Cava de Oro 100% Tequila – Reposado

The meanings behind worded age statements can be a tad difficult to cut through when you are beginning your journey with a new spirit. Many of them have some legal weight behind them. Others are just marketing deception. A spirit that is notoriously difficult (and occasionally dodgy) is rum, as many countries have have their own rules.

So what do VS, VSOP or XO mean when you see them on French spirits such as Cognac, Armagnac or Calvados? Closer to home, what is the difference between Bourbon, Straight Bourbon and Bottled in Bond Bourbon? All shall be revealed in a future review. Or just Google it, to be honest.Since this is a tequila review, let’s talk about the age statements of this scrumptious Mexican spirit. There are four main age statements, one of which is a relatively recent designation.

  1. Blanco: Also known as “white” or “silver” tequila, Blanco tequila is typically unaged, meaning it’s bottled immediately after distillation or stored for less than two months in stainless steel tanks or neutral oak barrels. This results in a clear spirit with strong agave flavor.
  2. Reposado: The term “reposado” translates to “rested” in English. Reposado tequila is aged for a period between two months and less than a year in oak barrels. This aging process allows the tequila to develop a golden hue and a more balanced flavor profile, with the taste of the agave mellowed by the characteristics of the wood.
  3. Añejo: Meaning “aged” in English, Añejo tequila is stored in oak barrels for a period of one to three years. The prolonged aging period allows the tequila to develop a darker color and more complex flavors, often featuring notes of caramel, vanilla, and oak spices such as cinnamon.
  4. Extra Añejo: “Extra aged” tequila is a relatively new category that was established in 2006 by the Consejo Regulador del Tequila (CRT), the regulatory body for tequila in Mexico. This category is for tequilas that are aged for a minimum of three years in oak barrels, resulting in a spirit with a deep amber color and rich flavours.

Traditionally, tequila has been aged in ex-Bourbon barrels due to their plentiful supply just north of the border. Although the vast majority of tequila is still rested in these barrels, craft tequileras (tequila distilleries) as well as brands that simply source their tequilas (think of them as the Mexican equivalent of non-distiller producers in the American whiskey world), are being a bit more innovative these days.

Like ex-Bourbon barrels, ex-wine barrels, from California in particular, are pretty accessible and plentiful as well. Especially if they are made from French oak, the extra spice and fruit notes they can impart on an aged tequila results in some pretty interesting flavours. Even a short finish in these casks can make a big difference. Ultimately, the goal is not to mask out the cooked agave characteristics of tequila through barrel maturation. Instead, these new types of casks can help to compliment the tequila in surprising and exciting ways.

Speaking of ex-red wine cask matured tequila, This Cava de Oro Reposado 100% agave tequila is exactly that. Although the minimum age for a Reposado is two months, Cava de Oro matures theirs for six in ex-Cabernet Sauvignon barrels from California. It’s bottled at 40% ABV.

Nose: Even after only six months of maturation, the signature of the French oak is unmistakeable, yet not overpowering. Dried strawberries and cranberries along with fresh blackberries greet the nose straight away. That being said, that poached pear that I got in the Plata expression is still there in abundance, along with a drizzle of dark chocolate. After a while, the cooked agave and a freshly sliced Jalapeño pushes the pear note into the background. The coconut character from the Plata is still in there, but not as strong, but the same can not be said of vanilla! Lime juice and a dash of cinnamon rounds this out.

Palate: This is not quite as balanced initially, as the cooked agave is dominant during the entry. This transitions to a pretty heavy vanilla at the start of the development, with a lesser fruitiness. Although the fruity character isn’t as present here, the spices from the French oak certainly are. Cinnamon, earthy nutmeg, and a sprinkle of allspice are coming from the cask with freshly cracked black pepper and a slight chili spice from the tequila itself. The spice certainly punches above its proof. Due to the ex-red wine influence from the cask, it is not surprising that the end of the development is a bit tannic and drying. Nothing wrong with that though. Subsequent sips add the dark chocolate that I was hoping would make an appearance.

Finish: Like the Plata, the finish is on the short to medium side, but the enhanced spice from the cask keeps this trucking for longer. A little bit of that tart blackberry finally appears, making my mouth water slightly, but is balanced by the spices and a hint of cocoa powder.

With water added

OK. After a few drops of water, that milk chocolate Bounty Bar that I got on the Plata expression isn’t messing around. Needless to say, the coconut is candied and not fresh. Personally, I’m not complaining. The lime zest and Jalapeño signatures are also pretty strong and start to overtake the Bounty Bar. I’m not getting very much cask influence compared to drinking this neat. Maybe a very light dried strawberry and that’s it. Cooked agave and vanilla eventually make their presence felt. The former note along with medium dark chocolate are present for pretty much the entire experience on the palate. There’s a little more sweetness and a little less spice.


Although there was a lovely balance between the tequila and the cask on the nose, it was a little uneven after that. That being said, I really enjoyed the spice on the development, which held up pretty well with water added. Along with a decent amount of agave flavours, I have a feeling this would be a great base for a cocktail. It’s also important to point out that the six month maturation time is four months higher than the legal minimum of two months for a Reposado. Definitely deserving of kudos there.

Instagram: @paul.bovis

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