Never mind the goofy name and goofier bottles. This is good, 100% agave, Highlands tequila that has partnered with the famous Baja hotel for its name and branding.
These are unusual bottles, to say the least. Mind the intriguing-looking yet wholly dysfunctional stoppers. The only thing harder than getting them out of the bottle (that tapered top makes gripping them impossible) is getting them back in.
All three expressions are reviewed below. All expressions are 80 proof.
Hotel California Tequila Blanco – Big and bold on the nose, lots of fresh agave, black pepper, and lemongrass. On the body, it’s quite a bit lighter. Modest agave and citrus notes mingle with delicate sweetness, the overall impression being one not of an agave bomb but a silky mini-margarita. Curious touch of chocolate on the finish, unusual for a blanco. Nothing at all wrong here, but the body could benefit from a bit more depth. A- / $47
Hotel California Tequila Reposado – Aged 6 months in oak, but still the palest shade of gold. Very well rounded. Agave is strong on the nose, but barely there on the body. Here, smooth caramel and light baking spices take hold. The flavor is long and lasting, with a moderate slug of agave on the finish. Secondary notes include hints of lemon again, and some chewy wood bark character at the end. Nice package overall, though it comes off with more of an anejo character than a resposado. A / $50
Hotel California Tequila Anejo – Intriguing iridescent glass bottle. Blended from two old lots (2 to 3 years old) to an average of 28 months of age in oak, making it far older than most anejos on the market. Modest gold in color, the nose is restrained but hints at menthol and deep wood oils. On the body, that caramel runs more toward a flan character, with peppery agave lacing throughout. Big finish, with a surprising bit of burn on the end, unusual compared to the other expressions in this lineup and for extra-old anejos. Worth a look. A- / $53