What Exactly Is Mezcal
Real tequila is made from blue agave and only in specific regions of Mexico. When it comes to mezcal, these guidelines are not followed. Mezcal has a smoky and much harsher taste than tequila because it is made from the more common maguey plant.
Now back to tequila. It takes about a decade for agave to mature. And once mature, the heart of the agave is full of the good stuff fermentable fructose. The juice is squeezed from the heart of the agave before being fermented, distilled, and, in the case of añejo varieties of tequila, aged.
The aging process allows the wood to come into play with the flavors of the agave, as well as the mysterious influence of the desert itself. Exactly how this works is the domain of master tequila makers. Its the kind of secret passed down within families for centuries.
Is Tequila The Same As Mezcal
Tequila and Mezcal follow what is commonly known as the Bourbon Rule:
All Tequila is Mezcal, but not all Mezcal is Tequila.
This “rule” above is due to the criteria required to make a Mezcal vs. Tequila. You see, Mezcal can be made anywhere in Mexico with over 30 styles of agave plants used. Tequila must be made in one of five designated areas of Mexico and made only from the blue agave plant.
What Is The Number One Tequila
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What Tequila Is The Smoothest
What is the smoothest tequila you can find? Many people believe that Ocho Aejo Tequila is the smoothest tequila available. This estate-grown spirit brand also holds the distinction of being the first ever Tequila vintage. The Aejo is rich and vegetal, with notes of vanilla and caramel, and it has been matured in ex-American whiskey barrels for a year to achieve its flavor profile.
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How To Drink Extra Anejo Tequila
Extra Añejo is best consumed neat, at room temperature in a fluted glass. After observing its aroma for a bit, it’s best to partake in small sips. Let each sip sit in your mouth for a bit, until it reaches closer to your body temperature. During your tasting experience, you can expect intense oak notes, similar to that of a bourbon, as well as cooked agave and rich buttery-sweet notes.
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The Artists Behind Jose Cuervo’s 2023 Reserva De La Familia Extra Aejo Box
In order for tequila to qualify as “Extra Añejo,” it must be aged in an oak barrel for at least three years, substantially more mature than Blanco, Reposado, or standard Añejo tequilas. The Extra Añejo category was only officially created in 2006 , so it’s a pretty new sector of the spirits world but Jose Cuervo has been crafting tequila for more than 250 years. In 1758, King Fernand VI of Spain gave José Antonio de Cuervo y Valdés land for planting agave, making Jose Cuervo the first tequila producer in the world. Today, Jose Cuervo is the world’s best-selling tequila, reports VinePair, and the company continues to make tequila in the town of Tequila in Jalisco, Mexico in Latin America’s oldest active distillery.
Now, according to a press release sent to Tasting Table, Jose Cuervo is celebrating its history with the new Reserva de la Familia 2023 collectors box. Meet the artists who designed it.
Best Extra Aejo Tequilas: Full Reviews
Last Updated on December 29, 2022 by Lydia Martin
When an añejo is aged longer, it becomes a more exceptional spirit. It has a strong scent that introduces quality and a palate that tells a story of how it was made. It also offers a finish that lingers even after it has been swallowed.
Here are the best Extra Añejo tequilas you can try for your afternoon relaxation sessions.
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How Do You Mix Tequila
Tequila is a wonderful spirit that can be enjoyed straight, on the rocks, or in a cocktail. While the margarita is probably the most well-known Tequila cocktail, there are many more options out there for you to experience.
Head over to our Tequila Cocktails page to see all of our recipes and try a new one out this week!
What Does Tequila Taste Like
The flavor will differ by the maker of the Tequila and the type/style of Tequila. However, there are some familiar flavors among the distinctive styles.
For example, Blanco Tequila will contain some citrus and spice notes. Joven Tequilas will taste like Blanco but a bit sweeter. Anejo Tequila will be sugary and caramelized due to the additional barrel-aging process required when producing Anejo.
The best way to find which flavor appeals to you most is to try different styles and brands until you find your favorite!
Visit our Types of Tequila page to shop different producers of your favorite styles!
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Pairing Food With Aejo & Extra Aejo Tequila
Considering these bottles are the heaviest-bodied and flavoured examples of tequila on the market, they are often best paired with foods and dishes that contain similarly strong flavours. By far the best general food pairing option for aÃ±ejo and extra aÃ±ejo tequilas is to match them with steaks and other juicy red meats that have also been well marinated or sauced in herbs or spices. For specific dish recommendations, consider a grilled wagyu steak or lamb shank that has been coated in spices, as these two meats are full flavoured and complement well with a complex aged tequila.
Other Aliases: Gold Oro
This smaller category of tequila can be tricky to navigate in your local liquor store. Gold tequila often refers to mixto tequila, which is made by adding sugar, colorings, flavorings, oak extracts or glycerin in order to emulate aged reposados and añejos. Because these tequilas arent made with 100 percent agave, the entire category tends to demand lower prices than honestly aged tequila.
