Anejo/Reposado Tequila Learning

Tequila is Mexico’s national spirit or drink. It is a distilled beverage made from the blue agave plant and best known for its distinctly bold flavour as a staple ingredient in many classic cocktails. There are two grades of Tequila: Tequila and 100% Agave Tequila.

Tequila or 100% Agave Tequila?  

Technically, Tequila can include up to 49% of other fermented sugar sources, which can even include such sources as high fructose corn syrup, sugar, or molasses. However, 51% of the fermentable sugars must come from the Agave tequilana Weber, Azul (blue) variety. This means that Tequila is actually a mixed alcohol and is where the term “mixto” comes from; although, that term is no longer commonly used as it is not an authorized labelling term.


100% Agave Tequila must be made using 100% blue agave or Agave tequilana Weber, Azul (blue) variety and is pure, without any fillers or additives. If you see the following on the label: “100% de agave”, “100% puro de agave”, “100% agave”, “100% puro agave” you will know that it is a quality product that is government regulated and meets this standard.


Fun Fact

Don’t let the colour of tequila labeled “Gold” fool you.  This style is a Blanco Tequila that has gone through a process called abocado, the addition of caramel or oak extract, to soften the flavours and add colour. This style sees little to no contact with oak barrels.  It’s a great option for cocktails! 


Aged Tequila

Aged Tequila’s colour, aroma and flavour are influenced by how it is distilled and how long it spends ageing in barrels. The most common barrel used for ageing tequila are American (used Bourbon barrels) and used French oak.  As the liquid rests in the barrel that previously stored whisky or other aged spirits, it picks up the colour and flavour of the wood.

Aged Tequila Classifacation

There are three classifications of aged tequila, all with their own regulations to follow.

Reposado Tequila spends a minimum of 2 months ageing in an oak barrel, but less than one year. Reposado mellows as it rests. The oak balances out the boldness of the tequila and adds notes of vanilla and caramel. This makes a great tequila for cocktails or to enjoy neat.

Añejo Tequila is aged for a minimum of one year in oak barrels but less than 3 years. This longer ageing period will bring forward more complex flavours and notes of caramel and oak. Caramel may be added to adjust the colour for consistency.  Añejos are considered a great alternative to Rum, Whisky and even Cognac. It is best savoured neat.

Extra Añejo is still a relatively new classification for tequila.  This spirit is aged for a minimum of 3 years in oak barrels. The type of oak, or what liquid was previously aged in that barrel, will play a very important role in the final product. The oak notes will begin to overpower the delicate agave aromas and flavours that will be replaced with more familiar flavours like caramel, vanilla, and spice.    


Casamigo Reposado Tequila
Gran Centenario Anejo Tequila
Cazadores Anejo Tequila
Milagro Reposado Tequila
Sauza Hornitos Black Barrel Anejo Tequila


Tequila Definitions - Reading the Label 


Tequila 100% Agave:

Must be made using 100% blue agave or Agave tequilana Weber, Azul (blue) variety. Tequilas that meet this standard of 100% agave Tequila have this designation on the label: “100% de agave”, “100% puro de agave”, “100% agave”, “100% puro agave”. 

Tequila (Mixto):

This grade of Tequila requires that 51% of the fermentable sugars to come from the Agave tequilana Weber, Azul (blue) variety. Tequila can include up to 49% of other fermented sugar sources. These may be other agave species or even non agave sources such as high fructose corn syrup, sugar, or molasses. 


The bulbous base part of the agave plant. Once the spiny leaves are cut off the plant, the remaining part is called the piña as it resembles a giant pineapple. Mature piñas used in Tequila production can weigh up to 90kgs or close to 200lbs.


A process of adding a controlled quantity of one or more of the following to Tequila to soften it: caramel, oak extract, glycerin, or sugar syrup. 


Clear Tequila that is generally not aged. It spends only 60 days at most, in stainless steel barrels or flavour neutral oak. If there is a slight golden colour from the short period of aging, the colour can be filtered out in order to remain a clear spirit.


