If you want to plunge into the amazing world of the best tequila brands, then it's a good idea to get to know some of the most famous brands. It should also be noted that, apart from being the most famous, these are also the best in the world.
Don Julio Reposado
Don Julio Reposado Tequila is aged for eight months in American oak barrels. It has an amber color that is very close to gold. To the taste, it is soft and defined, and to the smell, it is elegant and intense. It is recommended to drink together with a cold drink, or with ice.
Olmeca is one of the most consumed tequila brands in Europe. Due to its more traditional production process, earthy and herbaceous flavors are often felt. This tequila is matured in barrels in which it was formerly used for bourbon.
The sweet aroma, together with the serious notes and the oak, make José Cuervo a top-quality tequila brand. On the palate, you feel the spices, oak wood, and consistent, but non-invasive notes of vanilla. The double distillation means that there are practically no impurities.
El Jimador is a tequila famous for being very fresh, compared to other brands. It is usually made with quite high percentages of blue agave, so its viscosity is higher. Its fruity flavors and citrus touches stand out, which makes it perfect for cocktails.
This tequila has a considerably pure flavor due to its distillation in two phases. The aging process lasts 11 months and is done in American oak barrels. The latter gives it a unique flavor, which maintains its roundness and subtlety.
The varieties of Tequila Sauza are some of the best on the market. Among its flavors, you can feel the mixed fruits and white pepper flakes, as well as certain floral tones that stand out in the aroma. It has a subtle and consistent body.
Tres Generaciones Tequila is Sauza's elite line. The best tequila is aged only in toasted white oak barrels. The flavors are delicate and take shape clearly within the palate. This is one of the tequilas that is very aromatic, and you feel the earth, the wood, and the vanilla.
Origin of Tequila
No one knows exactly when tequila was first distilled. Although there is a legend that says in the current state of Jalisco, Mexico, there were several blue agave plants close to each other. One day during a thunderstorm, a lightning bolt set fire to the agave plants. After the storm, the Indians perceived a pleasant aroma coming from the remains of the plants. As they approached, they noticed a sweet, good-tasting juice that eventually intoxicated.
Since then, this primitive tequila was used in every possible ritual, until the arrival of the Spaniards. In the 17th century, they used more advanced distillation methods to achieve something more like the tequila we know today. Although the current name comes from the producer Don Cenobio Sauza, it was once known as "mezcal wine" or "mezcal tequila".
How is tequila made?
Making tequila is an art that requires a skill. First, the blue agave juice is extracted. This is achieved by crushing the center of the plant, called "pineapple," and then mixing it with water and sugar. After a cooking process, which lasts about six hours, the juice can be distilled in stainless steel tanks. In this part, it is mixed with yeasts and other components to make the result richer.
Next comes distillation. Here, the water is removed, leaving only the alcohol. Depending on the manufacturer, you can make one distillation or several. After this, the tequila goes through different filtering processes, achieving its characteristic transparency. Then, it has to be aged. The term ranges from two months to two years. It is usually made in toasted American white oak barrels, as the taste it gives to tequila is exceptional. Finally, the liqueur is bottled and distributed.
Types of Tequila
We can find different kinds or types of tequila. Five, specifically. This categorization obeys the process of aging or maturation.
Also known as Silver Tequila. It maintains transparency and is commonly colorless. Aging time is two months (or sometimes less) and no oak barrels are used.
Also known as Tequila Oro. For its elaboration, Silver Tequila is mixed with Añejo, Extra Añejo or Reposado Tequila. Although sometimes it is simply a White Tequila with an addition that gives it color. This process is called "abocado". Its color is, as the name indicates, golden.
This variety can be aged from two to twelve months in oak or oak barrels in quantities greater than 600 liters. It is susceptible to being abocado. Its color is straw-colored.
The maturation process of this tequila goes from 12 months to 36 months. For this, only American oak or oak barrels are used. Like the Reposado, the aged must be done in quantities not less than 600 liters.
Tequila Extra Añejo
Tequila Extra Añejo, as you might be imagining, is the strongest commercial variety. It spends at least three years aging in oak or oak barrels in quantities of 600 liters or more. Its color is dark brown.
Although it is difficult to get this type of tequila in the market, there are some houses and liquor merchants who sell it. This is the strongest tequila, even stronger than Extra Añejo. Its aging process lasts at least eight years. Its color is dark brown, and its flavors more intense.
Based on the percentage of blue agave
The municipality of Tequila is located in the State of Jalisco, arid lands ideal for the flowering of the Blue Agave. This plant is the base of the best brands of Mexican tequila. From it is extracted the must that is used in the distillation to obtain the best tequilas in the world.
The best brands of Mexican tequila are those that produce the purest tequila. The purity is determined by the percentage of agave with which the tequila has been made. Thus, the tequila that indicates on its label "100% agave" will be of the highest purity.
In Mexico, the law states that tequila must have at least 60% agave. The rest of the tequilas, the so-called mixed tequilas, are not considered tequilas if they contain less than the stipulated percentage of agave. Let's look specifically at what it is:
It may seem redundant that the name on the subject bears this name. But it must be stressed that if at least 51% of the total is not agave, then it is not tequila. It would then be brandy or mezcal, which is not the same.
Tequila 100% agave
As you may have imagined, this tequila is made entirely of blue agave. However, to bear this name, it must be distilled and bottled exclusively in Mexico. Tequila 100% agave is considered a High-Class drink, and tends to be very expensive.
How do you tell the quality of tequila?
To know the quality of a tequila, very generally, you must keep this in mind: you must feel smoky flavors, citrus, fruit, herbals and a slight touch of vanilla at the end.
How to take it?
To know well the quality of a tequila, first, you have to know how to drink it. Here's a little guide to tequila tasting, which you can try for yourself. Despite the popular custom, Tequila is tasted in a wide glass, instead of in a shot.
Fill the glass halfway and evaluate its color. The liquid should be of the color corresponding to its variety: If it is White Tequila, it should be almost colorless; if it is young, it should be light amber; if it is old, a little darker, etc. Now, look at the body of the tequila, that is, its viscosity. Shake the glass a little. The more viscous and thicker, the more percentage of agave it takes and the longer it has been aged.
To capture the smells of tequila, move the edge of the glass closer to the nose and inhale slowly. You should be able to distinguish the ingredients without the alcohol opaque them. The older you are, the more intense the smells should be. If you have a sensitive sense of smell, you will pick up wood and honey.
Now, let's try it. First, inhale and keep the air in your lungs. Then take a sip and leave it in your mouth for a few seconds, making it go all over your tongue. Then swallow and exhale the air. Each taste should be well defined and then they have to stay in the mouth for a while.
When it comes to finding the best tequila, you have to take into account each person's tastes. I invite you to leave a comment if you think there is one that I have not analyzed or the one that for you is the best tequila brand. Thank you.