Craft Liquor Preview: El Bandido Yankee Tequilas

Craft Liquor Preview: El Bandido Yankee Tequilas
Tasting out some El Bandido Yankee Tequilas

It’s taken me a while to get this little coverage together, as it was a multi-day production in the midst of my busy work time. But here we go. And I’ve got another video tasting right after this one!

My One-Take (Not) Beer Review

I’ve been sent bottles of El Bandido Yankee tequila, a brand spearheaded by Chicago Blackhawks legend Chris Chelios, and former Packer Jim Bob Morris (Hoping Chelios’ involvement justifies the assumption that this is available in the Chicago area). The tequila is distilled for them by Tequila el Viejito in the agave producing state of Jalisco. The source fermentable is 100% blue agave. I was pleased to find a much deeper drill-down on the making of these liquors at tequilamatchmaker.com.

I was offered a chance to sample the tequilas, and was sent a nice big presentation box. Besides two 750 ml bottles, were two drinking glasses, two bandanas (of course), a baseball cap, and a tablet player with their promo videos (also viewable on the web site). I regret that this is not a retail or gift set, which would be cool. But when the stuff itself is in my hands, I’m going to try it anyway, and post a video. So excuse me while I switch out my “Beer Review” hat.

Since I’ve been tied up with the regular beer calendar and things at home, I recorded this video several weeks ago and just posted it a week ago. So, let me pour another shot and describe the drinks.

El Bandido Yankee Tequila Blanco ($39.99 list)

The “silver,” or unaged tequila. Pours totally clear, of course. There are plenty of good reviews for this brand out there, but I’ll try to ignore the details and go with what I, who has not compare more than one tequila at a time, might think.

Even the smell has that burn of a “white” liquor. Agave provides some of that, I’m thinking. A slight impression of pear juice in the background. The taste is quite strong, with much more burn than a vodka. The mouthfeel comes out a little thicker, too. A bit of mineral water, vanilla, and some more of that hard fermented pear, or just a general fruit note. The alcohol can hit pretty quickly, so this invites small shots, ice, or a mixed drink with a lot of citrus. I can see why most tequila drinks involve salt, as a couple of potato chips I was having at the same time helped cool the burn.

El Bandido Yankee Tequila Reposado ($44.99 list)

The aged version has sat in white oak barrels, whiskey barrels and used barrels. I’m thinking the people in charge of a premium brand get a choice of wood and can blend to taste. As you might be able to tell, most of what I know about liquor I’m picking up by osmosis from what I’ve learned about beer.

Unlike a barrel aged whiskey or bourbon, though, the color is a very light brown. The nose still has that agave burn, but it’s a bit mellowed. I recall when I first shot the video above, that the barrel aged version would be smoothed out. This time, I just find more sharp burn, albeit with notes of oak barrel. Drier than the blanco, at least. But it also has the effect of maraschino cherries soaked in brandy. This does smooth out a little better on the palate. Maybe not as complex as a similarly aged whiskey, but a pleasurable sipper.

You can see my “One-Take Beer Liquor Review” linked above. I usually try to keep my reviews under six minutes, but this one ran wa-a-a-y over because I asked for some new drink recipes, which the PR people supplied, and made them. I was happy to come up with something a little different from the usual margarita. But I’ll be making that for myself a little later.

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    Mark McDermott

    Writer, trivia maven, fan of many things. I thought to learn all there is to know about beer as a way to stay interested in learning. It is my pleasure to bring Chicago's craft beer scene to you.

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