1800 Tequila was introduced in 1975 as a premium variant of the Jose Cuervo line.
The “1800” number takes after the year 1800 – the year wherein tequila was first successfully aged in wood (specifically oak) casks.
In order to distinguish the brand (in terms of name recall) from its mass-market Jose Cuervo relative, 1800 Tequila displays a unique trapezoid-looking bottle and a top designed as a shot glass. The company claims that the design is a homage to the Mayan pyramids throughout Mexico.
In relation to this, since 2008, 1800 Tequila taps artists to create graphic designs for the 1800 bottles, while retaining the telltale trapezoidal housing. Known as the Essential Artists series, 1,800 of these 1800 Tequila bottles are produced each year.
1800 Tequila Price Guide
$15.99 - $19.99
$24.99 - $28.99
$39.99 - $40.99
$24.99 - $28.99
$25.99 - $29.99
$37.99 - $39.99
Much like every tequila producer, 1800 Tequila gets its blue weber agave piñasfrom the red clay soil and relatively cool climate of Jalisco (Mexico).
The piñas take eight to ten years to ripen, and can only be harvested once. When harvested for their aguamiel (pulp) and the agave “nectar,” the latter is double distilled for a smoother, cleaner flavor. A master distiller then produces the final product from a special selection of white (blanco) tequilas blended together.
Currently, 1800 Tequila has two blancos (1800 Silver and 1800 Coconut), a reposado, three añejos (1800 Añejo, 1800 Milenio and the aforementionedColección) and a pre-mixed margarita drink (1800 Tequila | The Ultimate Margarita).
The entry-level 1800 Tequila, the Silver displays a distinct aroma of agave, cedar and French oak smoke.
Sweet cedar, French oak smoke (the tequila is aged in French oak barrels), vanilla, pear and white pepper linger on the palate and finish. It’s great for margaritas if you’re not into the 1800 pre-mixed margarita drink.
Meant primarily for coconut margaritas, 1800 Coconut tequila has a sharp agave nose.
However, there’s a 50-50 play between sweet coconut and peppery agave on the palate. There’s a hint of pineapple in the finish, but otherwise the coconut and agave aggressively compete for a rather muddled message from tongue to brain.
This type of 1800 tequila can be consumed straight over ice, or mixed with fruit juices (such as pineapple, lime or orange) for social drinking summer cocktails such as the Paloma or the Frozen Matador.
The mid-tier 1800 tequila, 1800 Reposado has a full flavor of grassy agave, with hints of figs, cilantro, cinnamon and vanilla.
The finish is rather dry (sometimes a sea salt-like finish emerges in some gullets), and there’s a slight burn in the throat. But it’s great for a margarita, Tequila Sunrise, or even a slammer.
The first of the 1800 Añejos showcases hints of cinnamon, candied pears, butterscotch and toasted oak in the taste.
There is a finish of cocoa and banana bread, but the sweets do not render the creamy agave foundation as second fiddle. The confectionery overtones and nippy finish is reminiscent of bourbon – or even an XO Cognac – and is best enjoyed neat, or with a slice of orange and chocolate sprinkles.
1800 Añejo vs the competition
The añejos of 1800 and Casamigos are in a dead heat for a tequila drinker’s favor.
Both have varying fruits, confectioneries and spices in their respective palates, with the Casamigos displaying bits of custard, [a little bit of] oak, sweet vanilla, citrus, papaya, mango, toffee penny and dark chocolate. What could make 1800 Añejo win over fans could be the finish, as the Casamigos Añejo exhibits a slight burn of a finish in the gullet.
When ranged against Patron añejo, what could tip eyes, mouths and preferences towards the 1800 añejois consistency of flavor.
In the Patron añejo, vanilla, raisins and oak wood are present in the taste, but they do not try to compete with the lead peppery rush of agave. Patron goes down the throat smoothly too, aided by dints of caramel and ever-so-slight white oak smokiness.
However, this taste and finish range from bottle to bottle. Much like the 1800 Tequila | The Ultimate Margarita, Patron’s añejois a love-hate affair. Some claim that the Patron’s añejotaste is rather synthetic, while others claim that the sweet-and-pepper combo in the palate is very much the real thing.
The añejos Don Julio and 1800 seem like they are evenly matched, but it is in the consistency of taste AND smoky presence that makes the Don Julio version the preferred one.
Critics of the entry level 1800 añejo claim that the smoke coming from the pits that roast the 1800’s handpicked blue agave settles a lot onto the liquid. It can be opined too that the smoky bits dominate the 1800’s taste, instead of the peppery agave.
On the Don Julio side, the agave foundation is much evident in taste and finish. From smell to actual consumption, adjectives like bright, lightly spiced, rich and smooth immediately (and frequently) pop into the brain. Wild honey, butterscotch, lime, orange and grapefruit hints also show up in the palate but don’t take away from the agave pleasure.
1800 Añejo Gold Standard recipe
Since the 1800 Añejo is considered a standard for tequila, what better way to commemorate its lofty perch than making it as the foundation for the Gold Standard cocktail.
The Gold Standard normally calls for rum as a primary building block, but the 1800 Añejo’s secondary sweet profile also makes it ideal for the drink.
1800 Añejo Gold Standard
Shake and serve in a old-fashioned chilled glass.