Blanco, Joven, Reposado, Anejo… What do all of these words mean? How do they affect the Tequila I’m about to purchase? What does it mean for tequila to be 100% agave?
These are your typical questions that any new tequila connoisseur will want to ask. And for good reason! Each of these different types of tequila are different from each other and will affect the flavor, aroma, and finish of your mexican liquor. Tequila can be broken down into the following:
First things first. The two categories of tequila are as follows:
- 100% de agave – This is the fine class of tequila which is made purely from the sugars of the blue agave which is also called the Weber blue agave.
- Mixto – This kind of tequila is made from 51% of blue agave sugars and mixed with 49% so sugars from other sources.
Five Kinds of Tequila
The different kinds of tequila have varying characteristics, but the main difference is how these spirits are aged. When picking a good tequila bottle, here are the things about the different kinds of tequila that one ought to know:
- Tequila blanco – Also known as white, silver, or plata, tequila blanco is a clear tequila which is bottled right after distillation. This kind of tequila is the one most commonly seen and used for mixed drinks. Usually the cheapest, it can enhance cocktails and margaritas without being all too fiery. Tequila blanco can be best enjoyed with salt and lime for shots.
- Tequila joven – Also referred to as suave or gold, these tequilas imply a smoothness while still being a young kind of tequila. This can be made purely from agave, but are more commonly made mixto and is much similar to tequila blanco. Blending silver tequila with anejo or extra anejo tequila can result in tequila joven.
- Tequila reposado – Compared to the first two kinds, this kind of tequila has undergone a bit of aging. It is aged in barrels for at least two months but no longer than a year. Like whisky, the kind of wood used would influence the flavor as well as color. Usually, the most common wooden barrels used are white oak or French oak.
- Tequila anejo – Anejo is synonymous to “vintage” and this sets the defining difference of this kind of tequila. Tequila anejo has been aged for a minimum of twelve months and no less. Usually, they are allowed to age from a year to three years. Darker than most kinds of tequila, it has a much smoother flavor compared to the slightly aged tequila reposado. This kind of tequila is best enjoyed neat or without anything added.
- Tequila extra anejo – This is basically extra-aged tequila and has only been recently categorized and manufactured in 2005. The minimum aging time is three years for tequila to be extra anejo. These are much finer spirits and definitely more expensive. They are also best enjoyed neat and for sipping.
When choosing tequila, knowing these differences can truly make an impact on the enjoyment of the drinker and what tequila flavors will be present in a mixed or neat drink.