Camarena tequila might not be a premium tequila brand, but it is not a discount, bargain-basement tequila brand either. I paid about $30.00 for a 1.75 liter bottle of Familia Camarena Reposado tequila at the famous and massive Apple Jack liquor store in Wheat Ridge, Colorado. For a huge liquor store, Apple Jack only has a good, not great tequila section. The name Camarena isn’t familiar to me and I”m surprised I haven’t seen this tequila somewhere else. When shopping for margarita-making brands of tequila, my budget is usually $20.00 and under. I’ve found some very good tequila, including the Rancho Alegre Silver and Reposado which are made from 100% agave and sell for around $19.00 per 1.75 liter bottle. Unfortunately, most liquor stores don’t carry Rancho Alegre tequila, thus an opportunity arose for trying a new brand. Most stores don’t carry the Camarena tequila either. In fact, I was not going to find a tequila made from 100% agave at Apple Jack in my price range, so the Camarena was the next best thing. The attractive Camarena tequila bottle caught my eye because it had a bright orange tag with a 94 rating by Wine and Spirits. If the rating is accurate then a tequila with a score that high should be good enough for sipping by itself, while cheap enough for consuming large margaritas. Could the Camarena hold up to that promise? I usually prefer the less expensive reposado over the similarly prices silvers or blanco tequila because they have a fuller, woodier flavor. I had to admit, though, the Camarena seemed very light for a repasado tequila – almost yellow and certainly not the dark, amber color of some of the other reposado tequila brands I’ve drank, much less something like a 3-year old extra anejo tequila. Well, every now and then, it is worth it to go beyond my budget by as much as 33% or more, just to try something new and supposedly better than the other tequila brands I’ve reviewed. So, onto my actual impressions of Camarena tequila.
Is Camarena Over-rated?
Is the Camarena reposado tequila as good as Wine and Spirits lofty, 94 rating? In a word, no. I think a 94 rating is much too high for any tequila in this price range, much less the Camarena which I’ve had better. The best thing I can say about Camarena is that it is dry and smooth . Certainly light years better than Cuervo Gold Tequila which doesn’t even deserve to be called, tequila. Camarena is almost too dry. The first sip of this light gold tequila gives me just a little tease of the agave and smoky wood than quickly fades into the flat, disappointing burn of the alcohol taste. I notice little or no sweetness from the nectar. The Camarena seems to lack a little soul, but it also lacks the unpleasant punch of some of other tequila brands in this price range. If you’re not overly fond of the complexities of tequila flavor, but enjoy margaritas or sunrises, the Camarena will suit your tastes and budget just fine.