Review: Celaya Tequila, Complete Lineup

Review: Celaya Tequila, Complete Lineup

Celaya Tequila is the brainchild of brothers and former NFL Pro Bowlers Matt and Ryan Kalil who tell of their great great grandfather Jose Celaya who, the story goes, was famous in the 1800s for the tequila he distilled in Sonora, Mexico. Since the old recipe no longer exists and the Kalil siblings are not distillers, Matt and Ryan partnered with Destiladora del Valle de Tequila, ultimately releasing a tequila that is made with both highland and lowland agave. We have all three standard expressions today, so let’s give them a try.

All are 80 proof. NOM 1438.

Celaya Blanco Tequila – The nose on this unaged tequila shows a nice agave herbaceous character as well as a bit of lime citrus and gentle sweetness. Unfortunately, the palate doesn’t hold up. The sweetness hits harder and the agave notes become more muddled. Lime is still there, but here it tastes like artificial lime concentrate, and there is a bit of a medicinal note that lasts into the finish. The flavors also don’t come together effectively. This is fine for mixing, but at this price point, I expected more. B- / $49

Celaya Reposado Tequila – Rested for three months in ex-bourbon casks, the Reposado shows a gentle nose of vanilla, cocoa, and light agave. Taking a sip, I found this expression much more approachable than the Blanco. Soft vanilla and agave notes come forward first and integrate nicely, and the tequila has an enjoyable, creamy mouthfeel. The vanilla holds on and is joined by a touch of cocoa and mint in the medium length finish. Altogether, this is a gentle tequila, good enough to sip neat, and worth a try. B+ / $55

Celaya Añejo Tequila – After spending a year in ex-bourbon barrels, the Añejo presents strong notes of dark chocolate and dusty cocoa along with a lighter note of agave on the nose and palate. This is a great after dinner tequila to drink with (or as) dessert, but happily, it isn’t too sweet. There’s balance here: The influence of the barrel provides some wood tannins on the palate, which add to the complexity and improves the mouthfeel. I would have liked the agave to play a bigger role, but some people will enjoy this chocolaty tequila exactly as it is. A- / $89

Celaya Blanco Tequila




Robert Lublin teaches whisk(e)y and wine appreciation classes for Arlington Community Education, near Boston, MA. He is also a Professor at the University of Massachusetts Boston and has published books and articles on Shakespeare as well as theatre and film history.

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