In my opinion, you can't fully talk about Cazadores tequila without talking about a prominent and well-publicized "hip injection" the brand received in 2014. 

From a graphic design standpoint, the new bottle is great. I mean, come on: a big-ass deer! Good font work! If you want to see the difference between good and bad product design, take a gander at the before and after. To me, makes clear how stodgy and same-y the old bottle really looked. The old design was basically the tequila equivalent of a wine bottle with a pencil sketch of a vineyard on it. Hell, even the deer looked bored to be on the bottle. It doesn't look regal—it looks like it just got up from a nap.

I'm talking a lot about the design because I honestly think it's now the most laudable part of the tequila. Tasted on its own, Cazadores is pretty inoffensive, and the price point is a fair ask, but at the end of the day I find it to be a an "also-ran" kind of tequila.

It’s hard for me to unequivocally recommend something I think works really well in only one role.

Enjoyed neat, the aroma is your first clue of a mixed bag. There's some very enticing grilled pineapple mixed with brown butter and agave—followed by the pungent sting of raw ethanol. Drink it, and it the flavors will eventually develop into a lot of herbs and tropical fruits, including banana, sage, and thyme, but that initial taste is bracing and tart. The finish is warming and doesn't burn the throat like a lot of the super cheap stuff, but it's also a little metallic. 

In short, the whole experience is up and down. And yet, I think it works great in certain applications. To wit, I think the Cazadores reposado does make for a very good margarita tequila. As a mixer, it provides enough punch to cut through even low-effort sour mix, and to me, most of the negatives become undetectable. At most Mexican restaurants, they tend to have it, and it's a palpable step up from whatever sludge most places use as a well tequila. 

In contrast, I don't think it would be good in the application I know a lot of people like Patron or Don Julio for: a shot followed by a bite of lime. Note that I really wouldn't do shots of anything, but I especially wouldn't do shots of the Cazadores repo, where the unpleasant beginning would dominate everything else. Patron and Don Julio are considerably more neutral in that respect. You're not going to win over your favorite "Woo Girl" with Cazadores.   

The geek in me feels compelled to mention that Cazadores changed hands in 2002, when Don Felix Bañuelos sold the brand to Bacardi. In 2011, he was back in the game with the appropriately-named "Don Felix" brand of tequila, which I quite liked! My frame of reference is only the new stuff from Cazadores and the new stuff from Don Felix. As a ballpark, expect to spend twice as much for the step up.

Granted, the $20 price point isn't usually where people are expecting a sipping tequila. However, the evaluation method around these parts is that anything needs to be able to stand on its own. In that capacity, Cazadores loses out to products like Milagro, Espolon, and Los Altos, just to name three from memory. It's not to say Cazadores is bad neat. My friend Sarah summarized this stuff by saying, "If we were at a party, and this is what they had, we'd drink it, and it would be fine." It's just that there's a lot of competition among competently-made 100% agave tequilas.

It's hard for me to unequivocally recommend something I think works really well in only one role, even though I've bought it before and will buy it again. Judged as a spirit and not a mixer, it falters.  

Nose: Past the booze, grilled peppers, pineapple, a little wet earth. 
Taste: Bracingly tart at first, but tropical fruits like guava and pineapple develop nicely.
Finish: Odd, not unlike the sensation you'd get from licking a penny or a nine-volt battery.
Misc: 40% ABV, probably made via diffusers or autoclaves, if I had to guess.
Price: $20
Overall Rating

It'll do.