You are currently viewing Tequila facts: Part 2 – Types

Tequila facts: Part 2 – Types

Even if you haven’t yet studied tequila and its forms of presentation too intensively, you might have noticed one thing from afar: not all tequila is the same, depending on age and storage, its colour changes – and so does its taste. Here, too, the Mexican tequila authority has the say; it distinguishes between the following qualities:


Flowery, fresh, agave and a little spicy – if the tequila is bottled directly after distillation or if it is stored for a maximum of 2 months in steel barrels or neutral oak barrels before bottling, it can be sold as a blanco. A good blanco tastes great neat at room temperature; it needs neither salt nor lemon. Of course, you can also prepare great cocktails and long drinks with a blanco.


If the tequila is stored in oak barrels (mostly French oak or white oak) for between 2 and 11 months after distillation, it is called a reposado, which can be translated as “rested”. Reposados have a golden colour, the agave aromas of the blanco are joined by a subtle woody note, and the overall flavour profile becomes somewhat softer than that of the blanco. Over the period of storage, some of the water also evaporates, which is why the Reposado is diluted back to the desired alcohol content with drinking water before bottling. As with the blanco, the myth of orange and cinnamon to “golden” tequila is a marketing ploy from Europe with no relation to Mexican drinking culture, so enjoy your reposado straight!


If the tequila lies in barrels for between 1 and 3 years, it is called añejo. Its colour is much darker than that of the reposado and leans towards amber. The wood aromas become stronger, but also the aromas of the agave develop. In addition, there are smoky notes, as well as caramel and vanilla. When stored for more than 3 years, the añejo gains the prefix extra. Depending on the time the tequila spends in the barrel, it becomes darker and softer.


Mixto tequilas are the exception, which was already mentioned in part 1. To be called mixto, the tequila must consist of just 51% Weber blue agave. The rest of the sugar needed for fermentation is added. Sugar cane, corn or grain are usually used for this purpose, as they are much cheaper to grow than agave. The bad reputation of tequila is mainly due to the mixto tequilas (you probably all know this one tequila brand with the red hat). Also, the supposed tradition of drinking tequila with salt and lemon is actually a marketing invention by the mixto industry to help mask the poor quality of the spirit’s taste. Originally, the mixto was a temporary solution by the Mexican tequila authority to ensure that enough tequila could be produced in years of poor harvests despite low yields.

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