The tequila most commonly found in stores or online stores is the “Tequila Blanco”. It is often called Tequila White or Tequila Silver as well.
This is an unaged Tequila. It may be stored in stainless steel containers for a maximum of 60 days after final distillation before it is bottled. It is also allowed to age in very large oak barrels for a maximum of 30 days but this is usually not done. These young Tequilas are usually very potent, sometimes a bit harsh and very spicy. The typical flavors of a Tequila Blanco include agave, citrus, pepper, some herbs and spices, occasionally sweet notes such as vanilla and chocolate.
The Tequila Blancos are usually the cheapest Tequilas in the assortment. This is due to the fact that they were not costly aged in barrels. The low price means, that many tequila newcomers experience their first taste impressions with exactly this Tequila version. Peppery, intense, a bit harsh, slight to medium burning sensation in the throat, accompanied by a noticeable, sometimes quite strong alcoholic note. For some of those tequila newcomers, this is unfortunately the first, often also the last experience with tequila.
What happened? Well, tequila connoisseurs agree. The novice and his palate were not prepared for the powerful and dominant attack of a potent tequila Blanco. Therefore, the entry into the fascinating world of Tequilas with a matured and usually much milder Tequila is recommended. An anejo or even an extra anejo are ideal for this, even if they are more expensive than their younger brother.
For the Tequila connoisseur with a sufficiently sensitized palate, however, the category Tequila Blanco is quite interesting. Since this is the purest offshoot of the Tequila family, the expert palate will notice flaws such as sulfur, petroleum, gum or even very one-sided and / or dominant flavors relatively easily.
Generally, one can say that – if of a product family (Blanco, Reposado, Anejo, Extra Anejo) the Blanco does not taste good and is not enjoyable (assuming advanced Tequila experience is given) – the aged versions (anejo, extra anejo) will be very likely also not very enjoyable.
Reverse conclusion, this means that if the Blanco is very unbalanced, tastes bad and is not really enjoyable – the Extra Anejo, however, tastes excellent, then this could be an indication that flavors were hidden or superimposed during the barrel aging.
To reduce the mentioned sharpness and burning to a good degree, all AsomBroso Tequilas are distilled one more time (altogether 3 times). They are also going thru a very sophisticated complex filter system. Hereby, the highest attention is paid not to filter out the natural flavors of the agave, but only the unwanted impurities and methanol. The end result is the award-winning and awarded AsomBroso El Platino, a very balanced and fine tequila that hides neither its origin nor its potency.
Tequila Reposado is made out of Tequila Blanco which has been aged between 3 and 12 months in wooden barrels. The size of the barrels varies between 200 liters and 20,000 liters. By resting in wooden barrels, the tequila will get milder and smoother, it also takes on barrel-typical flavors and is therefore more complex in its taste. It also gets the typical amber-like color.
The following basic rules can be cited for barrel aging:
- Smaller barrels mean, a higher wood contact and a faster change of the Tequilas color and taste. When using new, unused barrels, the same effect occurs.
- Bigger barrels mean, less wood contact and a slower change of the Tequilas color and taste. When using old, used barrels, the same effect occurs.
- The longer a barrel is used, the less flavor it can give to the Tequila. As a rule of thumb, barrels used for up to 5 years are considered typically used up and getting disposed or re-charred.
Therefore, a reposado that has been stored in new, unused barrels for 5 months may as well have a much stronger color and a more complex taste spectrum than one that has been stored for 8 months in old, used up barrels.
The wood type typically used for barrels are American, French or Canadian oak.
The AsomBroso LaRosa Reposado is a very unique Tequila, that goes for its color as well as for its taste spectrum. Used Bordeaux barrels are used to rest the El Platino for 3 full month, the final result is a Tequila which is unpaired with any other Tequila Reposado.
To be officially called an ‘Tequila Anejo’, the Spirit must have been rested in wooden barrels for a minimum of 12 months and a maximum of 36 months. The maximum barrel size is regulated for the Anejo’s (for Reposado’s it is unregulated). 600 liters or less are specified by the Mexican Tequila Regulatory Authority, Consejo Regulador del Tequila.
The smaller distilleries typically use barrels on the lower side of specification with a volume of around 200-250 liters.
Also for the Anejo’s the following basic rules can be stated for barrel storage:
- The smaller the barrel, the higher the wood contact and the faster the tequila changes its color and taste. When using new, unused barrels, the same effect occurs.
- The bigger the barrel, the less the wood contact is and the longer it takes for the tequila to change its color and taste. When using old, used barrels, the same effect occurs.
- The longer a barrel is used, the less flavor it can give to the Tequila. As a rule of thumb, barrels used for around 5 years are considered used up and should be disposed or re-charred.
Due to the longer resting / aging period and consequently a longer contact with the wooden barrels, Anejo Tequilas are typically noticeable milder, having complex aromas and flavors that are also typically found in whiskeys and bourbons. Good and balanced aged Anejos should also have a noticeable Agave note left.
In the early years of this millennium, more and more manufacturers have matured their premium tequilas, sometimes called ‘special reserves’ or the like, for 4 years, 5 years and, in very rare cases, longer. As a result, a new tequila category was launched in 2006, the Extra Anejo’s.
AsomBroso does not have any Anejos in their product portfolio. Ricardo Gamarra (Founder and CEO of AsomBroso) decided that an Anejo is not giving him the depth and complexity he envisions for his Fine Tequilas. Therefore, the ‘youngest’ aged Tequila in the AsomBroso portfolio is the Gran Reserva which has been rested for 5 years in new French Oak barrels and is consequently an Extra Anejo Tequila.
Tequila Extra Anejo
Tequilas aged for at least 36 months or more in wooden barrels are called Tequila Extra Anejo. As with the Anejos, the maximum barrel volume is 600 liters, but usually barrels with a volume of around 200-250 liters are used.
The Tequila Extra Anejos are usually the most expensive and exclusive Versions in the Brand-Portfolio. This is due to the fact that the distillers have to store their Product with a commercial value of tens of thousands of euros and more for many years before they can bottle and sell it. All that is pre-financed. Furthermore, the barrels filled with Tequilas lose up to 12% of their content each year. This is due to the Angels share. The Angels share is nothing else then Tequila that goes through the pores and fine cracks of the wooden barrels and then volatilize on the outside of the barrels. In figures, this means that a barrel containing 200 liters of Tequila at the beginning of the resting period will only contain around 105 liters after 5 years of resting, and only 55 liters after 10 years of resting.
Perhaps, this is an extreme example only happening if the storage surrounding/area is very disadvantageous. Typically, the Angel-Share resulting in a proper storage environment in a Tequila Destillerie is between 2% and 4%.
The vast majority of manufacturers use barrels which have been used (sometimes used-up) to rest their Extra Anejos. These barrels are predominantly discarded and/or exhausted barrels from Whiskey and / or Bourbon distillers, containing only very little flavors anymore.
A good Extra Anejo Tequila should have a strong color, it should be very mild, balanced and complex, it should have sweetish and woody notes but those shall not stand out and / or cover up all other flavors.
Due to the long aging time of the agave, followed by the elaborate production of the Tequila itself and in the case of aged varieties its very expensive resting/storage, it becomes obvious, that Extra Anejo Tequilas are a very high quality product which should therefore be enjoyed with the utmost respect and recognition. A good Tequila should be enjoyed out of a suitable glass without salt, lemon, ice….just pure at room temperature.
AsomBroso has a good variety of fine Extra Anejos, some double barreled, some aged in Premium Cabernet Sauvignon barrels, some aged up to 12 years.