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What’s the difference between Blanco, Reposado, and Añejo?

Next time you sip on tequila, know which Mexican state it hails from, how it is made, and how it is categorized in its typing.

You’ve probably come across the words blanco, reposado, and añejo when ordering or buying tequila. For those who know what these words mean, you might want to skip to the end for some delicious cocktail recipes. But for those of you who’ve wondered what these three words mean, and how different each of them are from one another; read on.

Before we jump into the technicalities of blanco, reposado, and añejo, here’s a rundown of what exactly is tequila and why not all agave spirits can be classified as tequila.

  • Tequila is only produced in five Mexican states, namely, Jalisco, Guanajuato, Michoacán, Nayarit, and Tamaulipas.
  • Tequila is classified into two categories - 100% and mixto.
  • A 100% tequila must be distilled with no additional sugar before fermentation, and also bottled within its production region.
  • For those bottles that don’t have the 100% tag, it’s probably a mixto.
  • The mixto or mixed tequila restricts natural agave nuances to rise like they do with 100% agave productions.
  • A minimum of 51% agave sugars must be present in the spirit to be recognized as tequila.

Now that we’re all caught up on our tequila, let’s get back to why we’re here. Oh yes, blanco, reposado, and añejo tequila.

Blanco (White/Silver/Plata)

grancentenarioplata blanco silver tequila

Gran Centenario Plata, Source: Instagram

Most commonly known as silver or white tequila, Blanco is the youngest version of the agave spirit. Highlighting the true expression of tequila with the slightly sweet sugars of the blue Weber agave, the transparent liquid is the purest form of tequila you can buy. The fermentation and distillation process is quick, and with no barrel aging, the spirit makes sure no agave flavor is left untouched.

Due to its high potency of grassy herbal notes and black pepper spices, Blanco tequila is best when combined with a mixer.

Tequila cocktails are all the rage right now, so why not try one made with a tequila recommended by some of the best spirits experts in the country?

Lime Paleta Charro Negro

Recipe by Gran Centenario

The Gran Centenario Tequila comes with over 150 years of history and is known to be the world’s first tequila. Gran Centenario Plata is creamy with delicate notes of vanilla, lime zest, and black pepper. The vegetal palate exudes hints of herbs and honeysuckle.

Ingredients:

  • 2 oz Gran Centenario Plata Tequila (silver medal, 2021 USA Spirits Ratings)
  • 0.5 oz fresh lime juice
  • Mexican cola
  • Lime paleta

Add Gran Centenario Plata tequila and lime juice to a glass filled with ice, and stir. Top with Mexican cola, insert the lime paleta, and serve.

Reposado (Rested)

teremanareposado reposado tequila

Teremana Reposado, Source: Instagram

The word reposado means rested, in Spanish. Reposado tequila stays in the barrel for a duration of 2 months to a year, depending on the flavor profile a distiller is looking to achieve.

Coming in contact with the wooden tannins of the oak, the tequila cloaks itself in a light golden hue, and with that, mellow flavors of caramel and vanilla. The short resting ensures that natural agave flavors are not lost in the process. Either sip straight with some lime and salt or add it to a cocktail.

Teremana Old Fashioned

Recipe by Teremana

Crafted in the Jalisco Highlands, Teremana Reposado (which we’re sure you already know of), displays oak and vanilla flavors, finishing smoothly. Owned by Dwayne ‘the Rock’ Johnson, Teremana’s launch is considered to be one of the greatest launches in the spirits industry.

Ingredients:

  • 2 oz Teremana Reposado (Tequila of the Year, 2021 USA Spirits Ratings)
  • 1 bar spoon of agave nectar
  • 2 dashes of desired cocktail bitters (orange or angostura)

Stir all the ingredients and strain into a rocks glass with ice and garnish with an orange peel.

Añejo (Aged)

Reaching maturity in the life cycle of tequila aging, añejo sits in the barrel for a duration of one year to three years, with a maximum cask capacity of 600 liters. After thorough aging, añejo tequila comes out with strong flavors from the oak and floral hints in the background. It also derives a darker shade of gold than the reposado with agave characteristics taken over by other nuances.

It is used as a substitute for whiskey in cocktail making due to its smooth and caramelized texture. So you can drink it on the rocks just like you would do with a good bourbon.

Golden Angel

Recipe by Gran Centenario

grancentenarioanejo anejo tequila

Golden Angel cocktail made with Gran Centenario Añejo, Source: Instagram

Aged in American oak barrels, Gran Centenario Añejo blossoms with black pepper, baking spices, and bell pepper nuances on the nose. The body is made up of caramel, coffee, toffee, and peppery notes, making the profile well balanced. Behold yourself for unparalleled smoothness and a slightly sweet aftertaste.

Ingredients:

  • 1.5 parts Gran Centenario Añejo Tequila (silver medal, 2021 USA Spirits Ratings)
  • 1/2 part fresh lemon juice
  • 1/2 part fresh lime juice
  • 1/4 part pressed ginger juice
  • 1/2 part agave nectar
  • A dash of kosher salt
  • Garnish: Fresh lemon and lime wedges

Combine all the ingredients in a cocktail shaker with ice. Shake and strain over fresh ice into a double rocks glass. Garnish with wedges of fresh lemon and lime.

But that’s not all the types of tequila out there. We have two more for you.

Joven (Gold)

Usually, joven or gold-colored tequila deceives new buyers into believing this type to be a premium due to its color. Adding sugar, glycerin, and other flavorings to the blanco is how the joven comes to life. You may find it hard getting your hands on one as they are not readily available everywhere. But don’t worry if you are looking for one.

Try the Libélula Joven Tequila. It integrates lime peel, kiwi, and cocoa powder with a generous dose of white pepper.

Shop here.

Extra Añejo (Ultra Aged)

A tequila type getting a classification in 2005, extra añejo is the grandfather of all tequilas. To be categorized as an extra añejo, a tequila must spend more than 3 years in the barrel. And once it does, the transformation of the spirit from its original version is quite remarkable.

 It leaves behind the bold flavors of agave and adds a fine smoothness and complexity that earn comparisons with other refined and well-rounded spirits. If you are looking to spend megabucks on top-notch tequila, we recommend you take in the aromas and flavors with a slow sipping method.

Excuse us while we whip up a Teremana Old-Fashioned. What tequila are you going to be drinking next?

Header image - Gran Centenario Tequila, Source: Instagram

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