From barely oaked to showing lots of deep, rich flavor, reposado Tequila can express a myriad of personalities. The category occupies a unique space in the middle of the aging range, with the spirits rested in oak barrels from two months to one year.
Many of the reposados on this list are on the lighter side of the oak spectrum, yielding Tequilas that are lean rather than lush. That easier hand means that herbaceous, mineral-like and fruity or vegetal notes shine through in a lively way.
A number of producers are working on the opposite end of the spectrum and creating reposados with more pronounced oak presence, like interesting cask selections that add complexity. For example, Kostiv ages its reposado for six months in barrels that previously held Cabernet Sauvignon, which lends nutty, fruity tones. Elsewhere, Partida’s Roble Fino expression spends six months in ex-Bourbon casks, then another two months in barrels that previously held single-malt whiskey. The end result: a Tequila that drinks remarkably like a mellow whiskey. And Lobos Reposado PX is finished in Pedro Ximénez Sherry casks, which add honeyed richness.
The category occupies a unique space in the middle of the aging range, with the spirits rested in oak barrels from two months to one year.
If the distinguishing characteristic of a reposado is how long it ages, what does it say that some producers find ways around that restriction? For example, the Lobos Reposado PX mentioned above is blended with a touch of longer-aged extra añejo Tequila. See also the El Tequileño Reposado Rare, which ages for a full six years in American oak—longer than many extra añejos. Yet, because it’s aged in a vessel larger than the 600 liter maximum, it still gets to bear the reposado label. It’s an odd loophole.
So which reposado to choose—a longer-oaked version that exhibits plenty of vanilla and spice, or a less oaked version that’s citrusy and bright? Luckily, there’s room for both types on the shelf.
Ocho Reposado Tequila; $55, 96 points. This lively, bright Tequila will please purists. A light hand with the oak means a straw hue and brisk aromas of jalapeño and citrus. The palate melds flavors of bell pepper, fresh rosemary and roasted jalapeño that lead into mild coconut and graphite notes on the midpalate, finishing with a fresh herb exhale.
La Gritona Reposado; $31, 95 points. Look for a pale straw hue and fruity/funky aromas. The palate offers distinct tropical fruit notes, opening with lychee and a faint floral hint, plus a faint waft of ripe banana funk midpalate. The finish is long and drying, showing grapefruit peel and pink peppercorn. Sip or mix into Palomas. Best Buy.
El Gran Jubileo Reposado Tequila; $34, 94 points. Vibrant yellow in the glass, this Tequila takes a minute to open, morphing from mild almond to a deeper vanilla scent. The palate feels light, almost slick, and echoes that almond and vanilla profile at first, before growing more complex in lemon verbena, lemongrass and hints of pine and tarragon. A drying, elongated finish is accented by a white pepper tingle. Aged 11 months. Best Buy.
El Tequileño Reposado Rare Tequila; $225, 94 points. This reposado is rested six years in American oak (more than required for reposado), yet because it was aged in a vessel larger than the 600-liter maximum, it still gets to bear the reposado label. The liquid offers distinctly sweet aromas of vanilla, maple and dried fig. The palate echoes those tones, layering on clove, allspice and cayenne.
Kostiv Reposado Tequila; $50, 94 points. Aged 6 months in charred barrels that previously held Cabernet Sauvignon, this drinks almost like a Tequila-whiskey hybrid. The liquid is tawny and bright, with aromas that suggest fresh apple drizzled with honey. The palate continues the orchard fruit, reading more like baked pear, leading into a distinctly nutty midpalate that starts with almond richness, then drying walnut. The finish is wonderfully bracing, with citrusy acidity and faint jalapeño heat.
Antaño Reposado Tequila; $40, 93 points. Zesty jalapeño tickles the nose. The palate opens with a pleasant rush of vanilla and tropical fruit, giving way to a fleetingly sweet and slightly numbing finish that suggests Cubeb peppers, pink peppercorns and jalapeño.
Arette Artesanal Suave Reposado Tequila; $35, 93 points. This Tequila offers mild roasted agave and lime peel aromas. The soft palate opens with earthy almond and cocoa tones, perked up with lime-peel zing and clove heat. Best Buy.
Corralejo Reposado Tequila; $26, 92 points. Coconut and pineapple play lightly on the nose and palate, interwoven with richer hints of vanilla sweetness. The brisk, mouthwatering finish adds peppery, citrusy zing. Best Buy.
Lobos Reposado PX Tequila; $48, 92 points. This Tequila is aged 6 months in American oak, then finished in PX Sherry casks and blended with a touch of extra añejo Tequila. The end result is rich, honeyed tones with a bit of savory edge. Cooked agave and coconut aromas lead the nose, while the palate opens with distinctly peppery vibes. Bell pepper and jalapeño segue into clove, cayenne, coconut and vanilla.
Partida Roble Fino Reposado Tequila; $100, 92 points. A minimum six-month rest in ex-Bourbon barrels followed by another 2 months in ex-single malt casks has draped this Tequila in rich finery. Look for a deep golden hue and savory aromas that suggest fresh tomato. The bold palate opens with Sherry, dried dates, golden raisins and candied ginger. The long finish is laced with creamy caramel.