The latest release from Codigo 1530 — owned in part by George Strait and nothing if not an innovator — is a literal return to roots: A blanco made with agave grown on Codigo’s own land. Less than 1% of all tequila produced is estate grown, making this a real rarity — though the decision to pull the pinas from the agave at a relatively young 6 years of age is one that feels a bit puzzling. Further, this release is marketed as “Still Strength” on the label, and though 90 proof is definitely above the more typical 80, it’s definitely far lower than what comes off the still (typically 100 to 120 proof).
So, lots of questions, but perhaps the answers are to be found in the bottle. Let’s find out.
Let’s kick it off with the nose. Here’s a hugely pungent and peppery tequila, overwhelming with raw agave and a note of toasted bread. The aroma of overripe fruit found in the standard blanco is thankfully absent here, letting herbal and pepper notes do all of the heavy lifting. Surprises await the drinker on the palate, where a more balanced composition appears. It’s still heavy on the earthy agave and bright black pepper, but it’s balanced by notes of torched lemon, some tangerine, and a distinct vanilla note that endures well into the finish. Things eventually retreat back to greenery and earth for the fade-out, but there is a fleeting brightness and sweetness in the middle here that one just can’t ignore.
Much more interesting than Codigo’s rack blanco, for sure.
90 proof. NOM 1616.
B+ / $79 / codigo1530.com