It’s been a decade since we’ve visited with Chinaco, a truly unique tequila in a world where every tequila claims to be unique. Produced not in Jalisco but in Tamaulipas, to the east, it hails from a much different region with a different type of soil and climate. The production methods are equally unique, eschewing bourbon barrels for Scotch casks and (very) long aging periods. We’ve got some details below in this refresher review. (Note that the bottle design has changed a couple of times since then.)
For our older thoughts, you can get those here.
All expressions are 80 proof. NOM 1127.
Chinaco Blanco Tequila (2023) – Much milder compared to my recollection of this expression, its vegetal notes are now somewhat tempered, replaced by an intriguing touch of milk chocolate and a hint of vanilla. Some green, slightly weedy elements become more pungent as the palate develops, moving into notes of lemongrass later in the game, more lemon peel on the finish. The body is rather thin on the whole, which is the biggest surprise here. Better than it was 10 years ago, but still best (by far) as a mixer. B / $43
Chinaco Reposado Tequila (2023) – Still aged for 11 months in white oak barrels from France and England, some former Scotch casks. The combination of pepper and sweetness is on point here, and the XL aging regimen has clearly done the tequila some good. Touches of baking spice, gentle barrel char notes, pepper, and green agave all make appearances on what is all-told a fairly well-balanced experience. A- / $55
Chinaco Anejo Tequila (2023) – No changes: Aged for 30 months in the same barrels as the reposado, plus some bourbon barrels. That’s a huge amount of time in barrel for an anejo tequila, and it really shows on the finished product. Butterscotch notes are pungent on the nose, and rather at odds with grittier aromas of hops and asphalt. Much the same impacts the palate, where pepper and beef jerky temper the sweetness, in fitful fashion. Things become rather saccharine on the finish, which comes across as almost candylike in its sugary sweetness. B / $65