The spirit of Mexico, Tequila is predominantly produced in the state of Jalisco on the west coast of the country. It’s made with the Blue Weber agave, a plant that takes between five and eight years to fully mature.
Tequila producers are legally required to only use agave for a minimum of 51% of the spirit’s blend; the rest can be made up of other sugars such as cane sugar or corn syrup. Those that do use these alternative sugars are termed ‘mixto’ Tequilas.
But if you want to appreciate the full agave flavour in a Tequila, focus on those products that are labelled ‘100% agave’.
Tequila has different age classifications for its products – blanco, añejo and reposado – depending on how much time the spirit spends in barrel. Reposado translates as ‘rested’, and is defined as being aged in oak for at least two months but less than a year.
Eight of the best Reposado Tequilas to try
Cleo Rocos of TV’s The Kenny Everett Video Show fame is a bona fide Tequila lover, and AquaRiva is her brand, specifically created with cocktails in mind. The reposado is aged for a minimum of six months in ex-American whiskey barrels. Sweet caramel and delicate honeysuckle intermingle with cooked agave, lemon and cinnamon. Alc 40%
Created by George Clooney, Rande Gerber and Mike Meldman in collaboration with a master distiller, the story goes that Casamigos was initially intended to be served to friends and family in the three friends’ Mexican homes. Aged for seven months in American white oak barrels, the nose boasts caramel, green and peppery agave aromas, and cocoa powder. On the palate, further caramel sweetness is joined by violets, black pepper and sweet spices. Alc 40%
Don Julio Reposado
With its distinct squat bottles, Don Julio is revered by Tequila lovers for the quality of its liquid. Its reposado is aged for eight months in American white oak barrels. Flavours of desiccated coconut, cinnamon, lemon, butterscotch and vanilla lead onto a toffee apple and raisin finish. Alc 40%
The tiny distillery of Fortaleza in Tequila town is a living history of how Tequila used to be made, with everything imaginable done by hand. The reposado is aged in American oak, with the length of ageing stated on the bottle of each batch. The oak’s influence is clear with vanilla fudge ringing out, along with sweet agave characters. Ripe peach and nectarines are underlaid with an earthy terracotta note and dusty tannins. Alc 40%
While blanco is the leading product sold by most Tequila producers, for Herradura it’s the reposado, which constitutes 70% of the brand’s sales. Aged for 11 months in American oak barrels, it’s creamy up-front, with fruity pineapple, pear and unripe banana, sweet demerara sugar, macadamia nuts and a drying finish with dried chilli flakes. Alc 40%
Jose Cuervo Reserva de la Familia Reposado
The Reserva de la Familia label denotes the super-premium products of Cuervo’s range. Its reposado is aged for six months in three different barrel types: French oak, and two American oak barrels treated with a different char. The nose is chalky and earthy, with top notes of fresh lemon, orange blossom and jasmine. The chalk continues on the soft, easy-drinking palate, joined by smooth dulce de leche, orange zest, nutmeg and white pepper. Alc 40%
Roca Patrón Reposado
Made by Patrón, the Roca range is a small-batch Tequila that is made from agave that’s exclusively crushed by a two-ton tahona wheel made from volcanic rock, as opposed to a mechanised mill. The reposado is aged for approximately five months in ex-bourbon casks. A vegetal agave character is front and centre, with vanilla pod, ginger, caramel sauce and a hint of pepper. Alc 42%
Villa Lobos Reposado
Made by legendary Tequila distiller Carlos Camarena in partnership with spirits importer Dale Sklar, Villa Lobos bears all the hallmarks of a Camarena tequila, such as slow cooking in old brick ovens and long fermentations with wild yeast. This Reposado is rested in steel tanks for six months before being aged in American oak barrels for 11 months. Flavours of Victoria sponge, vanilla and cinnamon play with fruity notes of melon and lemon. Clove, pepper and caramel appear on the finish. Alc 40%