Tequila Brands to Avoid and Why

by Shannon Terry

We’ve all been there. Assuming high prices mean higher quality. That is certainly not the case with tequila. The best Tequilas are not overly-priced, nor do they typically come in extravagant bottles and 99.9% of the time they are not celebrity owned or hyped. 

You’ve probably had several of the following tequilas, but we recommend you avoid the hype and select something different.

Avoid these tequila brands: 

Clasa Azul (NOM 1595) 

Most commonly known for its $150+ Reposado, Clasa Azul has become synonymous in the U.S. as a go-to high-end sipping tequila in most restaurants and bars. Clasa Azul comes in an artisanal handmade bottle loaded with lab-created flavors like vanilla, caramel, and cream soda. Clasa Azul is an additive-loaded tequila of low quality and is extraordinarily overpriced. The popular Reposado goes from $150-$170 a bottle, and the Anejo is around $550. Please don’t fall for the marketing hype and learn from our early mistakes. Now that you know, there’s no need to be a “Clasa A-fool.” Despite its low quality, it is No. 1 on our list because of its ridiculous price, and everyone seems to think it is a great tequila. We did once upon a time.  

Casamigos Tequila (NOM 1609)

Casamigos tequila is now mass produced at a different high-volume distillery and is long gone from the days of actor George Clooney’s private stash at the distillery NOM 1416. From “lip to cup,” we are still skeptical that this legendary story is even accurate. Casamigos is one of the most heavily marketed spirits in the world and is filled with sweetness additives and a heavy unnatural vanilla profile to appeal to the masses– especially women. All of the Casamigos expressions are overpriced and yield an unnatural taste. Don’t be seduced by the clean and beautiful bottle and the pretty face of George Clooney. We understand that everyone likes vanilla and cotton candy; it is not meant for tequila.

Cincoro Tequila (NOM 1438) 

If not for our respect for Cincoro owner Micheal Jordan, the greatest athlete of all time, we would rank Cincoro as our worst tequila purchase. At least Clasa Azul taste good! This “luxury” tequila brand checks all the bad boxes: additive laced, too sweet, manipulated vanilla profile, and the price is laughable (Blanco $85.00, Anejo $130.00, Extra Anejo $1,599). Created at one of the largest contract distilleries with 158 different brands, this is the ultimate “fast-food” tequila. Saving the best for last, the supposed inspiration of Cincoro came when Jordan and some of his NBA friends traveled to Mexico and couldn’t find a good tequila. Is this a joke?!? 

Casa Dragones (NOM 1489)

A stunning bottle. That’s all the positives we can say with Casa Dragones. Co-created by MTV Founder Bob Pittman, it should be no surprise that Casa Dragones would enter the market as a trendy and inauthentic tequila. As expected, Casa Dragones is one of the worst of the worst. Casa Dragones has very little agave-forward taste and hits with a medicinal and citrus profile. Casa Dragones is laced with additives and is incredibly overpriced, with the Blanco around $80.00 and the Anejo at $170. We would consider ranking it even higher of what not to buy if more people were drinking this brand. Don’t get “Punk’d,” or be the “Jackass” that pays up for this pretender. 

Tequila Lobos 1707 (NOM 1460)

Made famous by investor Lebron James, Tequila Lobos 1707  is one of the latest in an already saturated celebrity tequila market. A profile of artificial sweetener, vanilla, and cake batter, Lobos appears to be another additive-filled tequila. We know Lobos is not a quality tequila but is it better than Michael Jordan’s Cincoro? Both are equally bad tequilas and make our list of what not to buy. But if we had to pick one, we would choose Lobos over Cincoro. Lobos tastes better and is less expensive, and the brand does a respectable amount of philanthropic work.

818 Tequila (NOM 1607, originally 1137)

The Kardashian clan is trying to “keep up” with the fast-growing tequila industry with their entry 818 Tequila. Founded by celebrity-influencer Kendall Jenner, this contract brand is gaining steam in the marketplace. This additive-laced tequila has a funky, floral perfume aroma and sweet vanilla taste profile. 818 comes with a lot of marketing hype and a trendy bottle, but it’s over-priced (blanco $45) and a low-quality tequila. With almost 50 celebrity-influenced tequilas on the market, 818 ranks near the bottom, if not the worst.

Also see:

Best Blanco Tequilas – Outsider Approved