Review: El Padrino Anejo Tequila

Often, a tequila brand will put out three versions of agave-based spirit: a blanco, a reposado, and an anejo. (The holy trinity, if you will.) But really, the two ends of the spectrum (blanco and anejo) are what define the tequila. We’ve recently tried the blanco version of El Padrino, so today we’re going to check out the other end of the spectrum with their anejo version.



El Padrino is a brand of tequila created by Casa Maestri.

Michael & Celia V. Maestri are the second generation of their families to go into the distilling business. Michael comes from the family that brought us the Frank-Lin Distilled Products Co., and we’ve reviewed one or two of their products before. Celia’s family founded the Veracruz Liquor Distillery in Veracruz, Mexico that opened in the 1950’s. Together, the couple moved to Jalisco, Mexico and used their lifetime of experience in the spirits industry to found the Destiladora del Valle de Tequila Distillery (or more simply, the Casa Maestri).

Casa Maestri is a white label distillery, meaning that they primarily produce spirits on contract for other clients who then bottle and label them as their own. Recently, though, they have been building their own brands as well, such as Identity Tequila. Thanks to the large number of brands that they supply (over 128), in addition to the quality of their spirits, the distillery claims the current title of the most awarded distillery in Mexico.

This brand is named in honor of Pedro Barragán, a well known ranch owner in the small community of Santa Inez. There is no described connection between that historical figure and this spirit.


The folks at Casa Maestri are thankfully very specific about the process used to produce their spirits, which seems to be consistently used for this product as well.

All of the tequila in this bottle starts out as a blue agave plant, which grows for between six to twelve years before being harvested by hand. The leaves of the agave are shaved, leaving behind only the hard fibrous core.

Those agave cores are converted into a sugary liquid by two different methods at this distillery. Roughly half of the agaves are placed into a traditional brick oven and roasted for 36 to 54 hours, softening the fibers and converting the carbohydrates in those agave fibers into sugar. The other half are placed into massive autoclaves that apply heat, pressure, and acid to do the same job — only more efficiently and without the associated flavor improvements. Both of those agave cores are then fed into a mechanical shredding machine to extract the liquid inside.

That sugary liquid is then fermented with yeast for between 48 to 60 hours to create the alcoholic liquid, which is longer than usual and allows for some more interesting flavors to develop. The fermentation also takes place in oak casks, which allows some additional flavors to be imparted. The fermented liquid is then distilled twice in pot stills, raising the alcohol content to about 55%. This process typically preserves more of the flavor and character of the spirit than you would get by using column stills (which are faster and more efficient, but can create a less characterful spirit than the pot stills).

For this anejo version, the raw spirit is then aged for a full three years prior to blending and bottling in the package we see here today.


As I said in the blanco review: this bottle is trying to be Patron, but in a non copyright infringing way.

Overall, the bottle is designed like a rough hewn glass vessel with a square shaped cross section, just like Patron. The difference is that where Patron bottles have gently rounded shoulders, this bottle has a more boxy appearance and more defined square shape to the body. The bottle sports a medium length neck that is capped off with a rounded wood and cork stopper.

For the label, there really isn’t anything really unique going on here. The format is pretty normal, with the brand information in a large black font and some artistic flourishes above and below. The one thing that actually does tie in with the brand identity is the silhouette of a man (ostensibly the namesake of the tequila).



There’s a good bit of color in the glass, but less than I’d usually expect for an anejo tequila — especially one that claims to be aged three years. It’s closer to what you see in a common scotch whisky, an amber or gold toned liquid.

You might not see much age from the color, but the aroma is thick and heavy with aging notes. There are some significant vanilla and caramel components, some brown sugar, and some herbal agave as well. And even better — it does a good job blending those components together to create something that smells appealing.

When we tried the blanco version, the black pepper spice was a large component of the flavor profile. I had hoped that it might be toned down a bit with the help of the barrel aging components… but instead it’s still a major player, and unfortunately so. There’s some of the caramel and vanilla mixed in, but that black pepper spice creates a bitter and unpleasant dynamic. It is an unfortunate note in the otherwise smooth and rich profile of the spirit.

On Ice

If there’s one thing that helps a slightly bitter drink, it’s a couple cubes of ice. The added cold and dilution usually does the trick, and thankfully that’s the case here as well.

I appreciate that the added ice tones down the black pepper without killing the rest of the flavors. I’m still getting plenty of vanilla and caramel (and even a bit of herbal agave) — but while the black pepper is still present, it isn’t nearly as powerful as we saw before. It’s much more of a coherent flavor profile at this point, especially compared to the jumble of flavors it was when taken neat.

Cocktail (Margarita)

Despite my concerns about how this tasted neat, this does make a legitimately good margarita.

It has all the components you look for in a good anejo based margarita: the vanilla richness, the herbal agave, and even the spicy kick of the black pepper flavor. Everything is coming through clearly and mixing nicely with the lime juice and the Countreau, resulting in a combination that is delicious and complex.

If there’s one note I’d give, it it’s that there might be just a hint of sourness or bitterness around the edges. A margarita is obviously supposed to be a mildly sour drink, but this feels like it’s a bit off balance even by that standard. I might suggest adding an extra splash of something sweet in there just to make it truly great.


Overall Rating

Unlike like El Padrino’s blanco version, this anejo seems like it’s one of those tequilas that was born to be mixed into a cocktail. Taken neat or on the rocks, it isn’t exactly the best experience I’ve ever had (I’d wholeheartedly recommend a glass of Casamigos in this price point instead) — but when mixed into a cocktail, the flavors that stuck out like a sore thumb in the neat and ice preparations are what give it the ability to really take a cocktail to the next level. It has some interesting tricks in its bag, although you might need a touch of sugar to make it really perfect.

El Padrino Anejo Tequila
Produced By: El Padrino
Owned By: Casa Maestri
Production Location: Jalisco, Mexico
Classification: Tequila
Aging: Anejo
Proof: 40% ABV
Price: $38.99 / 750 ml
Product Website: Product Website
Overall Rating:
All reviews are evaluated within the context of their specific spirit classification as specified above. Click here to check out similar spirits we have reviewed.

Overall Rating: 2/5
A pretty good option in a cocktail, but I would advise against trying it all by itself.


One comment

  1. I like this Tequila but will never buy it again because the cork is near IMPOSSIBLE to remove. It was so frustrating that I left it out and put a wine cork that fit.

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