Cazcanes Tequila New Distillery Review: NOM 1599 vs. NOM 1614


Photos by Mireille Olivo

Cazcanes, a tequila that started in 2015 and launched to market in 2017, has taken the tequila aficionado world by storm. With its complex punches of roasted agave flavors, experimental approaches/aging, varying proofs, and attention to detail, it became an instant favorite.

Cazcanes started out their production at NOM 1599 Familia Landeros, which also produces brands like Atanasio. However, they have officially moved all production to NOM 1614 Tequilera Tap, which hits the shelves this week. NOM 1614 also produces brands like Inspiro, Hijole and Tres Agaves. By moving to this new distillery, they also became an organic brand. Their master distiller from NOM 1599, Francisco “Chico” Jimenez Lazcarro is moving with the brand to the new distillery. Collin Edwards, a winemaker and master distiller, is also continuing to advise and distill at the new distillery.  They also will continue to truck their water in from a spring off the San Pedro de los Landeros mountains and hand select their blue agaves from the lowlands. Their production is staying the same:

  • Cooking: low-pressure autoclave roasted agaves
  • Extraction: roller mill
  • Fermentation: stainless steel tanks using wild yeast
  • Distilled: Stainless steel still
    ** The only change is that in the previous distillery, there was a stainless steel still with stainless steel coils and at the new distillery there are stainless steel stills with copper coils.** 

That being said, the new distillery is equipped with an horno or brick oven and a tahona for crushing. A tahona is a volcanic stone wheel that crushes cooked agaves. Traditionally they were mule drawn, but now most are powered by machines. With these new tools and the brand’s propensity for experimentation, there is bound to be many more limited edition or specialty releases in the future. 

Now let’s get to the tasting! Cazcanes has three blancos at different proofs, a reposado, an añejo, extra añejo, and a joven. Since the blanco is the building block of every good aged tequila, we will be evaluating the three blancos. We are comparing the No. 7 – 40% ABV, No. 9 – 50% ABV, and No. 10 Still Strength – 54% ABV blancos. 

NOM 1599NOM 1614
Blanco No. 7 (40% ABV)Aroma: roasted agave, lime zest, honeydew melon
Flavor: roasted agave, stone like limestone, anise, black pepper
Aroma: roasted agave, tobacco, grapefruit peel
Flavor: roasted agave, citrus rind, earthy, iron rich soil, metallic on the finish
Blanco No. 9 (50% ABV)Aroma: roasted agave, wet cement, pepper, citrus rind
Flavor: roasted agave, very light smoke, black pepper, lime rind, black tea
Aroma: roasted agave, citrus rind, 
Flavor: roasted agave, fresh earth, metallic, black pepper, prune/stone fruit finish
Blanco No. 10 (Still Strength – 54% ABV)Aroma: roasted agave, vegetal like green bell pepper and jalapeno 
Flavor: roasted agave, jalapeño, black pepper, zucchini, dry earth
Aroma: roasted agave, wet earth, pepper, minerals
Flavor: roasted agave, black pepper, cinnamon/hot tamales candy, wet leaves, limestone

When brands move to a new distillery, the new environment often changes the flavor profile of the tequila significantly – for the better or the worse. In this case, I didn’t find one to be better than the other. They both still delivered the punch of agave that I look to Cazcanes for and you could still taste their intentionality in developing complex flavors.

@la.tequilana If you haven’t heard of Cazcanes tequila, it is a #tequila that took the aficionado world by storm. Highly recommend grabbing one! They have three blancos at different proofs, a #reposado, añejo, extra añejo, and joven. #CapCut ♬ TQG – KAROL G & Shakira

Cazcanes said they worked and experimented for 10 months at the new distillery to ensure that the flavor was consistent. Though the notes among the tequilas from both distilleries had more robust profiles in certain areas over others, they were still in the family of the typical lowland flavor profile – earthy, minerally, and the classic roasted agave. NOM 1599 tended to be more vegetal, citrus, and dry earth whereas NOM 1614 had some influence of smoke, metal, and more wet earth along with roasted agave and minerals. Their aged expressions are known for their malolactic or cheesy qualities, which I hope continue at the new distillery. 

When trying to discern if you are looking at a bottle made at the previous distillery or new one, the NOM label is located on the bottom third on the back label. 

Whether you heard about Cazcanes’ move to a new distillery or not, I would not be concerned about the impact on the flavor profile or quality. If anything, I’m looking forward to the new variations and experiments coming from the brand with the tools available at NOM 1614.