The Top 10 Tequilas and Mezcals of 2021

The Top 10 Tequilas and Mezcals of 2021

Celebrities turned their attention to whiskey in 2021, which left the tequila world free to explore new products without a bunch of Hollywood types sniffing around. Whew! Innovation is running wild down in Mexico these days, with some really interesting products hitting the scene of late. As we always do around this time of year, it’s time to look back and highlight the 10 best tequilas and mezcals that hit our palates in 2021. Don’t even think about breaking out the salt and lime wedges. You can also search multiple stores at wine-searcher to find the best prices on all these products and more.

1. El Mayor Tequila Extra Anejo – Rum Cask Finish – Tequila and rum sounds a little like we’re getting into Long Island Iced Tea territory (and don’t forget there’s 3 ½ years of bourbon barrel in the mix, too) – but El Mayor (topping our list for the second year in a row) does some magic with this extra anejo, turning in a maple-infused sweet operator that’s loaded with notes of Milky Way candy bars. A hint of hogo on the finish reminds you of the rum influence, with some baking spice elements lingering. 80 proof. $130 [BUY IT NOW FROM CASKERS]

2. Lejana Y Sola Mezcal Joven – PaQui Tequila’s mezcal brand is just about perfect, sweet and smoky with notes of citrus and caramel all in the mix. Well-balanced and bright, it’s a straightforward mezcal that’s almost impossible to put down – smoky sunshine in a glass. 84 proof. $60 

3. El Sativo Single Estate Tequila Blanco – This Lowlands blanco is a monster, bold with greenery and pepper elements that meld nicely with its creamy texture and lush body. It’s all fruit as the finish approaches. Your margarita is calling. 80 proof. $41

4. Tequila Partida Roble Fino Reposado – Partida launched an upscale line of tequilas earlier this year, and while the reposado cristalino bottling is solid, this standard reposado is even better. Aged 6 months in bourbon barrels and 2 months in sherry-seasoned single malt Scotch casks, it offers the best of two whiskey worlds, balancing hearty agave character with sweeter, cookie-like notes tinged with anise. Complex and decidedly worthwhile as a sipper. 86 proof. $120 [BUY IT NOW FROM CASKERS]

5. Espanita Tequila Blanco – Another aggressive blanco, with a curious edge of cinnamon. Slightly sweet on the palate, the tequila perks up with a peppery character that pairs well with the baking spice and herbal elements on the tongue. Great balance, and a solid price. 80 proof. $30 

6. La Adelita Tequila Black Cristalino – A new entry into the budding cristalino market, La Adelita isn’t black but completely clear as expected, aged for 18 months before filtration and filled with an interesting saline character that balances out the honey and candy-coated sweetness. Satisfying and sultry. 80 proof. $70

7. Madre Mezcal Espadin y Cuishe – A blend of espadin and madrecuishe (aka cuishe) agave, this ensamble style mezcal offers that classically sweet, overripe nose, touched with plenty of savory/salty elements. These notes appear in layers as the palate develops, giving the mezcal a distinct punchiness. 90 proof. $52

8. Dos Primos Tequila Blanco – From the same distillery that makes El Mayor comes this snazzy new blanco, an agave-driven operator that runs you through the spice cabinet before settling on notes of coconut and vanilla, unusual in an unaged tequila. Well off the pepper-heavy path of typical blancos, it’s a tequila for those looking to stretch their boundaries a bit. 80 proof. $44 [BUY IT NOW FROM TOTAL WINE]

9. Tequila Partida Cristalino Anejo – Another luxe offering from Partida, this one from its standard lineup (not the Roble Fino sub-brand). The classic cristalino starts with 18 month in oak before being filtered, lending it the usual, dessert-like characteristics of butterscotch, caramel, and vanilla. At the same time its grassy, herbal notes remind you this is tequila after all, and not some crazy clear whiskey. Great value considering how cristalinos usually go. 80 proof. $53 [BUY IT NOW FROM TOTAL WINE]

10. Mijenta Tequila Blanco – Mijenta burst on the scene early this year, with Volcan de Mi Tierra’s Ana Maria Romero responsible for crafting the rustic, herbal, and chili pepper-like spirit. It lightens up as it goes, though an initial round of honeyed sweetness gives way to a more sultry, pastoral finish. Original as hell, but maybe not for everyone. We’ll be reviewing the reposado and more soon. 80 proof. $50 [BUY IT NOW FROM CASKERS] [BUY IT NOW FROM TOTAL WINE]

El Mayor Tequila Extra Anejo - Rum Cask Finish




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