A good Tequila brings people together; a great Tequila brings them together to discuss, compare and cherish the many flavours, tones and profiles available in every sip. With that being said, a great tequila will only intrigue the palate of an experienced tequila aficionado who can tell the difference between an artisan Reposado and a shot of Añejo. To the untrained drinker, they’d taste the same. When you’re sampling various blends from across the tequila spectrum it’s important to know what to look out for. Want to learn the ins and outs of different tequilas and the flavour profile they bring to the table. Read on to learn more.
The Five Classes
There are five official classes of tequila that are determined by their aging process, a Blanco is an unaged tequila and is 100% translucent, while an Extra Añejo (literally “ultra aged”) takes on a dark bronze tint after being aged for three years minimum up to five years. All five classes are: Blanco, Reposado, Añejo, Extra Añejo and Cristalino. Think of the aging process this way, tequilas that are aged for a shorter period of time are known to be less expensive and easier on the palate. Blanco tequila is in its purest form while a Resposado, Añejo and Extra Añejo tequilas age and take on more complex flavour profiles.
Blanco tequila is the purest form of tequila since it’s not stored or aged in oak or wooden barrels like other tequilas, it’s also only aged up to two months. Herbal forward with notes of citrus and pepper and slight agave sweetness, Blanco tequilas are known to be the most sophisticated of the group. A true tequila aficionado will appreciate the notes of a Blanco tequila, while an inexperienced drinker might not enjoy it’s full profile. Added to cocktails or sipped neat, a Blanco tequila is the drink of choice. Want to test it out? Try our Strawberry Rhubarb Margarita made with Cazadores blanco.
Resposado tequila is a nice blend of warm sweetness with a weighty undertone, aged between two months to one year. Golden in colour it boasts sweet notes of wood and vanilla. Being aged in an oak barrel for a short period of time Resposado tequila has a slight oaky and smoky flavour. Though the agave profile is still present, it is dialed down compared to a Blanco. You’ll find this type of tequila to be on the sweeter side as well and it’s perfect for sipping solo or using in mixed drinks. [Cadillac Margarita - El Tequileño reposado]
Añejo & Extra Añejo
Just like wine, tequilas do get better with age and down the list of classes of tequila comes, Añejo. Translating to “old” an Añejo tequila is aged from one to three years in oak barrels. They are often more oak-forward in flavour and boast notes of vanilla, caramel and black pepper. Richer in nature an Añejo tequila is usually used for sipping but it can also be used for more stronger profile drinks. We use Añejo tequila in this cocktail….
After Añejo tequila comes Extra Añejo, or ultra aged. This tequila sits in an oak barrel for a minimum of three years and boasts a richer flavour than its former Añejo. With notes of caramel, vanilla and spices Extra Añejo is also known to be more expensive and reserved for solo sipping; you’ll want to appreciate all the flavour notes on their own.
Last but not least, is Cristalino tequila. These tequilas are matured in oak before going through a charcoal filtering process that removes natural colours and some of the oakier notes added in the barreling process. They boast honey, almond and coconut-like flavours but have less of a bite than your typical blanco tequila. The Cristalino tequila is also meant to be sipped rather than used in a cocktail.
Now that you’re well versed in all classes of tequila, come visit us for a tequila tasting! You’ll be a connoisseur in no time.