This colourless expression is about to be the standard-bearer of a little-known range
If you’re dubious about the cristalino tequila category, that’s understandable—after all, what’s the point of taking an aged tequila and filtering out the colour? This style of tequila must be selling, however, because more and more brands are releasing cristalino expressions, and the latest comes from a brand that was co-founded by a celebrity and is actually quite good—Codigo 1530.
Codigo 1530 was founded in 2016 by country music superstar George Strait and two partners, Crocs CEO Ron Snyder and entrepreneur Federico Vaughn. Last year, the brand was acquired by French drinks company Pernod Ricard, joining a portfolio of well-known spirits like The Glenlivet, Aberlour, and Jameson Irish Whiskey. Codigo is notable for a few reasons: According to the brand, the tequila is additive-free, a claim that is verified by the website Taste Tequila which keeps a list of additive-free brands; also, all of the aged expressions are matured in wine casks as opposed to the bourbon barrels typically used in the tequila industry.
That applies to the new Cristalino Reposado expression as well. This is mostly reposado tequila, aged for six months in French white oak barrels previously used to mature Napa Cabernet wine, with a little bit of Origen, a six-year-old extra anejo tequila finished in cognac casks. The blend was charcoal filtered and oxygenated to remove the colour and soften the palate before bottling. “Since we are a single NOM distillery (NOM 1616), we had the freedom and resources to create a completely unique cristalino unlike any other on the market,” said Vaughan in a statement. “We had a lot of fun testing different blends and finishes before declaring the reposado and extra añejo blend as the winner.”
We got to try a sample of this new cristalino, and it’s a pleasant sipper. There are notes of citrus, vanilla, and agave on the nose. Those follow through to the palate, adding some creamy butterscotch, black pepper, burnt caramel, espresso bean, and roasted agave flavours. It might still take some convincing to turn some people on to the concept of this unofficial category, because really what is the point of removing the colour from an aged tequila? But this is undoubtedly one of the better cristalinos that has come to market in recent years.
You can purchase Código 1530 Cristalino Reposado now from ReserveBar, along with the rest of the lineup including a very pricy 14-year-old Extra Añejo expression.
This story was first published on Robb Report USA