Review: Ancho Reyes Barrica Chile Liqueur

Review: Ancho Reyes Barrica Chile Liqueur

Ancho Reyes Barrica

Ancho Reyes’ chile liqueur has quietly built a following among mixologists for its original (ancho chile) and verde varieties, especially as a go-to for spicy margaritas and other classic cocktails. Recently, the Campari-owned brand released its first new product since 2017: Ancho Reyes Barrica.

Ancho Reyes Barrica is a barrel-aged version of the red chile liqueur, rested for two years in ex-bourbon casks. (During a trip to their manufacturing facility in September 2023, we confirmed the majority of casks formerly held either Jack Daniel’s Tennessee Whiskey or Buffalo Trace bourbon.)

The Puebla, Mexico-based brand espouses Barrica as both a neat or on-the-rocks pour, as well as a liqueur worthy of inclusion in cocktails that warrant some additional spice.

Let’s see how this barrel aged chile liqueur holds up as a neat pour.

On the nose, spicy ancho chiles (no surprise) start things off, in addition to cayenne and flaked red chiles, the kind you’d find in a pizza parlor. Though this isn’t made with green poblanos like the brand’s verde liqueur, there’s still something fresh, green, and vegetal here: mowed Bermuda grass or young branches stripped of their bark. Beneath those fresh elements is a deep and dark caramel and vanilla extract, notes that add a layer of richness beyond the unaged red chile liqueur.

On the tongue, an initial pop of sugar cane sweetness gives way to heavy cinnamon and clove spice, along with dried citrus peel and light red chile. Sweet at first and with a gentle heat that builds over time and with subsequent sips, the spice is mildly subdued compared to the unaged Ancho Reyes expressions.

The finish is notably long with a very gentle hug of chile heat all the way down. It also returns to those fresh and vegetal notes, a welcome reprieve from the sweetness on the palate.

If anything, this expression could do with just slightly more heat throughout the entire sip, which might improve the experiences of both sipping neat and in a cocktail. However, depending on the cocktail, a half ounce or more should be plenty to impart some gradual heat in addition to a mature sweetness. This isn’t a liqueur meant to compete with hot sauce on impact, but rather an interesting (and successful) experiment in what barrel aging can do for such a liqueur: add refinement and depth without sacrificing core flavor.

80 proof.

A- / $65

Ancho Reyes Barrica Chile Liqueur




David Tao is a writer for Drinkhacker.

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