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Review: El Tesoro Paradiso

Updated: Jul 7, 2021

El Tesoro Paradiso Series C-53,992 (10/27/17) - NOM 1139 - 40%

Context: The original Paradiso Series A (~1994-1995) utilized 5 different barrels for aging including: Van Winkle Old Boone barrels from the ‘70s, New French Limousin oak, New American Oak, and A. de Fussigny Cognac barrels. When you see those A series in the glass next to current Paradiso, there’s an undeniable darkness quotient in favor of Series A. Still a unicorn bottle for me.

Paradiso is now aged 5 years in French Oak. Fortunately, Tesoro goes full old-school with production methods: horno, tahona, natural spring water, wood fermentation tanks. Carlos Camerena also distills close to proof (82-84 distillation proof for 80 proof bottling). Distilling closer to proof means less water enters the equation before bottling, contributing to the lush mouthfeel I've always found with Tesoro.

Cards on the table, my palate absolutely loves Tesoro, especially pre-2009 distillate. That said, there's nothing wrong with the new stuff. Binny’s current private barrel reposados deliver some of the best cost to quality ratios you can find in the spirits game. It's tough for me to find a bottle under $55 that I'd rate an 8 and Tesoro pulled it off. And finally, the current El Tesoro XA is my favorite bang for your buck extra anejo.

Nose: Cedar. Eucalyptus. Pineapple. Wow. Absolutely fantastic. The cedar is a show stopper.

Flavors: Caramel. Pineapple. Oak. Not overly complex, but everything is rich and clear.

Palate Structure: Great weight and mouthfeel. Full up front with fruits and sweets, before the oak streamlines the palate into the finish. Caramel ripples in and out to keep some action in the finish.

Alcohol Integration: Drinks full and overproof, but never spirity.

You’d Dig This If You Like:

Cognac:15-20 yr., no additives (sub-100 proof)

Rum: Fijian or St. Lucian Pot Still (sub-100 proof)

Score: 8 (Stash One) The cedar, eucalyptus, and pineapple notes are the holy trinity I look for when it comes to old-school Tesoro. Pre-2009 Olive Oil bottles and the 75th Anniversary delivered those notes in spades. It's a profile ranking among my favorites in all of spirits. The current stuff is top notch but has lost the cedar and eucalyptus that I fell in love with. Nice to see those notes still coming through in Paradiso, at least up until 2017.

Score: 7 (Highly Recommend) - Revision 7/7/21

Rating System

10- Reevaluate My Budget

9 - Stash Two If Able

8 - Stash One At The Right Price

7 - Highly Recommend It To Strangers

6 - Solid - Above Average

5 - Acceptable For The Situation

4 - Not Vocally Complaining

3 - Wish I Was Drinking Something Else

2 - Nothing Nice To Say

1 - Drain Pour

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