In my experience, spirits from Luxco are a bit hit-or-miss. Sometimes they work out great, other times they make me regret my life decisions. Generally, though, I’ve found that they work best in one specific niche: budget value brands that out-perform their price tag. Which gives me some hope for this bottle of Exotico tequila, given its price tag… now lets find out if it out-performs said price tag.
Luxco is a distilled products manufacturer and distributor that was founded in 1958 by David Sherman Sr. and Paul A. Lux. The company is responsible for a number of the brands you might be familiar with on liquor shelves such as Ezra Brooks, Everclear, and Rebel Yell.
One of the first products that Luxco brought to market was Juarez Tequila in 1960 from the Destiladora González Lux (DGL) in Jalisco, Mexico. Exotico is a more recent addition to the tequila line, introduced sometime around 2016. A completely new manufacturing facility was constructed in 2017 to handle some of the company’s more popular brands and Exotico’s production was shifted to this new facility when it came online.
In 2021, the company was purchased by MGP, an Indiana based distilled spirits production facility where Luxco actually sourced some of its brands previously.
- Learn More: What Is Tequila?
Exotico is made at a modern tequila distillery, which typically translates to modern techniques and processes.
One thing that isn’t modernized, though, are the raw materials. Like all other tequila, Exotico starts with a crop of blue agave plants. For Exotico, they use only 100% blue agave and no added fillers.
The agave plants are cooked in a high pressure steam cooker until the fibrous materials within the plants soften and some of the compounds inside start to turn into sugar. These plants are then shredded in a mechanical shredder to release the sugary juice, which is fermented using a proprietary strain of yeast. This fermentation converts the sugars in the liquid into alcohol.
After this slightly alcoholic liquid is produced, it is distilled twice in traditional pot stills to raise the alcohol content and purify the liquor.
For this blanco version of this tequila, the end result is proofed down and immediately bottled.
There certainly isn’t a lot of flair going on here.
The bottle is chunky and brick-like. This one I have is the 1.75 liter version, but the smaller versions come in a similarly shaped container. There are some indentations on the sides of the bottle that make gripping it easier, but otherwise it’s just a glass brick topped off with a metal screw-on cap.
And then there’s the label. It isn’t terrible, but at the same time it isn’t very exciting. It’s a white square with a sugar skull on it and the bare minimum brand information. Almost like someone created it in Microsoft PowerPoint, pulled in a random Mexican-inspired piece of clip art, and called it a day.
Not all that “exotic”, if you ask me.
This smells fantastic. There are some great herbal notes coming off the glass — specifically, that agave aroma that you’d usually expect combined with some nice lemon citrus. It’s nicely saturated as well, not something you need to strain to identify.
Taking a sip, those herbal notes are right up front and really solidly punched in. I don’t get a lot of the lighter aspects that usually make me think of fresh cut grass; instead, this is more of what I imagine the root of the agave plant tastes like. Almost like ginger but without all the bitterness and bite. Added in there as the flavor develops is a bit of lemon juice, and finally a bit of good black pepper spice that lingers into the aftertaste.
It’s nice and well balanced on its own, which is no small feat for cheap tequila.
Ice usually is bad news for spirits, especially lighter spirits like tequila. Typically, you see the lighter aspects disappear from the flavor profile, leaving raw spirits behind. But in this case, I think it actually might have been beneficial.
In this case, the darker notes in the agave have lightened up a little bit and I can actually see some of those herbal fresh cut grass kind of tones coming through. It’s much more like a traditional tequila, complete with the lemon citrus and black pepper spice remaining in the mix.
None of the flavors really disappear — they just get better, if that’s possible.
A solid margarita, from a budget bottle of tequila? Truly, we’re seeing a miracle here.
What I love about this is that I’m getting the herbal notes from the tequila coming through all the triple sec and the lime juice, but they still aren’t overpowering. It’s just enough to compliment the mixer flavors, and there’s even a touch of black pepper spice at the end to add some complexity.
A damn well balanced cocktail.
I think there’s a bit of expectation setting that needs to go on here: you’re buying a dirt cheap bottle of tequila, and the results you’re going to see aren’t going to knock your socks off compared to something much more expensive.
But compared to its peers in this price range, this is a fine example of delicious tequila.
It get the job done in every category, providing the flavors we’re looking for at a great level of saturation. The agave flavors are present and delicious, there’s the citrus aspect we like to see, and there’s even a bit of the pepper spice thrown in. And, no matter how you take it, straight or in a margarita, those flavors are forceful enough to be heard without being overpowering.
Proof: 40% ABV
Price: $15.99 / 750 ml
Product Website: Product Website
Overall Rating: 5/5
Don’t judge a bottle by its label. (Or by its price point.)