Having previously expressed my love for Don Julio’s Anejo tequila, I finally got my mitts on the other four bottles in Don Julio’s line. Some additional thoughts on the products from one of the most reliable, high-quality tequila producers in operation.
Don Julio Blanco – A fresh and creamy taste, mild in flavor (80 proof) but with a touch of peppery agave bite. A slight bitterness on the finish. Overall, this is about as good a blanco tequila as you’re likely to get from a major label producer. A- / $36
Don Julio Reposado – Eight months in oak give Don Julio’s reposado a good slap of oak flavor, but not too much. I’m never a huge reposado fan, but this one (80 proof as well) is as good as any I’ve had in recent memory. The very pale yellow color alludes to the hints of honey and cinnamon you’ll taste in the glass, but strangely the reposado has a little more bite than the blanco. Not bad, but again I’ll take the anejo over the reposado any day… especially since the anejo is, somehow, actually a couple of bucks cheaper per bottle. B+ /$45
Don Julio 1942 – This 80-proof, limited-edition tequila comes in a strange, tall decanter, into which it goes after 2 1/2 years or more of aging in oak. (For comparison, the anejo is in oak for 18 months.) Double-distilled, the 1942 has a huge vanilla bite and a powerful kick of exotic spices that are hard to place. A bit vegetal on the finish, but otherwise really intriguing. Complex and curious, this is a sipping tequila that is unlike anything else I’ve tried. A- / $120
Don Julio Real – “Real” as in, uh, real. It’s the same in Spanish and English, and alludes to the Spanish monetary unit and its connotation of “royalty.” Again, it’s 80 proof, and after up to five years in oak and a second distillation, it’s full of complicated flavors. Citrus is surprisingly strong, but the woodsy oak takes hold soon after. There’s essence of agave deep in the spirit, but what impresses most is the fine balance. Really quite impressive, as one would expect from the good Don. A / $370