown! Cuervo Gold vs Camarena Reposado vs Patron Reposado

Welcome to probably the most dangerous episode of Distill WarsTEQUILA!

Back when I was younger I loved tequila. In my early 20's I'd even do some shots just to fall asleep while I transitioned from being a night owl to having to be at work early in the morning. Then in August of 2006 an entire pallet of Jose Cuervo Gold tipped over coming off of a truck and smashed. A lake of Cuervo on concrete baking in the August sun in 100 degree weather all day. Just imagine that. For a long time I couldn't even smell tequila without wanting to purge my lunch.

But those days are done and I'm over it. And here I am with three tequila nips, about to find out which one is better, and most likely black out in the process.

Wallet weight-in
Camarena Reposado: $2.00
Jose Cuervo Especial Gold: $2.50
Patron Reposado: $6.00

The Jose Cuervo is a Gold Tequila while the others are Reposados. So Jose Cuervo is up against some tough competition because it's just a silver tequila that's had caramel coloring added, while the Reposados have actually spent time in oak to earn that color. Can the underdog Cuervo overcome the odds? Pffffft. Not likely.

Visually Cuervo is the darkest of the three, while the other two are significantly lighter, but the Camarena is the lightest. On the nose they're honestly not all that different, except that the Cuervo has more pepperiness, Camarena has some milk chocolate, and the Patron has more saltiness.

On the palate the Cuervo's popularity is definitely understandable. Harsh hot cinnamon, a twist in your neck, and a slam of the glass. You don't savor this; you pound this. The buttery mouthfeel, spice and pepper, and bit of the sweetness on the Camarena make it an absolute pleasure on the midpalate. The Patron offers nothing but ethanol and a sexy silky oily mouthfeel on the midpalate, which is probably its appeal to those in clubs who you would think were Grey Goose drinkers. 

I really enjoy Cuervo's finish. It's a nice salt and pepper and ethanol assault, and adding a squirt of lime or using it in Margaritas makes it understandable why it's so popular as a means for just getting drunk. The Camarena finishes with white pepper and a bit of cooked apple, while the Patron offers nothing but oiliness and it really heats up a bit too much for the dullness it's offering overall.

Winner: Camarena Reposado. It's a no contest knock out. This is the cheapest of the three by the 50 ml nip format and it clearly offers the most in character and quality and represents what tequila should be the most. And, just so you know, Camarena makes severely impressive tequila on every level for the price. I know this features their Reposado, but you simply cannot beat their Silver for the price.

On the side: If you need something to make drinks with and can't do Camarena, then choose Sauza over Cuervo. It's generally cheaper, sees actual time in oak, and better quality. Also, Patron is overrated and overpriced because of Paris Hilton. Don't listen to Paris Hilton.

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