El Tesoro de Don Felipe Tequila Review

Learn About the El Tesoro Tradition

El Tesoro de Don Felipe Tequila
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El Tesoro de Don Felipe Tequila began in 1937 when the brand's namesake founded the still traditional distillery in Los Altos (the highlands) of Jalisco, Mexico. The methods implemented by Don Felipe de Jesús Camarena remain in tact today, including traditional hornos (ovens) and tahona wheels, alembic stills, and underground aging facilities. The distillery, known as La Alteña, continues its 60 year old operation in the most old-fashioned way possible. As a result of all of this care, the tequilas in El Tesoro's portfolio are one of the purest examples of what tequila should taste like and representative of the sweeter style of tequilas produced in Los Altos. If you are looking for a real agave flavor, this will be a tequila to try.

Tasting Notes

El Tesoro (the treasure) currently produces four tequilas. With the exception of El Tesoro Paradiso, they fall into the $50-60 range. While not the most affordable tequila, you will find that each are worth the money and it is nice to know that you can upgrade within a brand for just a few extra dollars rather than the $10-20 jump that is typical between a brand's expressions.

There are a few unique aspects of the production of El Tesoro which differ from the modern (more efficient) standards:

  • Select agave plants are chosen from the distillery's estate.
  • After the tahona wheel has crushed the baked agave, the fibers remain with the fermented liquid through the first distillation.
  • The tequila is distilled twice with no additives, not even water to bring it down to proof -- it is distilled to the exact proof required for bottling.
  • Reportedly, the distillation process itself continues without the use of electricity.

El Tesoro Platinum - $49

This blanco tequila is the base of the portfolio and displays one of the most natural agave flavors you will find in a bottle. Undiluted and bottled within 24 hours after leaving the still, this tequila is bold, aromatic, and amazingly smooth. There is a tantalizing mix of sweetened pepper notes that warrant this tequila's use as both a sipper and one of the best bases available for tequila cocktails.

El Tesoro Reposado - $54

As is customary, El Tesoro's aged tequilas spend their time resting in used Kentucky bourbon barrels. What is not as common is a reposado that spends the maximum of 9-11 months in those barrels. This gives that raw agave flavor from the Platinum a gentle oak sweetness that neither takes over the palate or remains obscured. It is a perfect balance, with floral, citrus, and spice notes from beginning to long-lasting end. Sip this one or mix it up for an outstanding Margarita.

El Tesoro Añejo - $59

This quickly became a new personal favorite among añejo tequilas. It is aged 2-3 years in used bourbon barrels and has a bouquet in both the nose and palate that is artfully balanced. Agave and oak dominate this palate, with the citrus and pepper of the younger expressions remaining, though decidedly more relaxed. Yes, it is preferable to sip this fine tequila, but again, looking at the price range of this portfolio I am in no way afraid of mixing this up in almost any tequila cocktail, especially those with a cleaner profile like a Tequini or Juan Collins.

More About El Tesoro Tequilas

El Tesoro also produces an extra-añejo called Paradiso. This bottling retails for around $109 per bottle and is the result of a collaboration between Don Felipe Camarena and Alain Royer of A. de Fussigny Cognac. It is a hand-crafted blend that is then aged for five years in used Cognac barrels. 

Quick Facts:

  • 100% blue agave, small batch, double distilled tequilas.
  • Produced in Arandas in Los Altos region of the state of Jalisco, Mexico.
  • All tequilas are 80 proof (40% alc/volume)
  • Aged tequilas are blended.

Disclosure: Review samples were provided by the manufacturer. For more information, please see our Ethics Policy.