Lou “Tequila” Caruso came to us through the comments on our blog. Since we’re mostly mezcal folks, we are always looking for a few good recs when it comes to tequila. With that said, we asked Lou to give us his list of 5 Tequilas Everyone Needs to Experience to add to our series.
Lou said 5 was just too hard so he gave us two lists, one with blancos which you can read here, and this list of his “aged” tequilas. But before you go too far, here’s a little help in understanding the terms.
Reposado… rested and aged, it has been in barrels or storage tanks between 2 – 11 months. Typically you would expect to see oak barrels used.
Anejo… this is aged, or if you will, more reposado! Anejo has to have been in barrels for at least a year, and those barrels can only hold 600 liters, or about 150 gallons. Anejos have a more amber color.
Extra Anejo… Okay, now we’re getting a little geeky, but this is really rested and aged. Added as a category in 2006, the extra anejos must remain in the barrel at least three years. This extra time darkens the color and brings out the full complexities and bold flavors of tequila.
So, now that you know a little vocab, here are Lou’s Top 5 Aged tequilas, as always, in no particular order…
Fortaleza… Their reposado can not be topped. It’s a bold, smooth, tasty lowlands (El Valle) sipper. This is a special tequila made in the old world artisan ways. Aged in American oak, it’s a complicated tequila with an earthy, cinnamon, caramel, citrus taste including notes of olive and butter. You can just taste the labor involved in every sip. Absolutely marvelous.
T1 Estelar… The Estelar Anejo is a solid, well made and well priced tequila. It has a dark, rich color and a flavorful profile. You’ll find some mild heat with notes of chocolate, caramel, fruit, light smoke and sweet cognac. This tequila is made from highland agaves hand picked by German Gonzalez. Let it sit in your glass for a few minutes, you can’t go wrong. This is a winner.
Siembra Azul… David Suro of Siembra Azul has a very pleasant tasting highland anejo here. It shows mild smoke with hints of mint, vanilla, cinnamon, caramel, citrus and fruit. Aged for 18 months in white oak barrels, this tequila is rich and very enjoyable to drink.
Tears of Llorona… This is a bold flavorful exquisite extra anejo made by German Gonzales of T1 Tequila. It is sweet with some light heat, and notes of spice, honey, leather, cherry and chocolate. Smooth and silky, this slightly smoky tequila has a nice cognac/whiskey profile. This is a little high priced, so it should be sipped for special occasions.
Tapatio Excelencia… The gold standard for extra anejo. Made by Carlos Camarena in the highlands this is a very bold and complicated tequila. You’ll find aromas of oak,whiskey/cognac, sweet agave, cream, vanilla, spice, pepper, smoke, caramel, leather, tobacco, pear, butter and spearmint. and floral. With a nice oily taste, you’ll also experience some spice, heat, pepper, a little sweetness, caramel, chocolate,leather/tobacco, fruit and a little bit of smoke. This is a tremendously bold and delicious extra anejo tequila.