Baron Tequila: Toe to Toe With Patron

Baron Tequila: Toe to Toe With Patron

Bottom Line: Baron’s best showing is sipped neat with perhaps the barest whisper of water. Many people don’t like the touch of oak in reposado or anejo spirits (or are somehow fascinated by sipping vodka)… for these, Baron is a great buy. In cocktails, it still shows strongly but perhaps more subdued in some ways. With an outstanding presentation in the bottle, this is a very smart buy if you’re reaching for the top of the shelf.

Now, the details.

Barón Platinum tequila bills itself as a premium, sipping tequila and has the price point to prove it (a bit over $50). We guess that the accent over the “o” in Barón suggests emphasis on the second syllable leading to a kind of European lilt “bar – OWN” with perhaps a slight roll of the tongue. Very suave. We will ignore the accent mark from this point forward—with apologies to the brand—because it makes it hard for the English speaking world to search for it on the internet.

Baron comes with promises of 10yr aged agave plants at harvest (typical is 7-9) which implies a fuller maturity and higher sugar content. They use organic processes and small batch distillation, meaning they take especial care in getting the right type of alcohol off the still. What this all means to you is a smoother, purer, more authentic flavor profile than mass-market tequila.

The bottle, by the way, is gorgeous. It’s beautiful looking on the bar and a great prestige piece. If one is going to sip tequila from a snifter (instead of shoot it from a shot glass) then it needs a bottle to match the setting—no question here.

But does the inside of the bottle match the outside? To find out, we tested it against mass-market (but still 100% agave) tequilas. We used the 1800 silver—because it should at least beat that since it’s half the price—and Patron Silver since the world (or at least music videos) seems to regard it as the premium tequila of choice and coming in at about the same price point. Most people who bother to try top shelf tequila will probably have some passing familiarity with these brands so they make good comparisons.

As ever, we tried each tequila in several different settings to get the feel. Here follows is a chart showing our unbridled, unrestrained thoughts during each setting.


1800 Silver

Patron Silver

Baron Platinum


Unadorned in the glass is the best way to get a chance to acquaint one’s self with a spirit. Don’t be afraid to add a touch of ice.

Nice smell of warm, buttery agave. It has a nice, sweet entry (perhaps even sweetened a touch) and a warming finish. Competent. A little ice water lightens it a bit.

In contrast, a softer agave and much more of a wine-like aroma. Oily entry with a little fruit… less sweet and a bitter finish. Much more of a sipping tequila. Water brings out the oil and bitterness more.

A mix of the agave and the wine… very soft and lovely on the palate. Just a touch of warm, bitterness on the finish. The difference is in the lingering finish of the agave. Water smooths out the flavor profile but does not necessarily improve it. Becomes feathery light with water… mixed with clouds.

Clear Winner: if one likes to sip white spirits, this will please you.

El Diablo

This is a classic offshoot of the Moscow Mule cocktail with a touch of berry that should go well with the notional citrus of a blanco tequila. (We used a recipe from Imbibe.) 1½oz tequila; ½oz crème de cassis (we cheated and used Cedilla); ½oz lime juice; topped with 2-3oz ginger beer.

This didn’t drown the tequila for a second… in fact, it enhanced the agave flavor. Very surprising. An explosion of flavors. There’s a bit of a war here between the ginger and the agave. This one finishes as an adventure but exciting or no not necessarily one we’d order again.

A bit of bitterness comes out in the Patron but with much softer agave flavors than the Cuervo. Soft and nice. Much more pleasurable than the 1800.

Very slight winner to Patron simply because the Baron vanished too easily into the drink. Those who don’t like the taste of alcohol will prefer Baron.

The Baron agave is softer than the Cuervo in this drink and much more drinkable… still not exactly good. But much better.



We only make them one way: classic. 1½oz tequila; ½oz lime juice; ½oz of agave syrup; shaken on ice. 

Makes a damned fine margarita. Nothing wrong at all, here. This is a tremendous value tequila.

It’s different… much smoother on the front end. A touch of bitterness on the back. Very smooth and nice… perhaps not worth the uptick in price.

Not a strong distinction between the two. In fact, we did a Proof66 lab test (10 blind trials in random order) and ended up at 50%. The drink is good… quite good.

Very slight winner to the Baron. Really, this was a tie as our trials show but the style and prestige that comes with a small-batch tequila better matches the setting of a classically made margarita.


What have we learned?

As always, you can find great value in down-market 100% agave tequila. There’s nothing bad about the 1800. Additionally, while it’s fun to shower scorn on big-market brands, the Patron is quite competent as well. But for true style points, we find that the Baron does indeed edge out the Patron and soundly beats the 1800. If you’re willing to spend the extra dollars for a sipping tequila, it’s an easy choice. If you’re going to mix designer cocktails, the Baron slides easily (sometimes too easily) into tastes as divergent as citrus, ginger, and tart berry. For the style of the bottle, the quality of the spirit, and the story of the production, this is a rock-solid tequila top to bottom.

[Disclosures: we received a bottle of Baron free of charge to review; all other products mentioned were purchased ourselves.]

by Neal MacDonald, Editor

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