My friends often send me pictures of bottles of liquor that they find at various bars, urging me to give it a shot. Sometimes those gambles work out and we find something absolutely delicious — other times, it turns out they may have already imbibed too many and impeded their judgment. Casa Noble was received in much this manner as a recommendation from a friend, and I was intrigued enough to give it a shot — and it thankfully turned out to be a solid call in this case.
Jose “Pepe” Hermosillo was born in Guadalajara, Mexico. His father was a salesman in the construction and hospitality businesses and introduced his son to the business world at an early age. His father sadly passed away when Jose was 19, which sparked in him the desire to create something to honor his father and their Mexican heritage.
Jose would go on to earn a degree in economics from the University of Dallas, and in 1997 he founded the Casa Noble tequila brand. The original concept for the brand was to take something as quintessential as Mexican tequila and create an upscale, quality brand that could counteract the negative perception of the spirit that was common in the late 1990s. He partnered with Carlos Hernandez, who owned an estate in Mexico, and together they started growing, harvesting, and distilling their own spirits.
Carlos Santana visited the distillery in 2011 and invested in the company, and in 2014 the company was acquired by Constellation Brands, a brand which also owns High West and Nelson’s Green Brier Tennessee Whiskey.
- Learn More: What Is Tequila?
For their tequila, Casa Noble uses 100% blue agave plants that are grown and harvested on their own private farm. They refer to this as “estate grown”, borrowing a phrase from the Scottish tradition. Agave plants grow for around seven years before they are harvested by hand, have their leaves shaved, and are shipped off to the distillery.
While Casa Noble grows their agave on this estate, they actually use the separate Tequilera Hacienda La Cofradia distillation facility for their spirits. They do disclose that on the label, and I give them some extra points for this level of transparency. According to sources, Casa Noble represents 90% of the tequila made at the facility and is one of the factors that allows them to maintain the high standards they set.
Once at the distillery, the agave cores are placed into brick ovens where they are roasted for between 36 to 40 hours to convert the starchy fibers into sugar and allow the extraction of the sugary liquid within. After roasting, the agave plants are shredded mechanically to release the liquid and then fermented using local yeast strains to create a mildly alcoholic liquid.
One difference Casa Noble makes in their distillation process is that, rather than stopping at two distillations as you would with a typical tequila, they distill the spirits three times in stainless steel pot stills.
For this blanco version, the raw tequila is proofed down to a reasonable 40% ABV and bottled for shipment.
I think this bottles does a good job of balancing the need for branding and marketing while still having a clean look that showcases the spirit.
Overall, the bottle is roughly rectangular shaped — the body has a square cross section, with a thick glass base that makes it really light up with an under-lit shelf. The straight walls of the bottle are slipped at the edges to make a faceted jewel-like shape that angles inwards towards the shoulder and sports a short neck. The bottle is capped off in a metal and cork stopper.
What branding they did put on the bottle is small, impactful, and elegant. The label is a small square of paper at the bottom of the bottle with the brand information and the signature of the founder, done as if it was an aged piece of parchment. The logo is actually made of metal and glued onto the front of the bottle, which looks great.
This is definitely a bottle I wouldn’t mind displaying on my liquor shelf.
This smells exactly like you’d expect a good tequila to smell. I’m getting a good whiff of herbal, grassy agave combined with some lemon peel citrus, and in the background seems to be a touch of black pepper spice. But there’s something else in here as well — something a bit like earthiness that you don’t often find in tequila, and it adds a surprising balancing element to the aroma.
I almost thought I had grabbed the wrong bottle when I took a sip, because there’s an immediate smoky flavor that was nowhere to be found in the aroma. It unfolds and lays the groundwork for the rest of the profile, but isn’t overwhelming or unpleasant — instead, it provides a bit of complexity to what comes next.
The flavors unfold pleasantly on top of that smoky base: first as lemon and lime citrus, combined with some sweet and herbal agave. Then black pepper spice kicks in adding depth and character to the spirit, but without overpowering the profile. There’s also a bit of clove in the mix, which makes it just that more deliciously balanced. On the finish, I’m getting that smoky character combined with some of the clove and a touch of black pepper spice.
My biggest concern with a tequila is what happens when you add the ice. Lighter and less well-saturated flavors tend to drop away when you add ice, which makes for a terrible cocktail experience. Thankfully, in this case, the flavors seem to be saturated enough to survive, and I think the darker and richer notes in the spirit help keep things balanced.
Most of what I saw when taken neat is still here, though, just presented much more quickly. All of the flavors seem to come at once instead of developing slowly, and the citrus is much more prominent compared to before. It stands out, with the clove and the smoky characteristics trying to bring it back into balance and only barely succeeding.
That might seem like a bad thing — and if you’re drinking this on the rocks, that might be the case. But it gives this spirit a distinct character to contribute in a cocktail, which is very useful.
Usually, a margarita is a bright, shiny, unbalanced and sour cocktail. All of this is mostly on purpose — the citrus and herbal components make for something that is absolutely perfect during the summer months. What we have here, though, seems to be a better balanced take on the cocktail, and I’m really digging it.
The smoky characteristics that we’ve been seeing make an appearance, but you won’t notice them unless you really look. It adds some depth and balance to the other flavors without announcing itself (like you might see with a particularly smoky mezcal). Instead, it lends a subtle support here, and the result is absolutely delicious.
You still get the herbal agave in the spirit coming through, and the citrus flavors we’ve been seeing work well with the Cointreau and lime juice. I think it still might be a touch bitter for some, but I found the overall result a refreshing change from the usual overly-sweet margaritas we tend to see.
This bottle is a rare combination of a tequila that is actually delicious and functional, and also contained in a bottle that would be eye-catching on any bar. All of the flavors I want to see are here, along with an added bonus in the form of a smoky flavor note that you don’t normally see in a blanco tequila.
If anything, I feel like the citrus might be a little too loud at times. Especially in the margarita and on the rocks — if you aren’t careful, this tequila can turn into a very sour drink that might not be quite as appealing. But otherwise, this is a solid choice for the price point.
|Casa Noble Blanco Tequila|
Produced By: Casa NobleProduction Location: Jalisco, Mexico
Owned By: Constellation Brands
Proof: 40% ABV
Price: $34.99 / 750 ml
Product Website: Product Website
Overall Rating: 4/5
A surprisingly smoky tequila that makes for some delicious margaritas.