El Tesoro Tequila Review

A Premium Tequila That Continues to Follow Tradition

El Tesoro Tequilas

Beam Suntory

El Tesoro Tequila offers a line of premium tequilas that are sure to impress anyone. Produced in the highlands of Jalisco, Mexico using traditional methods, the tequilas showcase the taste of real agave in one of its purest forms. The blanco tequila makes a fine margarita and the reposado can find its way into cocktails as well. And, if you're looking for a well-crafted, aged tequila to sip slowly, El Tesoro's añejos are sure to please.

Fast Facts

  • Ingredients: 100% blue Weber agave
  • Proof: 80
  • ABV: 40%
  • Calories in a shot: 67
  • Origin: Jalisco, Mexico
  • Taste: Sweet, earthy
  • Aged: 0 months (blanco) up to five years (extra-añejo)
  • Serve: Straight, cocktails, shots

What Is El Tesoro Made From?

La Alteña is the distillery in Jalisco, Mexico that is home to El Tesoro Tequila. Started in 1937 by Don Felipe Camarena, the distillery is near the town of Arandas in the heart of Los Altos, the highlands that produce some of the richest and finest tequilas made. The El Tesoro brand was launched in 1989 and is owned by Beam Suntory today. The distillery operation is now in the hands of Don Felipe's grandson, master distiller Carlos Camarena, and continues to employ the traditional methods of making tequila.

El Tesoro begins in the agave fields, like any other tequila. The mineral-rich soil of Los Altos produces fine blue Weber agave plants and the jimadors carefully observe when each plant is ready to be harvested. Using a sharp-bladed tool called a coa de jima, the field workers harvest each agave by hand. They shave off the long, thick, spiked leaves, leaving a large, white, fleshy bulb called the piña that resembles a giant pineapple. The piñas are then cut and slowly baked in traditional hornos (ovens) for two days.

La Alteña uses a traditional tahona wheel to process the baked agave. This large volcanic stone circles a pit, crushing the agave fibers and extracting the juice. Both the pulp and juice are sent to fermentation tanks where yeast is introduced that converts the sugar into alcohol. The fermented liquid is distilled twice and comes out of the copper pot stills at bottling strength. This eliminates the need to blend it with water as is common practice in many distilleries.

After distillation, tequila that's destined to be a blanco is bottled. The tequila that will become a reposado or añejo goes into barrels for aging. All of El Tesoro's tequilas are bottled at 40 percent alcohol by volume (ABV, 80 proof).

What Does El Tesoro Tequila Taste Like?

The tequilas of El Tesoro are a perfect example of highland tequila. They are bright and have an earthy flavor that is true to sweet, baked agave. The aged tequilas add an oakiness that rivals the flavor notes found in brandy and whiskey. All of the tequilas go down very smooth.

Types

El Tesoro produces five tequilas. While they come at a premium price, they are not out of reach for the average drinker. The extra-añejo tequilas, however, are what most would consider a luxury, reserved for special occasions.

El Tesoro Blanco: 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 the tequila's use as both a sipper and one of the best bases available for tequila cocktails.

El Tesoro Reposado: As is customary, El Tesoro's aged tequilas spend their time resting in used bourbon barrels. The reposado spends between nine and 11 months in those barrels. This gives that raw agave flavor from the blanco a gentle oak sweetness. 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: This can quickly become a new favorite among añejo tequilas. It is aged for two to three years in used bourbon barrels and the bouquet is artfully balanced. Agave and oak dominate the palate, with the citrus and pepper of the younger expressions remaining, though they're decidedly more relaxed. While it is preferable to sip this fine tequila, it makes some very nice cocktails when treated wisely.

El Tesoro Extra-Añejo: A blend of tequilas aged in bourbon barrels for between four and five years, this extra-añejo is a fine example of tequila. It builds on the flavors of the younger tequilas, adding chocolate and coffee notes with hints of roasted almond to make a delicious sipping tequila.

El Tesoro Paradiso: Another extra-añejo, Paradiso is aged for five years in former Cognac barrels made of French oak. It is a blended collaboration with a master cognac blender and carries undertones of smoke, butterscotch, and tropical fruits against the sweet, earthy agave base. The pinnacle of the portfolio, you can easily spend over $100 on this bottle.

How to Drink El Tesoro Tequila

These are not going to be an everyday tequila that you pour into just any mixed drink or take as a shot. Instead, savor the taste of El Tesoro Tequilas and use discretion when choosing cocktail recipes.

The blanco tequila is going to make a fantastic margarita and Juan Collins. It can also stand up to dry vermouth in a tequini or the sultry taste of a dulce de tequila.

The reposado and añejo tequilas create a fine Spanish Harlem when you want to give the aged tequilas a Manhattan-like treatment. They can also be served neat in a chilled glass. Since these are just 80 proof, try to avoid too much dilution when serving the aged tequilas on the rocks. For the best results, use a single, large piece of ice rather than a few standard-sized cubes.