Cabo Wabo — Sammy Hagar’s love child, now owned by Skyy — certainly knows how to put on a show. In the 2011 Ultimate Spirits Challenge, Cabo Wabo Reposado earned a whopping 93 points, and in 2010 it won the gold medal at the San Francisco World Spirits Competition while also coming in as the No. 8 tequila in the world in the opinion of the folks at Spirit Journal. In 2004, Wine Enthusiast placed it in the “Classic” category, in the 96-100 range.
Not bad. Not bad, at all.
Cabo Wabo Reposado is my go-to tequila and usually the only one I perpetually stock. Why? Because it’s just about perfect.
Reposados are something like the bastard stepchildren of the tequila industry. Not as raw and edgy as a blanco, nor as refined and aged as an añejo, the reposados fall in the middle, often ignored. Cabo Wabo’s middle-child offering, though, is different: The Joe Jonas of the tequila world, an impressive offering in its own right.
The spirit presents strongly: The scent of earthy but slightly sour pure agave is nostril-smacking obvious but the pale amber liquid rests astonishingly lightly on the tongue. For a tequila, it’s creamy and smooth, slightly oily, with a respectable burn on the first sip and a semi-sweet aftertaste that lingers just enough to be appreciated but not so long that you feel like grabbing a chaser.
Cabo Wabo is to tequila what 10 Cane is to rum: A spirit so refined that it’s best enjoyed neat, with no mixers or chasers or anything else that would affect the spirit’s natural flavor profile.