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The 10 Smoothest Tequilas to Try in 2021
Tequila is the market-moving spirit of 2021. Development in ultra-premium tequila rivals seltzer for becoming the largest growth area for spirits. Everyday tequila remains popular, while craft expressions are being distilled under clear direction from the Mexican government to increase quality, depth of flavor, and personality.
How you like to drink tequila often determines the type of spirit you wish to purchase. There are three main types of tequila; silver (or Blanco tequila), Reposado (rested), and Anejo (aged).
These core types have expanded in recent times to include Cristalino (a clear, charcoal filtered aged tequila) and Joven (a mix between Reposado and Blanco). There’s also Mixto tequila, the cheap tequila you’ll find on supermarket shelves and in frozen batches that can leave you in a sorry state the next day.
Tequila Blanco is the most common expression and the type of bottle bartenders recommend for classic cocktail making, with a clearly agave heavy taste. The other types add other flavor elements during the distillation process to create individual taste and nuance that are perfect for sipping tequila.
You can find smooth-tasting tequila bottles within all tequila types (cheap Mixto tequila notwithstanding) and across a range of prices. The collection of bottles below are fine examples of some of the market’s smoothest tequilas to try in 2021, whether you want to make a margarita, fit out a tequila cocktail party, or enjoy a simple tequila shot.
1. Casa Dragones Añejo Barrel Blend
Hands down my favorite tequila brand, Casa Dragones offers great tasting, ultra-premium expressions designed for enjoyment, no matter how you like your tequila. Casa Dragones Barrel Blend is a 100% Blue Agave Anejo tequila with a terrific character from maturation in new French Oak and American White Oak barrel blends, selected for their interesting individual flavor.
At the end of the aging process, both barrel styles are blended together to create a uniquely smooth, agave-forward taste profile with woody, caramel tones. On the nose, you’ll find a flowery scent enriched by pear, figs, and almonds, with a nutty caramel palate laden with currant and nutmeg. The long finish is smooth and easy, with a noticeable pepper pop and accents of chocolate. The beautiful agave flavor and depth of color make this a smooth sipping tequila.
2. Don Julio 1942
Don Julio 1942 is a tribute to master distiller and company founder Don Julio González, who began his craft in 1942. Don Julio tequila is produced in the Highlands of Jaliscomade with 100% Blue Weber Agave. 1942 is aged in small batches for two and a half years.
Warm oak, vanilla, and roasted agave flavors lead into a lingering oak and rich vanilla finish for a luxurious ultra-premium tequila. Each bottle of Don Julio tequila is produced here and features a NOM number – the Don Julio seal of authenticity – signifying where this great tequila was made.
3. Tequila Partida Blanco
Tequila Partido Blanco topped our list of tequilas under $50 to try. It’s one of the smoothest tequila options at the perfect price point for the novice tequila drinker or the regular connoisseur. The Partida tequila brand is known for taking its agave plant flavor seriously throughout the distillation process, and it really shines through in this crisp and flavorful Blanco. The Partida distillery cooks its agave within 24 hours of harvest, giving the agave spirit a freshness and earthy tone other unaged tequila varieties struggle to match.
The nuanced Weber agave and citrus combine on the nose, while the palate offers tropical fruit, vanilla, grapefruit, and white pepper spice. It’s a favorite tequila for complete novices or veterans and will be on the shortlist as a favorite for those who enjoy a classic margarita.
4. Tequila Herradura Ultra Cristalino Añejo
The fastest-growing subcategory of good tequila is Cristalino, mixing the depth of flavor and taste of Anejo or Reposado with the crispness and agave forward flavor of silver tequila. The Herradura Ultra Cristalino Anejo delivers one of the smoothest tequila tastes at a quality price point for customers looking to try a new type.
It’s crafted from hand-harvested agave and then barrel-aged in American Oak, before undergoing a charcoal filtering process that creates a clear finish agave spirit. On the palate, you will find subtle notes of cooked agave, caramel, vanilla, wood, honey, dried fruit, and toasted almonds. This is a cool expression developing with the palate of every tequila connoisseur, and with Cristalino becoming the new darling of tequila, finding the quality ones will set your liquor cabinet apart.
5. Cincoro Reposado Tequila
Due to the labor and aging process involved, Anejo and Extra Anejo variations tend to be the most expensive tequila, often released as limited edition offerings. If you’re looking at a quality tequila brand but have a slightly more limited budget, then a superbly distilled reposado tequila like this one from Cincoro is often a great compromise. It topped our list of best sipping tequilas so you know you can’t go wrong with this one.
