It has often been opined by industry observers and spirits writers that tequila is perpetually “the spirit of the future” in America, but it’s probably time to stop with any of that repetition—tequila in undoubtedly the spirit of the present in this country, as it continues to experience huge growth on a yearly basis, with new brands debuting and flourishing seemingly overnight. Many of the biggest success stories in the tequila space have notably been celebrity owned, going back to George Clooney’s ridiculous $1 billion payday when he sold his Casamigos brand to Diageo a few years back. Other money-hungry celebs have unsurprisingly taken that kind of profit potential to heart, launching their own tequila brands that they no doubt would entertain similarly grandiose offers for in the future. Look no further than cross-platform media mogul Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson, whose Teremana Tequila brand exploded in 2021, ultimately selling more than 600,000 nine-liter cases to set records for first-year sales.
The message and branding is clear: If you’re a celebrity, you’ve gotta get your own spirits brand. And sure, bourbon will work if you’re a country music star. But the upper echelon of A-list Hollywood royalty is all about tequila.
Not to be outdone, TV and film star Eva Longoria launched her own would-be shelf staple in 2021 as well, Casa Del Sol. As a daughter of Mexican-American parents, Longoria at least is able to avoid the most overt accusations of cultural appropriation that were aimed at the likes of Kendall Jenner when she tried to promote her tequila via questionable photoshoots in 2021. So too do the aged expressions of Casa Del Sol feature a unique selling point for the liquid in the bottle, which have been matured in French Limousin oak cognac barrels, rather than the standard re-use bourbon barrels that are typical for the industry.
That’s spirits geek stuff, though. The real selling point of the Casa Del Sol brand, when it comes to marketing, seems to be the application of pop feminism—images that evoke the “girl boss” trope by highlighting Longoria’s role as the wheeling-dealing owner, along with the presence of two key figures, Alejandra Pelayo and Mariana Padilla. Pelayo, the “protégé and goddaughter of Patron creator Francisco Alcaraz,” is noted as the brand’s “head of production,” while Padilla has the title of “Artesana Tequilera,” a role whose function the marketing materials perhaps unsurprisingly leaves very vague indeed. Even the backstory of the brand has would-be feminist connotations, revolving around Mayahuel, the “Aztec goddess of agave.”
In reality, though, it’s a bit tough to take such branding seriously. Pelayo’s experience, after all, is implied in the brand’s own press release to stem primarily from her role as a famed male tequila creator’s progeny and student. And you won’t see anyone attributed as Casa Del Sol’s master distiller, because it’s not as if a brand like Casa Del Sol constructed their own distillery—it is almost certainly being manufactured in a large facility in Jalisco, at a distillery that likely produces numerous tequila brands, by a master distiller who is in all likelihood male. This is hardly unique; it’s the standard playbook for sourced spirits of all kinds. Perhaps this is all just my cynicism speaking, but the lack of that kind of acknowledgement does make me a bit doubtful of the feminist image the brand is attempting to use as a marketing tool. Leave it to me to spoil the party, I suppose.
Regardless, we do in fact have a new tequila to taste here, and that’s the important thing. Casa Del Sol’s Blanco is described as a tequila “crafted to deliver the pure essence of agave,” with the owner saying it is “best sipped with sun.” It fits in the super premium category, with a $60 MSRP that likely makes one wish it was at least a scooch higher than the standard 40% ABV (80 proof). Let’s get to tasting, and see how it measures up.
On the nose, Casa Del Sol Blanco is quite inviting, albeit in a very familiar way. I’m getting lots of fresh, sweet agave, along with rosemary herbaceousness, candied grapefruit, pink peppercorn and something a bit more confectionery, like marshmallow fluff. Over time, there’s also a hint of berries which carry a resinous note, like juniper. The assertiveness of that nose is mild, but the overall profile is perfectly pleasant.
On the palate, though, Casa Del Sol’s Blanco struggles somewhat to really make itself stand out. It’s a fruit-forward dram, and quite sweet as well, with candy like notes of floral vanilla and berry flavored vitamins/minerality, along with fresh agave and slight spice that put me in mind of green cardamom pods. There’s not much pepper here, nor much salinity, leaving the flavor profile ultimately feeling a bit on the thin or empty side. Perhaps a higher proof point would have lent it some more vivaciousness, although I can’t help but wonder if perhaps the profile was cynically designed to “appeal to women” under the assumption that they wouldn’t want a bolder or more full-flavored tequila. Again, I may be reading too much into this.
On its own merits, Casa Del Sol Blanco can boast a nice, though mild nose, and a flavor profile without substantial flaws, but likewise without much to make it stand out. For $60, one would likely conclude that most consumers would prefer a bit more bang, or a bit more nuance, for their buck.
Distillery: Casa Del Sol
Region: Jalisco, Mexico
Style: Blanco tequila
ABV: 40% (80 proof)
Availability: 750 ml bottles, $60 MSRP
Jim Vorel is a Paste staff writer and resident liquor geek. You can follow him on Twitter for more drink writing.