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Campeon Añejo Tequila.  No, that's not a marijuana leaf on the bottle.

Campeón Añejo Tequila. No, that’s not a marijuana leaf on the bottle.

Campeón Tequila Añejo

Proof: 80
Color: pale straw
Nose: citrus, pineapple, fresh herbs
Taste: herbs, sour lemon, sweet pear & pineapple
Finish: smooth, sweet and long
Value: great tequila for a decent price

Back on the tequila wagon, we turn our attention to Campeón.

My standard remark as follows: “true” tequilas are 100% blue agave and are unaged.  And by “unaged” I mean that the tequila has spent zero time in a barrel.  Barrel time hides the agave flavor in a web of vanilla and toasted nut flavors.

However… as with all standard remarks, there are exceptions.  I’ll *NEVER* deviate from saying that Tequila must be 100% blue agave… but the aging thing…

Now, that tequila that I just reviewed, Don Julio 1942… I said that I felt it might be trying too hard to be like Bourbon.  And that being like Bourbon might not be a bad thing.

Well, I say:  Drink what you like.  If you like Bourbon, drink Bourbon.  If you like Tequila, drink Tequila.  But if you like Bourbon and want to branch out, why not try a Tequila that has barrel notes like Bourbon?  Makes sense, right?

This is NOT that Tequila.

Campeón Añejo is aged for about a year.  Yes, that’s more than Reposado Tequilas, but less aged than most other Añejos.  And Campeón is proud of that.  They clearly state:

Our barrel aging softens and adds depth and layers, but you’ll never see our product’s exceptional flavor masked by woody barrel overtones.

And that is why I not only love the flavor of Campeón’s tequilas, but I respect them as distillers.

I am a bit of a tequila purist.  I want to taste the agave piña in the bottle.  I want the viscous texture.  I want herbs and spice and earth and sun.  But I don’t want the harsh white pepper and astringency that comes with a lot of Silver/Blanco/Unaged tequilas.  In a nutshell:

I want all of my Tequilas to be like Campeón Añejo.

If you’re like me, you want your libation to be the ultimate expression of its genre.  Orphan Barrel’s Forged Oak and Four Roses Small Batch may be among the best Bourbons, in my not-so humble opinion, because they exemplify what that whiskey should be.  Green Mark may be the best Vodka for the simple fact that it is so neutral, so very much like water, that if you add an ice cube to it, it becomes water.

And so, the best of Tequilas should exemplify what it means to be Tequila.

Citrus, herbs, pineapple, pear, sweetness… these are the flavor notes that most associate with agave flavors in Tequila.  Vanilla, caramel, oak, toast, nuts, cloves, cinnamon, biscuit… these are all barrel notes.  These notes will be infused into any liquor that spends a significant amount of time in a charred oak barrel.
Campeón says that they stray from using “overly charred” barrels and it sure comes across in the flavor.  For me, that’s a good thing.  A very good thing indeed.

As with so many good Tequilas that I taste, this is a sipping tequila. One ounce in a brandy snifter; neat.  Swirl, sniff, sip, swallow.  Sip, savor, swallow.

Now, I do love that other Tequila that I just wrote about, but let’s face it: it’s very much like Bourbon… and I love Bourbon.

But when I want Tequila, I want a *real* Tequila.  No barrel notes.  And Campeón Añejo delivers on the promise of a *real* Tequila: elevating the agave, not masking it.

Final Rating: 94 out of 100