Corralejo is one of those special brands with a long history worth reading about. This tequila is produced in the state of Guanajuato, in a region located south-east of the major highlands (Los Altos de Jalisco) agave regions. The interesting part about this reposado is that it managed to survive the "terrible switch" from 100% agave to mixto, and then come back from the dead.
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The "new" 100% agave repo comes in a bottle that is impossible to forget. Corralejo may easily be among the top 3 easiest bottles to recognize in the tequila industry: looong, tall and thin blue glass with a faded yellowish label. You simply cannot miss it. It wont fit into normal sized store shelves, that is the reason you must ALWAYS look up whe trying to find Corralejo bottles, specially around bars.
I remember that the "first generation" reposado (before it went mixto) was tasty and vibrant, perhaps a little harsh on the tongue but had dry-feeling agave notes all over the place, with enough alcohol bite to make you want to clear your throat. When it turned into a mixto, the chemical flavors were simply unbearable. But now that it went back to 100% agave, and with strong support and presence in the US market, Corralejo has turned into a serious contender for the "best battle tequila" , meaning that it is able to hold its ground both as a mixer AND a straight up spirit.
When you approach your nose, the agave notes appear a bit shrouded in a "wet soil" sensation. The alcohol notes are strong but sweet, quite grassy. The wood notes are not as oaky as most repos from the highlands, and that is a good thing IMO. Unfortunately, there is a weird array of caramely-floral elements that linger in the back of the retronasal passage way after the agave and alcohol notes have passed.
At the mouth, Corralejo behaves like strong-tempered pony: plays all over your palate over and over, filling every cravice with a strong mix of mild sweet over-cooked agave and sharp wood notes. The alcohol elements are VERY ethilic, evidence of good distillation, and it slides down quite easily. The burn is milder than in the previous 100% version, and by all measures superior to the horrible mixto version. It is possible to find traces of caramel, clove and smoke in the aftertaste, provided the strong alcohol elements allow you to concentrate.
The combination of agave, wood and alcohol notes appears more natural feeling than other big market favorites as Patron or CaboW, and leaves newbies like Corzo or Tezon right in the dust. I think Corralejo is so popular because it can turn very tasty margaritas and mixes very well with other soft drinks. Straight drinker will love 2 or 3 snifters of this reposado any day.
The only 2 things that I really do NOT like about Corralejo, is the fact that it goes up your head FAST, and can lead to epic hangovers if you go beyond half a bottle. Quite enjoyable in moderation, but dangerous if you let go.
If you are into tequila, you must give Corralejo 100% agave repo a try.
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