Bargain hunting? Searching for a hidden gem? This column will profile spirits known as “The Bottom Shelf”. Should you take the chance, or run like hell? Keep on reading and find out!
The spirit: Durango Tequila
The price: $11.99 (750 ML)
The strength: 40% ABV (80 proof)
Why I bought it: I am not a tequila guy at all, but Justin and I wanted to have a margarita night and thought it would be a waste to buy a top shelf or middle tier tequila that probably would not be drank again for some time. Admittedly, Durango looked more appealing than the foreboding and similarly priced Royal Emblem tequila sitting right next to it on the shelf.
The nose: There is not much of a scent to speak of at all. It is neither pleasant nor offensive. In actuality, if you sniff it long enough, a slight hint of tequila is there, but it previews a product that is heavily watered down.
The taste: Exactly as it smelled: watered-down tequila with an artificial sweetener aftertaste. I have to hand it to them for producing a “smooth” spirit (if I can use that word) because there is certainly not much of a burn. Well, that’s because there is not much of anything. It was unfortunate that I did not read the label (and there is no back label with more information) in more detail until I got home, because it bears the description, “Tequila, Grain Neutral Spirits, and Natural Flavor“. That could have no other meaning aside from the fact that this is literally barely drinkable tequila that has been cut even further with additional alcohol. Or is this not even tequila at all? I don’t know what the “natural” flavor could possibly be.
What to use it for: Margaritas…I guess. This is useless to drink straight-up or in shots because there is no flavor to speak of. This relegates its singular use to margaritas and other tequila-based cocktails. However, the weakness of this tequila makes it almost impossible to stand out in a margarita. An all-around disastrous cocktail spirit, if you ask me. I would have taken an overly strong, noxious product that would have at least broken through the lime juice and sour mix to give me the feeling that I was having a real margarita.
Final grade: F.
Comments: We begin this column with a harsh review, but honestly, I cannot find any redeeming qualities for this tequila whatsoever. Stay away.