Today we're going to speak to the many CostCo shoppers out there who like to save money by buying in bulk. If you've ever bought tequila at CostCo, you may have noticed they have their own brand, Kirkland, now offering tequila. While I've been shy to try it, I couldn't help notice the plethora of Kirkland tequila at my Costco hoarder type friends house, so I figured it was finally time to get to the bottom of this debacle and really understand how this tequila came about.
Region: Jalisco Central
Who Makes Kirkland Tequila?
No matter what you are shopping for, some of the most popular products available at Costco are Kirkland brand. Most shoppers enjoy purchasing quality for the cheaper price of a knockoff brand. A good example is Costco tequila.
For anyone who doesn't know this, you can find out where the tequila is made by looking at the identifying number on the bottle, which is called a “NOM.” This number is included on every bottle produced as it tracks the origin of the tequila.
Upon looking at the bottle, you can see by the design they are really looking to emulate the feel of Casamigos tequila. This could be coincidence, or it could be a copycat play to get consumers to think they are drinking a higher quality tequila.
Kirkland currently offers three types tequilas, from Reposado, Silver and Anejo. All of them are made in La Madrileña in Tototlan. This Mexican city is located in Jalisco. Ironically, the La Madrilena distillery also produces Tabasco brand tequila.
According to the quality ranking of website Taste Tequilla, La Madrilena is number 99 among the 136 active Mexican tequila distilleries.
Beginning in January of 2019, Costco tequila became available from Fabrica de Tequilas Finos. Ed Hardy Tequila is made at the same distillery. Costco had made numerous changes for their tequila distilleries. NOMs 1173 and 1438 were used before NOM 1472 and 1142. NOM 1173 received a ranking of 51, NOM 1472 92 and NOM 17438 65. Look at your bottle to find out where you batch was made as chances are it could differ from others depending on when you purchased it.
Kirkland Signature Silver Tequila
Among the Reposado, Silver and Anejo Costco tequila, the Anejo is a good tequila for under $30, the Reposado has received excellent reviews and the Silver has an aroma and flavor profile containing strong alcohol notes, citrus and agave. The Kirkland Silver Signature Tequila is better for making cocktails than shooting straight. Kirkland Silver is also ideal for making large batches of margaritas.
It is worth noting tequila can help ensure a morning free of hangovers, can help decrease cholesterol and may be beneficial for digestion. This can be accomplished just by making simple cocktails with Kirkland Silver.
Kirkland Signature Tequila Anejo
Wooden barrels are used to age Anejo tequila for a minimum of one year. The highest quality of Anejo tequila is aged between 18 months and three years. After three years, the tequila is referred to as extra Anejo. The barrels used in the past for maturing bourbon and occasionally cognac are used for aging. This ensures the tequila has a mellower edge. The aroma range is from tobacco to vanilla.
Aging tequila in former bourbon barrels usually provides notes of coconut and dill derived from the American oak. Anejo tequila should be served after dinner in a snifter or copita and sipped neat. Kirkland Signature Tequila Anejo has an amber coloration with aromas of banana cream pie, baking spices, rich coconut and cherry bonbon.
The body is medium to full, dry and fruity and supple and soft. The drying finish contains lingering notes of sandalwood, butterscotch and fig gelato. Anejo is a dessert style tequila without too much sweetness.
As of late 2020, I have yet to try Kirkland tequila. The $19.95 price point for the anejo terrifies me. While one of my best friends buys this in extreme bulk, due to his heavy drinking and lack of tequila wisdom, we question if he knows much about it other than if you slug it down you most likely will get a buzz. Stay tuned for more information when we do an official Kirkland tequila review and tasting.
Other Kirkland Liquors
If you thought that CostCo only made liquor of the tequila variety, think again. This company private labels or custom makes every item under the sun under their famous Kirkland brand. Here is a list of the other types of spirits you will find made under the Kirkland label when it comes to booze.
Kirkland Signature American Vodka
The Costco alternative for anyone preferring domestic vodka is Kirkland Signature American Vodka. The cost is less than $20 dollars for a frosted bottle containing 1.75 L. This vodka is distilled six times to ensure ultra-smoothness. The liquor offers a slightly citrus and smooth flavor and a sweet and mild aroma. The tasting rating for this product is Highly Recommended.
Kirkland Signature XO Cognac
The XO in cognac is an abbreviation for extra old. One of the priciest Costco liquors you can buy is Kirkland Signature XO Cognac. The average cost for 750 mL is $50. Kirkland offers a good value in comparison to the $130 price tag for a 750 mL bottle of another brand. Cognac must be aged a minimum of 6 years to be classified as XO. The majority of liquors are aged for at least 20 years.
The liquor is slightly spicy and sweet with an extremely light floral flavor. The end has a hint of spice with enough notes to be certain you have purchased a complex and rich cognac. Kirkland Signature XO Cognac has a rating of 89 points which is just short of Exceptional status and a Tastings rating of Highly Recommended.
