Tequila is more than just a shot with salt and lime. It’s a complex spirit with a rich history and a variety of flavors. And if you’re a tequila lover, you’ve probably come across three terms that describe the different types of tequila: Blanco, Reposado, and Añejo. But what do they mean, and how do they impact the taste of the tequila you’re sipping on?
In this post, we’ll take a deep dive into the world of tequila aging and explore the differences between Blanco, Reposado, and Añejo types of tequila. We’ll uncover the secrets of aging, the impact of the barrel on the tequila, and how to choose the perfect tequila for your personal taste. So, whether you’re a seasoned tequila drinker or a newcomer to the world of agave spirits, sit back, pour yourself a glass, and get ready to discover the magic of aged tequila.
Before we get into the different expressions of tequila, we need to first understand why are spirits aged at all. Aging a spirit is the process of placing it in a wooden barrel for a period of time, allowing it to take on some of the flavors from the wood inside. Unaged spirits can be quite harsh, so aging was initially used to smoothen the raw taste. However, this isn’t necessarily the case with tequila, as unaged tequila is quite popular.
Blanco tequila is the most raw and honest expression of what the master distiller wanted to achieve with the tequila. It’s unaged, meaning it hasn’t been in contact with wood and is a clear, blanco-looking liquid. It has a clear or “blanco” appearance, and its taste is characterized by the distinct vegetal, earthy notes of the agave plant. Blanco tequila is typically used for cocktails, such as margaritas, due to its bold flavor profile.
Technically, for a tequila to be called Blanco, it needs to spend anywhere between zero and two months in a barrel. However, there are some exceptions, such as Montagave Blanco tequila, which is rested in bordeaux barrels from France, giving it a pinkish-orange color.
Reposado tequila is rested in a barrel for anywhere between two months and a year, resulting in a slightly darker color than Blanco tequila. Reposado tequila provides the best of both worlds, blending the raw flavor of Blanco tequila with the aged notes of the barrel. It’s the perfect choice if you’re looking for a wholly unique aging process in spirits.
Finally, Añejo tequila is aged in a barrel for at least one year, giving it a much darker color and a smooth, rich flavor. Anejo tequila is the perfect choice for those who want the distinct taste of tequila blended with the warm notes of a barrel.
Extra Añejo Tequila
In addition to the three main types of tequila, there are also extra añejo tequilas, which are aged for more than three years.
Extra Añejo tequilas are a relatively new category of tequila that was introduced in 2006 by the Tequila Regulatory Council (CRT) in Mexico. To be classified as an Extra Añejo, the tequila must be aged for a minimum of three years in oak barrels that have a maximum capacity of 600 liters.
The extended aging process gives them a dark color, rich and complex flavors, and a smooth texture. The oak barrels used for aging the tequila impart notes of vanilla, caramel, chocolate, and spice, and the longer the tequila is aged, the more pronounced these flavors become.
Tequila is a versatile spirit that can be enjoyed in a variety of ways. Whether you prefer the boldness of blanco tequila, the smoothness of reposado tequila, or the complexity of anejo tequila, there’s a tequila out there for everyone. So, next time you’re enjoying a tequila cocktail, take a moment to appreciate the unique flavor profile that each type of tequila brings to the table.