Every expression of tequila is a work of art.
What are expressions of tequila?
Many people may not be aware, but there are actually different classifications or expressions of tequila that are certified by the CRT (Tequila regulatory body in Mexico). Each expression allows the master distiller to impart different elements of aroma , colour and taste in to the tequila. They do this by resting the tequila in a variety of barrels and casks enabling them to enhance the smell, appearance and flavour without the use of additives.
Tequila is not like whisky however. A tequila that is aged longer doesn't necessarily mean it is a better tequila than an unaged expression. This is the magic of tequila. There are very few spirits out there that have such an incredible, complex and smooth flavour profile without spending years in a barrel.
There are 4 main expressions of tequila
For tequila to be considered a Blanco, it is required to be distilled a minimum of 2 times before bottling.
Blanco is unaged and represents the most authentic agave aroma and flavour profile. The rules allow a blanco to stand for up to 59 days in oak or stainless-steel tanks to allow the spirit to settle and allow oxidisation.
Blanco tequila will present delicious notes including cooked agave, fresh citrus fruits and herbaceous greenery.
Be sure to choose a quality 100% agave Blanco to experience the best tequila has to offer.
In tequila making, reposado is the first expression that is considered rested or aged. It was first introduced in 1968
The tequila can be aged in wood barrels or storage tanks of an unspecified size for a period 2 - 11 months.
The spirit starts to take on a light golden hue and the taste becomes a delicate balance between the agave and wood flavours.
Reposado tequila is a great choice that looks after both your hip pocket and palate.
A step up in aging leads us to the añejo. Official regulation states that the spirit must be aged for at least one year in barrels no larger than 600 litres before being classed as "añejo".
The colour now becomes a beautiful amber and the palate smoother, richer, and more complex. You can expect flavours of toasted oak, caramel, toffee, baking spices, cinnamon and more to be present.
Añejo tequila is an excellent choice to enjoy neat on regular occasions and makes a great gift.
There are 2 additional expressions of tequila that we need to highlight.
Joven tequila (meaning 'young') is the result of blending unaged and aged tequila to create a variety that is golden hue in colour with a mix of aged and unaged flavours.
Unfortunately, this expression is susceptible to the significant use of additives as it allows for the cheaper production of volume. After blending the tequila, additives are used to artificially enhance the colour, aroma and flavour making the 'joven' tequila appear more like a reposado, anejo or even extra anejo.
The process to soften Tequila flavour is called “Abocado”, and involves adding one or more of the following ingredients: caramel color, oak natural extract, glycerin and sugar syrup.
Cristalino tequila was introduced around 2011 with the release of Don Julio 70. It is an aged expression that is charcoal filtered to present as crystal clear. It is a controversial expression of tequila as the process not only strips out the colour but some of the flavour, aroma and fatty acid molecules as well.
The question is "why age a tequila to then remove the colour, flavour and aroma?". As a result of these elements being striped back, it is common place for additives to then be used to bring back before bottling.
We hope this blog article has enlighted you about the different expression of tequila and will enable you to choose the best one to suit your taste preferences. Be sure to try a wide variety of each as the end result is highly dependant on the skill and artisic direction of the master distiller.