Cuervo’s Tradicional tequila line has long been an affordable way to get 100% agave tequila from a familiar brand, and while it started with a blanco, Cuervo’s been moving up the agave chain, offering a reposado, anejo, and now a cristalino version. This expression is actually built around a reposado, “matured in American white oak and blended with a delicate amount of Tradicional Añejo and Reserva de la Familia Extra Añejo for added complexity.” It’s then filtered back to clear to create the classic cristalino style. Bottles are individually numbered.
This is a wholly solid cristalino — particularly given its very approachable price tag. The nose is mild but offers notes of fresh agave mixed with caramel and a touch of vanilla. Hints of lemon-lime nod at sharper citrus notes, but on the whole the aromatics are entirely restrained — which is appropriate for a reposado-based cristalino.
There’s considerably more exuberance on the palate, where vanilla and chocolate are immediately evident, tempered by a lashing of peppery agave. These elements both build with time in glass, giving the experience something of a Mexican chocolate character, developing a richer construction that might be more typical of an anejo-based tequila. Some dark black fruit emerges over time, with an echo of herbal agave to offset the sweetness, balancing out the finish.
A lovely adventure from start to end, it’s a decidedly solid, drinkable, and versatile example of the style — not too sweet, not blown out by wood.
80 proof. NOM 1122.
A- / $34 / cuervo.com [BUY IT NOW FROM TOTAL WINE]