On the other hand, joven tequila is made by blending a majority of blanco with a smaller cut of aged tequila without the added sugars and flavorings commonly found in Gold. Combining several types of tequila produces a nuanced product reminiscent of blended scotch. Joven is particularly adept in cocktails as it provides the bright citrus of blanco and the vibrant character of rested tequila all in one neat package. Give joven a try if you happen upon a bottle, but chances are slim that your local corner shop will stock this relatively rare variety.
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Best Under $: El Tequileo Reposado
Courtesy of Total Wine
Region: Jalisco | ABV: 40% | Tasting Notes: Agave, Baking spice, Vanilla, Pineapple
You can still taste the lovely green and cooked agave amid the baking spice notes and vanilla that come out of the barrel-aging process, says Jamie Gordon, managing partner at Albuquerque, New Mexicos Artichoke Cafe, of this iconic reposado. I get a little pineapple, too, which is one of those flavors youre always happy to find in a spirit.
Gordon also likes El Tequileños story. Founded in 1959 by Don Jorge Salles Cuervo, the brand is now under the watchful eye of third-generation master distiller, Jorge Antonio Salles. Its the exclusive tequila produced at Jaliscos La Guarreña distillery. It has a history of place, says Gordon, and, most importantly, its delicious.
Best Gift: Casa Dragones Aejo Barrel Blend
Courtesy of Casa Dragones
Region: Jalisco | ABV: 40% | Tasting Notes: Pepper, Nuts, Oak
Our job as bar pros is to be skeptical, but when I took the first sip, I was like, Oh, this is divine, says Chasse. A lot of bottles that people think about for gifting are on the sweeter side, but this one is not super sweet. Instead, the aging program, in both new French and new American oak, lends it complexity and balance.
Chasse finds plenty of peppery spice, nuttiness and a hint of cacao but with a lush mouthfeel that makes Casa Dragones tequila feel luxurious. Its sleek, charcoal-colored bottle and turquoise box present the kind of packaging that makes it giftable without wrapping paper.
What Does Aejo Tequila Taste Like
Aged tequila is smooth with very little taste of alcohol. You still get the agave, but the overall flavors of añejo tequila are smoked oak, vanilla, caramel, and spices.
Here are a few tips for enhancing the flavor of añejos:
1. Dont chill it. Okay, if you really want to, its acceptable, but we dont recommend it. Chilling tequila masks aromas and dulls your sense of taste. This can prevent all the flavors from fully coming through. But if you must chill your tequila, use an ice cube.
2. Try an añejo with your dessert or with your spicy dishes. Aged tequilas tend to highlight the flavors of sweet foods while cutting the heat of spicy dishes.
3. Store your tequila properly. Tequila doesnt spoil, but it does evaporate. We suggest storing tequila in a glass bottle with a good seal. Keep it out of direct sunlight, as too much sunlight can cause the tequila to lose some of the characteristic flavors.
How To Drink Extra Aejo
Extra Añejo tequila can be drunk neat. Its smooth and flavorful taste is best enjoyed when sipped. It allows you to experience the plethora of flavors from the nose down the throat.
It is also a tasty drink on the rocks. It is not advisable to use this variant in a mixed drink as you will waste its savory taste, which was acquired over years of aging.
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Mexicos Best And Most High
Extra Anejo tequila is best had neat, unlike many of its counterparts.
When it comes to making spirits, theres no denying that theres varying quality. From cheap $5 a bottle wine to seven figures bottles of the finest whisky, the range at which alcohol exists is astounding. However, there are some kinds that transcend just being a bottle to share with friends and family theyre a way of life.
Many cultures are associated with a specific spirit: Mediterranean people love their wine, Germans can never get enough beer, and the Russians know their vodka inside and out. But sometimes, it can go far beyond that, and become both a sacred symbol of what you are and your most prized commodity. For Mexicans, tequila is one of those cases.
Whether you like it with lime and salt, paired with some sangrita, or served neat, tequila is a special kind of spirit. Its a protected industry, otherwise known as having a Geographical Indication , meaning that only real tequila can be made in Mexico, just like how only Scotch Whisky can be made in Scotland. You can tell if your booze is legit by a small seal on the bottle.
QUI Rare, like many of the tequilas on this list, features a dark amber color, more reminiscent of … whisky or brandy than tequila.
Clase Azul’s bottles are all beautiful works of art on their own: this one is inlaid with pure … platinum, sterling silver and 24-carat gold.
La Adelita Extra Anejo has one of the more unique smell and taste profiles on the list.
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Vicki Denig is a wine, spirits, and travel journalist who splits her time between New York and Paris. Her work regularly appears in major industry publications. She is the content creator and social media manager for a list of prestigious clients, including Sopexa, Paris Wine Company, Becky Wasserman, Volcanic Selections, Le Dus Wines, Windmill Wine & Spirits and Corkbuzz. She is a Certified Specialist of Wine.
