Last year we took a look at the Codigo 1530 Artesanal Mezcal, which was an interesting example of a mezcal that seemed to work more like a scotch whisky. (Spoiler alert for that review: it’s definitely worth a look at least once.) But they don’t have more than mezcal in their lineup — and with summer (and margaritas) just around the corner, it’s the perfect time to check out their slightly higher end tequilas, starting with the blanco.
According to the company story, a no-label clandestine tequila has been produced in Mexico for a number of years, primarily intended for distillers and their farm hands. Sometime around 2008 – 2009, country music star George Strait started visiting the area and came across a bottle of this prized tequila and instantly fell in love. Together with his business partners Federico “Fede” Vaughan and Ron Snyder, they formed the Codigo 1530 company in 2017 to start producing and bottling this specific strain of spirits.
The name and brand logo come from the 1530 establishment of the city of Amatitán, when Jalisco was given its coat of arms bearing the Jerusalem Cross from Spain.
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This is reportedly the same recipe that George Strait fell in love with flowing out of that no-name liquor bottle all those years ago.
As with most tequilas, this spirit starts from a crop of 100% lowlands agave plants. The plants are grown and matured for about seven years before they are harvested, their leaves shaved off, and the cores are shipped to the distillery for processing.
Once at the distillery, the agave cores are cooked in modern ovens to convert the starchy fibers into sugary liquid. After a period of time, those cores are removed from the oven and shredded with automated machinery to release the sugary liquid within. That liquid is then combined with local spring water and fermented before being distilled in a copper still to produce the raw spirit.
For this blanco version of their tequila, there is no extra processing — just proofing down with more local spring water before being bottled and shipped for sale.
The shape of this bottle is fairly common, but everything else about it is pretty unique. Rather than a plain clear glass, there are air bubbles suspended inside the walls of the glass. It evokes an older age when glass production wasn’t as automated as it is today, and also serves to give the bottle a nice texture.
Also imprinted in the wall of the bottle is the Jerusalem cross, the company logo.
I appreciate that they didn’t go too wild with the labeling. There’s a very small label on the front and the back of the bottle that bears the information about the brand and the legally required items, but those labels are small and out of the way. It lets the contents of the bottle be the star of the show (with a little extra pizazz thanks to the bubbly walls of the bottle).
As you’d expect with a blanco tequila, the liquid is water white and perfectly clear. Taking a sniff, I can see what George Strait was on about — this is spot-on for a good tequila. There’s an herbal agave that’s like a sweeter version of fresh cut grass, some lemon zest, and a bit of black pepper all combining to make something aromatically enticing.
Taking a sip, I’m not getting quite the level of herbaceousness that was promised in the aroma. This is much more of a lemon/ citrus-forward tequila, with some black pepper and agave sweetness, but that herbal component doesn’t really kick in until the finish. That choice of having the lemon zest show up first gives the tequila a sharpness that borders on bitterness, but it does soften as the flavor develops.
I think the little bit of added ice has fixed that sharpness that I saw before and turned this into a really good blanco tequila.
At this point, the added ice is delaying that lemon zest citrus note and allowing it to combine more readily with the other components of the flavor profile. It’s no longer the tip of the spear but rather part of the chorus. As a result, it isn’t quite as loud or potentially bitter, and only really serves to elevate the black pepper and herbal agave components as they develop.
Speaking of which: I’m getting way more herbal agave at this point than I saw before. It’s a clear and distinct flavor that isn’t covered up and instead adds something delicious to the overall profile.
The things I look for in a good margarita are: 1) for the herbaceousness of the agave flavors to shine through and 2) for the kick of that black pepper note to be present as part of the texture of the flavor. In this case, I think both of those conditions are met, and the result is a great tasting margarita that I’d be happy sipping any day of the week.
The only negative note I have is that this doesn’t seem to go any further. There’s nothing else truly unique about the margarita, which can leave this at something of a disadvantage. It’s a great example of a classic margarita, but it’s doesn’t stand out in any special way.
This is a good, clean, traditional take on a blanco tequila that hits all the marks you’d hope to see. It’s delicious in a margarita and works fairly well even all on its own. To be honest, I’d like to have seen that citrus component mixed in with the other flavors a little bit better, but I’m happy enough with it as-is.
Compared to other stuff on the market, whether this is the right bottle for you depends on what you are looking for. This is in the same price range as Casamigos (which seems a bit more in line with typical American preferences with the added vanilla flavors). This just a clean, traditional take on the flavor — so if that’s what you’re going for, then this is a solid choice. But if I’m honest, personally, I prefer the Casamigos.
|Codigo 1530 Blanco Tequila|
Produced By: Codigo 1530Production Location: Mexico
Proof: 40% ABV
Price: $50 / 750 ml
Product Website: Product Website
Overall Rating: 3/5
A clean, delicious take on a traditional blanco tequila that will not let you down.