How does aging affect a tequila? How do the experts judge and categorize aged tequilas? Do I need to buy an expensive anejo tequila? We hope to answer these questions and more as we equip you with the knowledge to make a smart tequila purchase.
What does Aging do to a Tequila?
Tequila is aged for varying amounts of time in wooden casks. The wood, typically oak, mellows the strong alcoholic and sometimes bitter flavor of the plant from which tequila is distilled – the blue agave. Furthermore, aging allows the deeper and more sophisticated tones of the blue agave to emerge for the tequila sipper’s enjoyment. Generally speaking, the longer a tequila is aged the more refined its flavor will be. Be careful, though, since in contrast to a fine wine or even a nice scotch whiskey aging a tequila more than about 3 years may not necessarily make a tequila any “finer.”
How are Types of Aged Tequila Classified?
Blanco/Silver: An unaged tequila or one aged for less than 2 months is known as “Blanco” or “Silver” tequila. The strong, bright, and intense alcoholic agave flavor of an unaged blanco tequila like Dos Lunas Silver Tequila makes it less common for sipping but a more common choice for mixed drinks like margaritas and tequila sunrises since its flavor stands out. See our past post on How to Make Margaritas from Scratch.
Reposado: Tequilas are aged between 2 months and a year are known as reposado or “rested” tequilas. Though more commonly sipped than blanco tequilas, reposados like Clase Azul Reposado Tequila retain some of the harsher tones of the distilled agave, as the full flavor of the wood has still not fully emerged. They allow for a less expensive yet traditionally less refined tequila sipping experience. That said, some conoisseurs actually prefer a reposado or silver to an anejo tequila.
Anejo: It’s no surprise that tequila sipping culture revolves around the anejo tequila, aged over a year in wooden casks. The alcohol and agave flavor of this tequila has been mellowed and refined
by the wood of the aging casks, bringing out a darker and milder blue agave flavor. Tasters and connoisseurs flock to anejo tequilas for the incredibly unique elements of spice, fruit, tobacco, wood, smoke, and heaven knows what else they find in these fine tequilas. The color of the tequila is also notably darkened during the aging process. We’ll steer you to our partners TEQUILA.net for awesome reviews on classic anejos like Don Julio 1942 Anejo Tequila.
Extra Anejo: Less common yet even more refined are the extra anejo tequilas, which are aged at least 3 years. Though a relatively recent creation (only produced in the past decade) these are the “grandaddy’s” of tequilas, selling in the hundreds and even thousands of dollars. If you want to impress your friends with an amazing bottle, check out the finer of these extra anejos here at our online spirits store.
Which should I choose?
Of course, this depends on your purpose in buying. Generally speaking, a nice anejo tequila makes a great gift idea, yet can cost upwards of $70. You’ll also want to purchase an anejo if you want a classic tequila sipping experience. Get a reposado if you’re looking for a nice experience but don’t want to pay up for the glamour of an anejo, or perhaps if you like more of a bright alcoholic flavor. Finally, purchase a blanco tequila if you plan to whip up some mixed drinks or are on a budget. Though a bit harsher, you’ll want a tequila that people can taste through the sugars of a Tequila Sunrise.
We hope you’ll check out our online spirits store to see if any of our tequilas fit what you’re looking for!