Review: Lunazul Anejo Tequila
Lunazul: “When the night calls.” Hmmm.
From rather cheesy beginnings come this workmanlike product, designed to bring 100% agave, anejo-class tequila (aged 18 months in oak) to the masses, with a $22 price tag.
That kind of pricing is completely unheard of in the work of 100% agave anejo tequilas, and Lunazul is proof that maybe it isn’t wholly doable. I’m not saying producer Heaven Hill — best known as a bourbon outfit — is cutting corners, but this tequila just doesn’t measure up to its pricier competition.
It’s all about the body. While I expect anejo to be a smooth, vanilla-infused, whiskey-like experience, Lunazul is muddy. The nose evokes a younger tequila, with green agave notes overwhelming the spirit. The body is similar, with a hard, vegetal edge and a pungent agave body. You’ll find tantalizingly sweet vanilla notes only hinted at, which is frustrating. The finish is overly herbal and hard. It doesn’t have that rotgut burn, mind you, but it has a rocky edge that makes it unthrilling.
I love the idea of an affordable 100% agave tequila — that’s what Cuervo Tradicional was made for — but Lunazul just doesn’t quite cut it.
C+ / $22 / lunazultequila.com
I’ve only ever seen the blanco, and it’s quite serviceable.
I think the espolon might indicate that sort of price is occasional very doable. Very occasionally, though.
Not long ago Mr. Null asserted that the economics of agave support a $30+ price point for 100% agave spirits. With the emergence of Espolon, Lunazul and several other $20 brands, I’m not convinced. I suspect that tequila brands/distributors charge as much as the market will bear– and for now, US consumers are willing to pay a premium for tequila.
I would not say I asserted it, but rather that I explained why tequila vendors claim it is so. But considering 8 years of growing time, harvest, distillation, bottling, shipment from Mexico, wholesaler markup, and retailer markup, $30 doesn’t seem out of line. And most $20 tequilas I’ve reviewed to date haven’t measured up. MOST, not all…
Thanks for the additional context Chris. Here was the original comment exchange:
In any case, I look forward to higher quality/lower cost offerings since tequila is one of my favorite spirits.
With regard to the long harvest period of blue agave– there are many agricultural goods which require years to mature before they can be brought to market.
Jalisco is a big state in Mexico where 300+ million blue agave plants are harvested each year. The plants are grown using modern monoculture farming methods supplemented with manual labor.
While the length to harvest is almost certainly a barrier to entry for new agave cultivators, I doubt it is significant in today’s tequila prices.
All I’m saying is that a $30 tequila makes sense to me and doesn’t feel like price gouging. A $500 bottle of wine is another issue….
Fair enough. Cheers.
Consider this…Lunazul is made by Tierra De Agave. They are the largest owners of agave in the world with over 4 thousand acres and 4 million plants. When you own all the plants, are estate bottled and distilled, you can produce a high quality product for a affordable cost.
I quoted your review of this one today on my blog on it. I definitely agree that it’s not on the same playing field as pricier aged tequilas, but I think it stands up on its own merits, affordability being one of those.
It has taken me many years to foray into the world of Tequila (they say you never get over the first booze you get horribly sick on). Eventually (30 years later) I got past the smell of it to be able to enjoy a margarita now and then. Now as a mature and seasoned drinker of a huge variety of spirits, I was in the store to buy some tequila for my (85 year old) parents as they were in the mood for margaritas.
I come from the Metro Detroit area where all liquor is price controlled, but in St. Louis it seems like anything goes; it’s a booze drinker’s version of Eden. As I was reaching for the bottle of Cuervo Gold for $15 I spied the Cuervo Tradicional for $1 more so I thought I would splurge. I went home and sampled a shot and got my first taste of 100% agave vs. the mixto I had consumed in the past.
Ok, my brother did have a bottle of ultra-premium stuff that he bought in Mexico (and even then it cost about $60/bottle) and it was sublime, but I so thoroughly enjoyed the Cuervo that I started researching budget priced 100% agave reposado tequilas on the ‘net and based on the reviews settled on Lunazul and El Jimador as my next two purchases (especially since the Cuervo only lasted about three days). Tonight I had a bottle of each in the cart but put the El Jimador back to purchase a 1.75l of Lunazil for $25 (hey, it had a $15 rebate coupon hanging on it!). Upon arriving home I immediately poured a shot.
I don’t know where all of the vanilla and caramel I had read about in the reviews was hiding; all I tasted was black pepper and the finish was HOT. The aftertaste was also peppery. I decided to try it on the rocks, and the soapy taste which had been lurking shyly in the background became very pronounced. Needless to say I am somewhat disappointed. I am sure that it will make a fine basis for mixed drinks, but as a sipper it doesn’t begin to hold a candle to the Cuervo.
All said, I am very intrigued and interested to investigate the world of tequila. I started brewing my own beer in 1979 and stocking my wine cellar shortly thereafter, and I learned long ago that generally quality is very price dependent. After my experience with Cuervo I still believe that there are enjoyable reposado tequilas in the $20+/- range. I just don’t think that (for me) the Lunazul is one of them.
I wish I had found this review before I spent the money, because while it is about the Anejo it certainly applies to the reposado as well.
the review by broker57 is right on. I would add a couple yhings. 1- I just finished mg second btl of repodado , hoping to like it more, compared it with 4 other repodasos i currently have here, of was definately in last place , but costs 15.00$ all the time in NH. for a 100% Agave , it is worth it, great mixer, no headache, but flavor for sipping ? very peppery and burny alcohol finish. But I will drink it. Actually the Sauza 100% Agave commemerative reposafo at 17.00 beats it by quite a bit in smoothness, pay the 2$ more !!!
i apologise for not reviewing he Anejo, I can ‘t find it in NH.
I just tasted it with Herradura Anejo and you do it a disservice
I read the description that was posted here and then tasted my Lunazul Anejo for the first time. My first impression was that it was smooth and pleasant tasting.
I found it to have a smoky taste reminiscent of scotch, it had the raw taste of cheap tequila, not bad for a shot, but not sipping quality. Good for the price
I agree with previous posts that the Lunaazul Anejo doesn’t make it as a sipper. I was dissappointed after i bought it and wished I had stayed with Traditional, which I always enjoyed. Spending more does not guarantee a better experience