After two weekends of somebody going “I can’t believe we drank that whole bottle in one night,” it’s a sign that I need to do a write-up on Gran Centenario Tequila.
I’m living in Mexico right now and there’s a whole different pantheon of respected tequila brands than what you find in the U.S. First of all, most people with money and taste tend to have some favorite artisanal tequila they like that nobody else has heard of, from some obscure distillery that makes small batches. Once you start talking about brands you can find anywhere though, Don Julio is at the top, Jimador is the reliable mass-market brand you get for $10, and Gran Centenario is somewhere in the middle. You can’t go wrong bringing Centenario to a party or presenting it to someone as a gift. Everyone who likes tequila seems happy to see this one getting poured.
This is a very smooth tequila, easy to drink straight, which explains those two bottles that quickly got emptied by a few chatting friends. Like much of the tequila from the highlands, it has a lighter, more flowery nose and taste. It’s aged in new oak barrels, but the timing seems to be just right: the agave sweetness still comes through easily, but without the rough edges of your usual white tequila.
This is also a brand with heritage, not something cooked up by committee to meet a certain demographic target. It’s been around since the late 1800s, in roughly the same type of bottle, with roughly the same label.
I’d link to their website, but it doesn’t seem to work anymore. I can just hear the family owners as they taste a new batch straight from the barrels in their hacienda headquarters. “We don’t need no stinkin’ website!”
They’re probably right. Just taste this and share it with a friend or three. A 750ml bottle will cost you anywhere between $38 and $60 in the U.S. depending on where you get it, but is often $25 or so at an airport duty free shop. Better yet, buy it from a liquor store in Mexico, where you will likely pay somewhere around $15 to $18—a screaming bargain if there ever was one.