Kirkland Signature Blended Scotch Whisky
Alexander Murray & Co. is the manufacturer of Kirkland Signature Blended Scotch Whisky. The color is a rich caramel with scent notes of ginger, cinnamon, vanilla and peat. The flavor has noticeable hints of plums, malt, sugar and orange. This is an extremely basic scotch as opposed to something overly-complicated. Kirkland Original has received a Tasting ranking of Exceptional for a blended scotch whiskey.
Kirkland Signature Blended Canadian Whisky
The price of Kirkland Signature Canadian Blended Whisky is much better than the name brand. This is among the three Costco liquors tested by Buzzfeed in a blind taste test. The participants stated the clarity and color looked exactly the same when visually compared.
There is a harsh flavor burn at the front followed with smokey, maple and sweet finishing notes expected from Candaian whiskey. The amateurs tasting the whiskey were evenly split when determining which was the Costco brand and which was brand name Canadian whiskey.
Tastings have given Kirkland Signature Blended Canadian Whisky an Exceptional rating. In a blind taste test, the whiskey scored 91 points. The price of a 1.75 L bottle is less than $20. The cost of the name brands is between $40 and $45 for the same thing.
Kirkland Signature French Vodka
This was another liquor in the blind taste test from Buzzfeed. The panelists made some interesting comments about the Kirkland brand including it tasted fancier than Grey Goose, deserved to be enjoyed on a rooftop veranda, went down as easy as Kesha and was such a clean vodka it should be purchased with caution because it was almost dangerous.
The rumors Costco is purchasing and rebottling Grey Goose for its own brand are false. The truth is Kirkland Signature French Vodka is made from the same water source used by Grey Goose but from a different well. Numerous blind taste tests have resulted in a lower ranking for grey Goose despite the price being nearly double than Kirkland.
Kirkland Signature French Vodka offers a distinctive viscosity. The medium-weight is silky with similarities to white wine. The flavor is bright and clean while offering a subtle sweetness. The cost of a 1.75 L bottle is roughly $25.
24 Year aged Kirkland Signature Blended Scotch Whisky
Kirkland Signature Blended Scotch is a good purchase, and 24 Year aged Kirkland Signature Blended Scotch Whisky is its cousin. The cost of a 750 mL bottle is approximately $70. The flavor is heavy with oak and includes subtle flavors that are preferable for many whiskey drinkers.
Kirkland eliminates the need to pay triple-digits for a bottle of aged scotch whiskey. Although the Kirkland brand might not be suitable for true whiskey connoisseurs, the average individual will appreciate the lower price and enjoy making a smarter purchase.
7-Year Small Batch Kirkland Signature Bourbon
There are several different rumors as to where 7-Year Small Batch Kirkland Signature Bourbon is made. This includes the Frankfort, Kentucky Buffalo Trace distillery, George Dickel and Jim Beam. The alcohol volume is 51.5 percent resulting in a strong flavor. The lack of spicy and sweet notes provide the bourbon with an interesting taste. The Costco Kirkland brand offers a less expensive option for good bourbon.
Kirkland Signature Irish Cream Liqueur
The reason so many Costco liquors are popular is that it is nearly impossible to distinguish them from the brand names with considerably higher price tags. There are two key reasons Kirkland Signature Irish Cream Liqueur is popular. First, the cost of a 1.7 L bottle is about $15. Second, the flavor is better than the brand names due to the more balanced, less harsh and smoother flavor.
Only one sniff of Kirkland Irish Cream is necessary to detect the aromas of Irish whiskey, cream and cocoa. The flavor of the liquor is very sweet and extremely smooth. Most people taste notes very similar to chocolate, hazelnut, candy and caramel. The inherent sweetness of Kirkland Irish Cream makes it ideal to serve over ice or chilled.
Kirkland Signature London Dry Gin
The cost of Kirkland Signature London Dry Gin is approximately $25 for 1.7 L. The Kirkland brand offers a light, dry, crisp and satiny body. The medium-length finish is effortless.
Kirkland Signature Spiced Rum
The final liquor included in the blind taste test from Buzzfeed is Signature Spiced Rum. The panelists compared Kirkland to Captain Morgan Spiced Rum. The comparison of the panelists was Kirkland offered a sweeter and darker taste similar to that of a gingerbread man. The price of 1.75 L is approximately $20.
The Final Word
You can save a lot of money purchasing Kirkland brand liquor at Costco as opposed to one of the name brands. In most instances, the color, notes and flavor are comparable to the name brands. If you want to know who makes Kirklands Tequila, all you have to do is look at the identifying number NOM.
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For the price I think they make a good blanco for margaritas!
To answer Tim’s original post “is kirkland tequila any good?” I have to say MEH. If you are making margaritas or on a tight budget, it’ll do, but there are many better options out there.
Lars, I have a saying I often utter around my house. Margarita’s is where I bury bad tequila. 🙂
The old Anejo in the previous body style was great. The “new” Anejo is disgusting. Not only is the flavor awful and artificial, but there is enough food coloring in it to stain your glass.
Andra, thanks for sharing that! I’m not a Kirklands Tequila drinker myself (never was, don’t envision I ever will be) so it’s comments like these that help everyone understand the past and present of this brand. Thanks for stopping by!
XO cognac is made from eau di vie that’s at least 6 years old. Not 10.
Thanks for correcting us. Updating the content now. We appreciate you.