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For those who have only tried bright blancos and honeyed reposados, añejotequilas can be a revelation. Aged between one and three years, añejos are particularly rich and complex. Time in the barrel yields plenty of vanilla, dried fruit and spice flavors, all meant to slow down and savor. Think of these as sipping tequilas.
And that’s just the starting point. Producers also are experimenting with aging Tequila in casks that previously held other liquids—some for the full duration of the aging process, others for briefer times as a novel finish. Wine lovers in particular will want to look to producers like Don Fulano, working with French wine casks, while bourbon-philes may be interested in the ongoing experimental line from Sazerac’s Corazón Expresiones series, which rests its añejo in rare Stagg and Weller bourbon barrels, among others. While these barrels contribute their own unique character, the nuances of agave still shine through—the sign of an añejo done right.
Think of these as sipping tequilas.
For those seeking something a bit more extreme, there’s always extra añejo, aged three years or longer. Often these are available in limited quantities and aimed at the luxury market. The extra time on oak can develop deep toffee and cocoa notes, akin to some Cognacs or longer-aged whiskeys.
Of note, these reviews also include a selection of cristalinos, an emerging category in the Tequila space. Cristalino, which means crystalline in Spanish, is oak-aged Tequila that’s filtered with charcoal for clarity. In keeping with the añejo theme, we’ve focused on añejo cristalinos, though reposado cristalinos exist too.
Designed to be smooth and easy-sipping, many have a light sweetness, accompanied by subtle honey, almond or coconut tones. Just like their tawny-hued traditional brethren, cristalino añejos are ideal to sip and savor.
Casa Komos Añejo Cristalino Tequila; $120. Buy on Drizly. This Tequila was aged in French oak white wine barrels, filtered for clarity, then aerated in clay amphorae… SEE SCORE AND FULL REVIEW
Corazón Expresiones George T. Stagg Añejo Tequila; $80. Buy on Total Wine & More. This Tequila was aged 22 months in barrels that previously held George T. Stagg bourbon, yielding a pale straw hue and coconut and almond aromas… SEE SCORE AND FULL REVIEW