A Blanco Tequila with added abocado. Blending in a small amount of Reposado or Añejo to the Blanco is also considered to be Joven.  


Tequila “rested” in oak barrels for a minimum of 2 months. 


Tequila aged at least one year in oak barrels 600 liters or smaller.   

Muy Añejo/Extra Añejo:

“Ultra Aged” Tequila spending a minimum of 3 years in oak barrel 600 liters or smaller.  


A distilled spirit from Mexico that also uses agave as its base material. Mezcal is from a different designated zone in Mexico than Tequila is. Mezcal has its production methods as well as regulations that they must abide by.    


Norma Official Mexicana number. It is a number that licensed Tequila producers are issued by the CRT that shows they abide by all the regulations of Tequila. Each number is linked to a specific producer.


Tequila Regulatory Council (Spanish: Consejo Regulador del Tequila), is the governing body of Tequila and its registered producers. They maintain the standards of the product.


1800 Reposado Tequila
Espolon Reposado Tequila
El Jimador Reposado Tequila
Jose Cuervo Tradicional Reposado Tequila



Fun Fact

Tequila can only be made in Mexico. It can only be made in select municipalities within Jalisco, Nayarit, Guanajuato, Michoacan, and Taumaulipas. They must also meet strict government regulations in order to be Tequila. This is much like the Champagne or the Bordeaux AOC’s of France. 




What should Tequila taste like? 

This is a complicated question. There is no ONE perfect Tequila flavour profile. There are in fact many perfect flavour profiles. They are combinations of the notes listed below; you just have to find the right Tequila to sing for you:

Great Tequila contains the following:

  • Fresh agave - the sharp leafed succulent from which Tequila is made. It has been compared to hints of strong green pepper.
  • Bitter citrus - this note is comparable to grapefruit or perhaps Pomelos.
  • Floral notes - this flavour is subtle and usually only adds a hint of sweetness. This is the base flavour of cooked agave juice.
  • Alcohol - Tequila often has a pronounced alcohol “richness” that balances out these other notes.

Aged Tequila will have different flavours coming from the oak influence. Hints of caramel, toffee, honey, vanilla, and spice could be present in aged tequila.




Fun Fact - Why we don't see 10, 12, or 25 Year Old Tequila?

Angel’s Share is a term used to describe the amount of distilled spirit lost to evaporation from the barrel ageing process. When compared to other aged spirits like Whisky or Rum, Tequila’s ageing period may seem a bit short. For most aged spirits, the Angel’s Share is about 2% of total volume loss a year. Due to Jalisco’s warm climate, the evaporation happens quickly, and tequila barrels can lose closer to 5-10% a year. The longer the tequila stays in the barrel, the more liquid gets evaporated. Furthermore, a long ageing period can soften the unique herbaceous and peppery notes of the agave that make tequila so unique and replace them with oak and spice.   




What to Serve Tequila With 

Foods that traditionally go with Tequila are Mexican foods or foods with bold flavours like cilantro, citrus, and chili peppers. One thing to keep in mind though is the burn; alcohol enhances the spiciness in food. If you like the spice and want to enhance the spiciness of your food, sip your Tequila neat or with ice. If you want to mellow the spice of the food, serve it with a cocktail that compliments your flavours in the food. 

When to Serve Tequila 

If you want to serve Tequila, or 100% Agave Tequila, like a local from Mexico: serve it neat. No salt or lime is required. The use of Tequila or 100% Agave Tequila in cocktails is gaining popularity the world over. Tequila or 100% Agave Tequila is popular from your classic Margarita, Tequila Sunrise, or Paloma cocktail. Give it a taste, try it on its own, make a classic cocktail, or substitute Tequila for your usual liquor in your favourite cocktail. Who knows, maybe you will find a new favourite or invent your own signature cocktail!



Fun Fact

There is no worm in the Tequila bottle. Tequila does not permit any additions to the liquid. The worm is a tradition found in some Mezcal bottles, not Tequila.