Let’s give tequila newcomer Cambio some credit for mixing things up in the tequila world. While these are both 100% Highlands blue agave, additive free tequilas, they are unusual in that they are fermented at low temperatures in tanks lined with American white oak and Mexican pine before distillation. Bottling, at 46% abv, is considerably higher than the standard 40%, too.
Cambio does not yet have an anejo expression on the market. Today we look at the two flagships — a blanco and a reposado.
Both are 92 proof. NOM 1605.
Cambio Tequila Blanco – While this is formally a blanco, it’s aged in used French oak wine barrels, which give it the slightest hint of yellow color and, as we’ll see, plenty of atypical flavor, too. Sharp and peppery on the nose, this tequila wears its agave heart on its sleeve, pouring on notes of green pepper and spring onion, touched with rosemary and some thyme. It’s as bold and green as any blanco I can recall tasting, its peppery qualities overwhelming everything else. On the palate, some respite from this herbal assault is in order, and Cambio supplies it, layering in a squeeze of lemon, some vanilla cream, and a bit of butterscotch. That French oak may be technically “neutral,” but it imbues the tequila with plenty of flavor you just don’t see in a blanco, softening up the experience and taking it one step toward the world of reposado. Purists may bristle at the idea of oak of any kind being used in a blanco, but even the most die-hard fan of silver tequila should at least give this a taste before writing it off, as it deftly straddles the worlds of blanco and reposado in a manner that merits serious attention. A- / $50 [BUY IT NOW FROM CASKERS]
Cambio Tequila Reposado – We’re not easing up on complexity. This reposado is aged for one month in white Burgundy and Bordeaux wine barrels, then spends five more months in French oak Chardonnay casks (presumably from California wine). In many ways this is the inverse of the blanco, the nose strong with agave, here quite evergreen and juniper-adjacent, but tempered by a pinch of brown sugar and some sesame oil. The palate again throws a wrench into the proceedings, throwing out a big red pepper character and a heavily savory quality I’d liken to A-1 steak sauce. The more I sip on it, the more I’m doubling down on that. Smoky and hugely evergreen on the finish, those juniper notes become overpowering on this finish — almost evoking an aged gin. B / $59 [BUY IT NOW FROM CASKERS]