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What To Look For
When seeking out a good Añejo tequila, Dunn recommends looking for one with bold and unique characteristics. There are so many tequilas floating around these days that are pumped full of additives, so I try to stay away from any Añejo that are overly sweet and taste like artificial vanilla or cotton candy, he says. Dunne advises looking for Añejos that have rich, natural colors, as well as those that show notes of roasted agave and black pepper, as well as natural barrel spices such as caramel, chocolate, vanilla, and oak. I don’t ever want the agave to be a background player it’s tequila, so it should taste like agave, he states.
Exploring Aejo And Extra Aejo Tequila
Tequila is more popular in the United States than it ever has been before. The agave category has surpassed American whiskey in US sales, and its momentum seems set to only increase from here. So its never too late to get a proper introduction to the specifics.
The classification of tequila is governed by the Consejo Regulador del Tequila, says David Ravandi, owner of 123 Organic Tequila and creator of El Luchador Tequila. The CRT, as its known, is a frequent source of conversation among tequila enthusiasts, but suffice it to say that it has authority on the regulations involved.
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How Do You Pick A Good Tequila
good TequilachooseAll calorie amounts below are for 1.5 fl oz shots.
- Don Julio Blanco 96 calories, 40% ABV.
- Jose Cuervo Tradicional Silver Tequila 96 cal, 40% ABV.
- Espolòn Blanco Tequila 97 cal, 40% ABV.
- Avion Silver 97 cal, 40% ABV.
- Patrón Silver Tequila 98 cal, 40% ABV.
- Milagro Tequila 100 cal, 40% ABV.
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Other Aliases: Extra Aged Vintage
If you leave tequila in the barrel for longer than a reposado, it becomes an añejo. Aged one to three years, añejo tequila takes on even more character from the wood, proving that true distinction comes with age. The barrel size for añejo tequila is limited to 600 liters, so every drop gets a decent amount of interaction with the wood.
That extra time intensifies the colors and notes of a reposado, darkens the tequila even further and produces a richer taste. Often, añejos move beyond the intenseand occasionally harshbite of young tequila when acidic tones are replaced with sugary, caramelized ones. Thats not to say añejo cant have some edge. For example, we love spiking our horchata with Riazul Añejo because of its distinct funky notes of nuts, coffee and honey.
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Best Reposado: Siete Leguas Reposado
Courtesy of Drizly.com
Region: Jalisco | ABV: 40% | Tasting Notes: Baking spices, Vanilla, Slate, Shale
Like many bartenders, Chasse considers this reposado from Siete Leguas her favorite tequila in general, regardless of the expression. The distillery where its made uses a mix of grinding methods: efficient roller mill and traditional tahona, a millstone carved from volcanic rock. The result: A nice balance between sustainability and the wonderful qualities of earthiness from the more fibrous milling of the tahona, she says.
With its mix of minerality, wood-driven vanilla notes and baking-spice panache, this versatile reposado is perfect to sip on anytime along with many different types of foods, says Chasse. It just makes my heart happy.
Don Julio 70 Aejo Claro
Liquor.com / Tim Nusog
One of the first cristalino expressions to hit the market, this tequila was released in 2011 to commemorate founder Don Julio Gonzalezs entry into tequila making 70 years earlier. The liquid is aged for 18 months in American white oak barrels before being charcoal-filtered to remove its color. This premium tequila is best enjoyed neat or on the rocks, and when you take a sip, you can expect notes of vanilla, honey and toasted oak alongside green herbs and minerals. But if youd like to mix Don Julio 70 into a cocktail, the brand suggests a simple drink of cristalino tequila and sparkling water, served tall with ice, to preserve the spirits integrity.
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Tears Of Llorona Extra Aejo
|Clase Azul Reposado, Don Julio 1942
Its dark color tells that this is no ordinary tequila and its flavor approves. Tears of Llorona has great depth and layers of complexity from the different barrels in which it was aged.
Tears of Llorona has a light mouthfeel with almost no burn. It offers a smoky and oaky note perfectly balanced with sweet and spicy notes making a great sipping tequila.
The finish is a bit short but the higher proof receives an additional point.
Tears of Llorona was aged for almost 5 years in Scotch, sherry and cognac barrels before blending. While most tequilas are bottled at 80 proof, this is a nice 86 proof but does not bite.
This is not only a great Extra Añejo but one of the Best Tequilas you can buy today!
El Tesoro Paradiso Extra Aejo
|Don Julio 1942
Nose is rich in tropical fruit, with hints of roasted agave and wood.
On the palate, Paradiso Extra Añejo tastes like agave and sweet tropical fruits at first, followed by cinnamon and nutmeg hints.
There is some minerality and earthiness providing a good balance against the fruity notes.
The finish is long, rich is caramel with a bit of pepper coming late to the party.
El Tesoro Paradiso ages for up to 5 years in ex-cognac barrels. This is a layered, complex and quite delicious Tequila.
It lacks a bit in body, but overall this is an incredibly tasty yet smooth dram.
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