Sometimes it's good to know that you're not paying for a name. Don Felix is a relative unknown (as of now) that happens to have a great pedigree.
The story begins with Don Felix Buñuelos. He learns how to make tequila from his father, who in turn learned it from his father. Eventually the work of the Buñuelos family gets turned into the Cazadores brand of tequila, which gets huge, and is in turn bought by drinks giant Bacardi. So what does Don Felix do with his sick Bacardi payout?
He turns around and opens up a another tequila distillery of his own. Tell me that's not dedication to one's craft. The dude could have probably bought a yacht and had buxom island girls fan him for the rest of his life, but instead he goes right back to doing what he loves before the ink dries on the check.
At about $45 or so, Don Felix is not a cheap tequila. However, I can say that this was the first tequila that I gravitated to—me being a whiskey drinker, typically—that convinced me that I needed to spend more time in the spirit category. The Don Felix añejo is all about balance. There are a lot of powerful, easily detectable flavors here, and yet everything feels delicate and cohesive. It's really wonderful stuff.
The journey begins with the aroma. On the nose, there's a good amount of ancho chiles, black pepper, sliced oranges, and some cacao mixed in with the distinct smell of agave. There's a slight amount of barnyard funk, but it smells homey and natural rather than unpleasant. No ethanol burn to sting the nostrils here in the least.
The tequila comes alive on the first sip, with orange and cinnamon taking a starring role. A woody arrival transitions to a lot of delicate citrus and honey. I loved being able to taste the earth of the agave, the orange, the oak, the black pepper, the cinnamon, and the sweetness all at once. Absolutely nothing is out of place. On the finish, the tequila is agreeably peppery, but it leaves you with that delicious fresh-cut orange that's so dominant throughout the flavor profile.
Don Felix añejo is distilled twice, aged in virgin American oak for 2 years and 8 months, and bottled at 40% ABV. 80 proof might seem to be a little thin for some gin or scotch drinkers, but I'd argue this is pretty standard for tequilas in general and the delicacy of the spirit is a great match for the alcohol content.
Now, all that said, if you're looking for an añejo that has the backbone and intensity of a single-malt scotch, Don Felix may not be your brand. There are definitely more powerful expressions of what distilled agave can do.
However, if you've been wondering if you're missing something (or if you had a bad experience in your college years), the Don Felix añejo is a great product to let you not only appreciate tequila, but maybe even fall in love with it.