Produced in partnership with Anheuser-Busch, CACTI launched with three flavors: Lime, Pineapple, and Strawberry. As hard seltzers go, things read a little more charged in the nutritional info column than market leaders like White Claw and Truly. Each 12-ounce pour clocks in at 7 percent ABV, and contains 150 calories and 3 grams of carbohydrates.
Other than those digits, CACTI’s seltzers don’t stray too far from the by-now tried and true “hard” formula. Press releases from the brand cited Scott’s love of tequila as the inspiration for the line, but CACTI gains its buzz from cold-fermented cane sugar, just like most hard seltzers, rather than tequila.
Where wording on CACTI cans mentions the beverage is made with “100 percent premium blue agave from Mexico,” it’s a reference to the ingredient’s use as a flavoring and sweetener, rather than an alcohol base.
As one of the most-hyped hard seltzers of the year so far, VinePair was excited to test the range for ourselves and to share our tasting notes. Here are all of the CACTI Agave Spiked Seltzer flavors, reviewed and ranked.
The vibrant strawberry aromas of this release are unmistakable, though they skew much closer to strawberry cream candy than freshly picked fruit. Otherwise, some faint citrus aromas poke out, but the agave influence is notable in its absence. Straight-up candied strawberry defines the palate, and each sip is rich but also crushable. Once again, there’s almost no agave flavor, though there is a noticeable sweetness compared to most hard seltzers.
Bursts of lime zest and lime oil kick things off, followed by a sweet undercurrent of vanilla and agave syrup aromas. The bright citrus fruit then continues onto the palate. It’s not quite as fresh as the nose but there is a nice balance of sweet, sour, and tart notes. A hint of bitterness on the finish might lead some to crave a little extra agave syrup in this one.
Of the three releases, this flavor stands out as the most interesting and complex. Intense pineapple notes lead the nose, with a hint of pineapple husk and some green, earthy agave notes. The same rings true on the palate, with the pineapple notes tasting layered, and delivering vibrant, refreshing sips. Once again, there’s a bitterness to the finish, but it weaves in more seamlessly with the concentrated pineapple flavors.
All in all, it’s a case of horses for courses with CACTI’s lineup. The lime flavor is the lightest and arguably most refreshing of the trio; the strawberry flavor will appeal to anyone with a sweeter tooth and to those who are not too concerned about the difference between natural and “natural” flavors; and the pineapple flavor is the most nuanced and the best all-rounder.
The bitter finish present across the board may be due to the brewing process, the higher than normal alcohol content, or a mix of the two. Unquestionably, each would benefit from not having this note.
The sheer popularity of Travis Scott ensures that many will go out and try this new hard seltzer line. In time, we’ll see whether drinkers keep coming back for more in the same way so many do with White Claw and Truly. Our verdict is likely not — but we’ve been wrong before.