Tequila is one of the fastest-growing spirits in the U.S., with America consuming even more than they do in its homeland of Mexico. The biggest growth is in the premium and super-premium categories, as drinkers discover the pleasure of sipping rather than slamming good tequila. Tequila is in fact a type of mezcal, but one that has a specific “domain of origin” status and which must be made from a single species of agave, the blue agave. Tequila must be made in certain designated areas in Mexico, the biggest being the state of Jalisco, where the town of Tequila is located. Rack “tequila” must contain at least 51% blue agave sugars, and the remainder can be just about anything, including corn syrup. However, quality tequila will state on the bottle that it is made from 100% blue agave. Anything less than this (think Cuervo Gold) is called a mixto. Within Mexico, tequila can be bottled at anything from 62 to 110 proof, but within the U.S. it must be at least 80 proof. Blanco (silver or white) tequila is sold unaged, reposado tequila must be aged at least two months in white oak barrels, and añejo (aged) tequila are aged for twelve months minimum. Finally, extra añejo must be aged for at least three years. A new variety of tequila, generally called cristalino, is aged tequila that has been filtered to remove color, giving it the appearance of a blanco but the flavor of an añejo.

Top Tequila Posts:

Understanding the Different Styles of Tequila
A Visit to Casa Herradura
A Visit to the Don Julio Tequila Distillery

Review: Avion Tequila Reserva Cristalino

By Christopher Null | June 9, 2022 |

The latest tequila distillery to jump on the cristalino craze is Avion, which formally drops this into its oversized Reserva Range. Avion’s Cristalino is a blend of añejo and extra añejo tequilas that is then double charcoal filtered to clear. Let’s give it a whirl. Initially, the nose is decidedly on the green side, with…

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Review: Tequila Don Julio Primavera

By Christopher Null | June 8, 2022 |

Tequila Don Julio Primavera is a special edition of the distillery’s reposado, finished in casks which previously held wine infused with macerated orange peels, “striking the balance of citrus and honey.” It’s a unique approach to tequila, but does a special wine cask (and a funky, rounded-base bottle) merit a $150 price tag? (One whose signature…

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Review: The Producer Mezcal – Espadin & Cuishe and Tepeztate

By Christopher Null | June 7, 2022 |

The Producer is a new mezcal producer that has arrived with two bottlings, each made with different types of agave (one a blend, on a pure Tepeztate offering). Hailing from Oaxaca, Mexico, The Producer seeks to present a mezcal that speaks to patience, passion, and an appreciation for refinement. In conjunction with the launch, the…

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Review: Gracias a Dios Gin and Mezcal Pina

By Christopher Null | June 5, 2022 |

Recently Robert took a look at the mezcal made by Gracias a Dios, Spanish for “Thank God.” Unusually, the distillery also makes additional white spirits, including a mezcal-based gin that was developed by students at Oaxaca State University. The espadín agave mezcal is infused with 32 different botanicals and spices, some of which are indigenous…

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Review: Gracias a Dios Mezcal Espadin

By Robert Lublin | June 2, 2022 |

Over the last few years, a number of new mezcals have come to the USA in response to exploding interest in the smoky agave distillate. Gracias a Dios, Spanish for “Thank God,” is a joven (unaged) mezcal made by Oscar Hernández. It is made with 100% espadín agave grown in Matatlán, Oaxaca. It deserves note…

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Review: Astral Tequila Blanco

By Robert Lublin | May 21, 2022 |

Astral is a new 100% Blue Weber agave tequila from the lowland region of Jalisco, Mexico. Currently, only a blanco, unaged tequila is available. The distillery’s website explains how it is made, all very familiar stuff: Our production process is steeped in tradition and features a unique milling process using a tahona, a stone wheel…

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Review: Curamia Tequila Blanco

By Christopher Null | May 20, 2022 |

Curamia is a new tequila and the brainchild of Dafna Mizrahi, a chef from Guadalajara, Mexico. The brand launched late last year in the U.S. with only a blanco expression; a reposado has since arrived. Of special note is its female-centric street cred: Curamia is the first tequila brand 100% female-founded and made by women:…

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Review: Tequila Tromba, Complete Lineup

By Christopher Null | April 30, 2022 |

Here’s a fun fact: Tequila Tromba is the top-selling independent tequila… in Canada. A Highlands-born spirit, Tromba is now tiptoeing its way into the U.S., where all three traditional expressions are available. We tried them all. Here goes. All are 80 proof. NOM 1547. Tequila Tromba Blanco – Very light-handed on the whole, this silver tequila…

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Review: Inspiro Tequila Luna Blanco

By Christopher Null | April 29, 2022 |

Looking at the bottle above, you might expect Inspiro to be a vodka. I promise this is not but rather a blanco tequila, which launched in the U.S. in late 2021. The brand was founded by Mara Smith, a former Chicago attorney, who fell in love with tequila and recruited Ana Maria Romero Mena to…

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Review: El Mayor Tequila Extra Anejo – Sherry Cask Aged

By Christopher Null | April 29, 2022 |

El Mayor has been cranking out special editions like mad, including multiple spins on its extra anejo bottling. This one is particularly unique, spending 38 full months in sherry casks. It isn’t finished, it’s completely matured in sherry casks — though the type of sherry is not disclosed. It’s a powerhouse bottling that melds two…

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