Cincoro Reposado begins as a crisp Cincoro Blanco before aging in used American Oak barrels for eight to 10 months at an ABV of 55%. The Cincoro aging and blending process creates a rich and complex profile that mixes the aroma of agave pina and vanilla with cooked agave, lighter vanilla tones, dried fruit, and baking spices amongst toasted oak on the palate.
This may be the smoothest tequila in the reposado range and one worth sipping neat in your tequila glass. I highly recommend it!
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6. Patron Extra Anejo Tequila
Patron Extra Añejo is a full-bodied and deeply flavored tequila aged for at least three years in both new and used small oak barrels. The time spent aging results in a crisp, dark tequila featuring bold notes of sweetness and fruit accents that can only come with a long time resting the finest cooked agave.
This extra Anejo tequila offers the smoothness of roasted agave, with a lingering finish of oak and vanilla that have seeped in from the barrels at rest. A great tequila for simple sipping, Patron Extra Anejo is becoming more popular for mixologists looking to craft premium cocktails or serve the finest mixed drink option.
7. Casamigos Reposado
Casamigos Reposado Tequila is distilled from blue agave plants from the Jalisco Highlands, the heartland of Mexican tequila. Each agave is hand-selected for flavor, then slow-cooked. This Casamigos Tequila expression is aged for seven months in white oak barrels, which gives the Reposado a chocolate woody taste that makes it a great option for sipping or drinking neat.
The Casamigos Reposado offers an aroma of vanilla, maple, spices, and peanut shells, with the customary tequila heat balanced by sweet tropical fruit and oak. Oh, yeah, having Hollywood A-lister George Clooney as the original owner and lead pitchman doesn’t hurt either.
8. Tequila Bribon Anejo
Tequila Bribon has been produced by master distillers from the Don Roberto family since 1924. Bribon is the culmination of three generations of experience to create an aged expression enjoyed by novice and tequila aficionados in equal measure.
Tequila Bribon Anejo uses only fully matured seven to 10-year-old agaves harvested by hand. The cooked agaves are shredded and the juice (miel) is fermented, utilizing a proprietary strain of yeast developed by Don Roberto. After fermentation, the product is double-distilled utilizing a process that combines pot-still distillate with column distillation.
In Mexico, the “Bribon” was a wildly charismatic and courageous man about town, who traveled across Mexico living life to the fullest and lifting the spirits of every man and woman who shared time and tequila with him. Sounds like a great guy to hang with for a tequila shot!
9. Espolon Blanco
Crafted in Jalisco from 100% Blue Weber Agave, this inexpensive tequila is double distilled using column and pot stills to give it a perfectly smooth and balanced taste profile. Buying a few Espolon Blanco bottles for seriously smooth tequila mixology is a great way to keep the party pumping.
I’m not generally one to get fired up about labeling, but if the bottle features the iconic Rooster Ramon being ridden by a skeleton, then I’m all the way in. Espolon Blanco is a tequila honoring Mexico’s art and history, and the story of Espolon – the spur of a rooster – is great for cocktail conversation.
10. El Jimador Anejo
El Jimador Anejo is crafted from the finest hand-selected blue agave and then double distilled and aged in American Oak barrels. The dark amber-aged tequila blends the classical taste of agave with smooth, buttery notes of caramel and walnut from the 12-month cask maturation, plus a hint of cinnamon and spices at the finish.
While one of the cheaper Anejo tequila brands on this list, the El Jimador Anejo is a smooth tequila bottle you can buy with confidence to enjoy. It’s a rare aged yet affordable tequila that’s perfect for slow sipping or as a simple mixed drink with lime and soda.
Bonus: Ilegal Mezcal Reposado
Mezcal has the reputation for tasting stronger, especially when compared to the Blanco and Joven tequila used for cocktail making. Mezcal production usually results in an earthier, smokier flavor than tequila’s Weber agave, so can create a different element to your sipping, cocktail, or mixed drink.
Ilegal Mezcal is a beautifully balanced vintage mezcal tasting from Tlacolula, which has been “rested” for four months in new American oak barrels. It features caramelized pear on the nose, the warmth of agave, butterscotch, and vanilla on the palate, yet is light on the finish with a sweet tropical fruit taste and easy mouthfeel. There is just enough earth and smoke from the wild agave to get the sense of wildness that often differentiates reposado mezcal from a similar style of Blue Weber agave tequila.
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