Don Julio Tequila is one of the most famous and beloved brands of tequila out there. Founded in 1942 by Don Julio Gonzalez, it has a storied past and widespread recognition. However, it’s important to note that the Don Julio we know today is not owned by the same family anymore; it was acquired by Diageo, a multinational corporation. In this article, we’ll explore Don Julio and introduce you to three alternative tequila brands that offer a delightful and authentic experience.
Don Julio Tequila: A Brief History
Don Julio Gonzalez, the visionary behind Don Julio, was responsible for numerous innovations in tequila making. However, despite its historical significance, the brand has evolved since its inception. Today, it seems to rely more on its name and legacy than on the quality of its product. Don Julio Blanco, a popular offering, is often found in larger bottles and typically costs between $45 and $55. Unfortunately, the taste of Don Julio Blanco falls short of the robust and complex flavors that tequila enthusiasts seek. It tends to be rather flat, with a dominant alcohol flavor and muted agave notes, lacking the boldness tequila is known for. And if i had to guess id have to say there are probably additives in all Don Julio Products
Siete Leguas: A Worthy Contender
Siete Leguas, a tequila brand founded just a decade after the original Don Julio Distillery, is a remarkable alternative. It boasts a rich history, producing authentic, additive-free tequila. Siete Leguas was even the original producer of the tequila brand known as Patron. Geographically, it is produced in the same region as Don Julio. With a price range similar to Don Julio Blanco, typically ranging from $45 to $65, Siete Leguas offers a true taste of traditional tequila.
Siete Leguas Reposado, for instance, offers roasted agave flavors, along with hints of black pepper, caramel, oak, and citrus. It’s a delightful tequila that remains true to its roots, making it a worthy choice for those seeking genuine tequila experiences.
Volans: A New Player in the Game
Volans, while relatively new to the market, is another tequila brand to consider. Produced at the same distillery as Hey Cuatro, a highly regarded tequila, Volans offers a similar level of quality. It provides an easier-to-find and more affordable alternative to Hey Cuatro, which can be pricier and harder to locate. A bottle of Volans Blanco typically costs around $55 and is confirmed as additive-free by Tequila Matchmaker.
Volans Blanco is known for its unique minerality, featuring roasted agave flavors combined with savory and slightly salty notes from the water used in its production. This complexity, accompanied by hints of spice and citrus, makes it a versatile choice for both cocktails and sipping.
Lalo: Honoring Tradition and Legacy
Eduardo “Lalo” Gonzalez, the grandson of the original Don Julio, sought to revive his family’s legacy with Lalo Tequila. Lalo is committed to producing authentic tequila with a spirit of tradition. Confirmed as additive-free by Tequila Matchmaker and priced similarly to Don Julio Blanco (between $45 and $55), Lalo offers a compelling alternative.
Lalo Blanco showcases incredible roasted agave flavors, a pleasant spiciness, and hints of pepper, citrus zest, earthy cinnamon, and vanilla. It is ideal for margaritas or sipping on its own. Choosing Lalo over the current Don Julio brand is a way to honor the heritage and essence of tequila-making.
While Don Julio has undoubtedly made its mark in the world of tequila, it’s essential to consider the evolution of the brand. With alternatives like Siete Leguas, Volans, and Lalo, you have the opportunity to experience the true essence of tequila-making, with brands that prioritize authenticity and flavor over mere popularity. Whether you’re sipping tequila neat or crafting cocktails, exploring these alternatives can lead to a more rewarding and genuine tequila experience. In the end, it’s not just about the name; it’s about the taste and the legacy of the spirit itself.