Monday, 11 May 2015

The Agave Sting: el Jimador Reposado vs Jose Cuervo Tradicional

I like it when an impromptu booze conversation breaks out at your local supermarket. The place was Cheadle’s Sainsburys. A need for something reasonably priced but decent for my hip flask had led me there when bring a bottle showed they had the el Jimador Reposado for 20 quid.

I’d been out of tequila for a while, and keen to try this one, so I was thinking it would be good to accompany the Open Golf Championship at the Royal Liverpool. Sadly, less than 10 minutes after making the purchase I learned I’d be designated driver for that event so, not only would I not be able to wander around getting hammered all day, nor would there be a special Open Golf Championship themed post any time soon. Instead… shall we just talk about the tequila? (reader’s voice – “yeah, suppose so…”).

So, I was in the checkout line, and I noticed out the corner of my eye that the lady in front was giving me looks. Now, tequila was the only thing I was buying, I’m in Cheadle and I’ve pretty much gone out in me trackie bottoms, so I’m thinking I probably look a bit dodgy. So I decide to pretend I’m not noticing her, but she actually seems to want to start a conversation. Which was nice. She actually just wanted to know what I was buying. What did she say she thought it was… I can’t remember now. Anyway, she was off home to eat some chocolate and drink some wine.

The blanco expression was the first 100% agave tequila I ever came to try, and still sits proudly at the top of my tequila rankings table, so I’d been keen to try the reposado for a while. This one has been aged for between 2 and 3 months (depending on which website you believe), and at £20 it’s more than £5 less than I paid for the Blanco originally at Carrington’s.

No, it doesn’t have the most intriguing bottle or label, but you do at least get a full 70cl (though only 38 of those ABVs) and frankly, £20 for that much 100% agave tequila is a bargain. Even before trying this one, I’d recommend you stop buying the standard Jose Cuervos or the Sierra and get the blanco next time you have tequila requirements.

I can tell you now, I do like this tequila. It’s got that slight agave sting, but not quite so much as its younger, whiter brother, and for that reason I actually prefer the blanco – yeh, I like the rough nature of the unaged agave.

I had actually been saving the last drop of my Jose Cuervo Tradicional [which has previously featured in a post about mediocre alcohol - not because it was bad, but because I didn't have much to say about it] for a direct comparison with this and, while you might know the result already if you follow my twitter feed, let’s have a look now, shall we?

Yes.

Vitalstatistix

Let’s remind ourselves first of all, of the facts:

Cuervo – 100% agave, 50cl, £19.99, 40% ABV
Jimador – 100% agave, 70cl, £20, 38% ABV

Some calculations.

The Cuervo works out to nearly 40p per cl while the Jimador is a more generous 28.5p. Remember though, you’re getting an extra 2 ABVs with the Cuervo. We’ll see how important those are in the final verdict.

Presentation

As with the blanco variety, the Jimador has gone for an uninspiring square but clear bottle and a simple label with an artist’s impression of a tequila farmer. It’s sealed with a screwcap and an annoying but unintrusive plastic insert – that I don’t remember being present with the blanco. Another thing I didn’t receive with the blanco is a little booklet hung around the neck suggesting one or two cocktail ideas. That’s always a bad sign – not necessarily that the spirit is bad, but rather that the distributor/manufacturer has chosen to target the mixing market.

On to the Cuervo then, which is presented in a narrow bottle with a classic style label that features a number representative of the number of years since founding that this bottle was made. A nice touch for those of us who appreciate these kind of things, but ultimately meaningless. The whole package is delightfully topped off with a sturdy stopper that makes a marvellous sound when you extract it.

Colour

Once again, not a massive consideration, but still a grounds for comparison. There’s little to choose with both brands exhibiting a pale yellow colour but if I had to choose, I’d say the Cuervo is slightly more in possession of the allure.

Tasting

Having opened both bottles at the same time for the purpose of photographing, the sweet smell of agave soon filled the room. It was time to take the glasses into the lounge and appraise the noses independently. For context, I think we were watching Rocky iv, which I noticed is more or less just a series of montages – there’s at least like, four in it. Wi-i-i-i-in, in the end! I’m gonna win in the end! Wait, that’s Teen Wolf.

Results? I’m surprised to be saying this, but the Cuervo pretty much sweeps the board – though not by too much. It just has a slightly greater fragrancy on the nose leading into more complexity on the palate. Jimador is more subdued, nothing wrong with it, just if you’re comparing.


The Jimador still makes a good sipper and can be enjoyed in the various fun tequila ways. Because it’s good value I don’t mind sloshing it about a bit, so that’s a definite bonus. So if £20 is your budget, I’d base your purchase on this; if you want a tequila purely for sipping or impressing guests, get the Cuervo, but if you want that but you also want to fritter it away in a series of meaningless trysts, you can’t go wrong with the Jimador.