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Tasting Notes: Comparing the Flavor Profiles of Blanco and Reposado Tequila

Tequila is one of the most popular alcoholic spirits across the globe. From the highlands of Jalisco, Mexico to the finest hotels and restaurants in Europe, tequila can be found behind just about every bar, everywhere. And you won’t just find one type — you’ll find several tequila expressions, including blanco and reposado.  


If you’ve ever seen multiple bottles of tequila behind a bar, you’ve probably noticed that they range in color from clear to shades of pale yellow and dark gold. And as the colors vary, so do the flavors.


Not sure which one to try the next time you’re in the mood for a drink?


Here’s a look into the tasting notes and flavor profiles of blanco vs reposado tequila.


Tequila Flavors Develop with Time

To better understand why blanco and reposado tequila taste so different, it helps to know a little bit about how tequila is made.


While the tequila-making process is lengthy and complex, it takes just three ingredients to make this beloved Mexican spirit:


  • Blue Weber agave

  • Water

  • Yeast


So why is it that blanco and reposado taste and look so different?


Because of how they’re aged.


Tequila is ready for bottling once the distillation process is complete. Blancos aren’t aged, so they can be bottled immediately. Reposado is aged in barrels for up to eleven months. The longer it sits in the barrel, the darker it becomes and the more it takes on the flavors of the barrel itself.


This article from Cierto goes into more depth on the tequila-making process and how aging has such an effect on the taste.


How Does Blanco Tequila Taste?

Blanco, also called plata or silver, is clear. Because it’s not aged, it is tequila in its purest form, delivering the most agave-forward flavor. With nothing to alter its original taste, it tastes like pure agave. Aging makes the spirit smoother, so blanco has a crisper, sharper bite than aged tequilas such as reposado, añejo or extra añejo.


Blanco tastes fresh, with bright floral and citrus notes. Because of its sharp bite, it pairs beautifully with a variety of different foods, including:


  • Grilled shrimp

  • Oysters

  • Sushi

  • Young cheeses   


Blanco has a truly unique flavor when sipped neat, and it mixes perfectly into fresh, citrus-forward cocktails.  


How Does Reposado Tequila Taste?

The Spanish word “reposado” means rested, and that’s exactly what reposado tequila is. After distillation, reposado is placed in oak barrels and aged for a minimum of two months and a maximum of eleven months.


As it ages, it takes on the flavors of the barrels it’s aged in. It also turns a pale yellow color. The result is a smooth and refined spirit, often with notes of light butterscotch, caramel, and cinnamon. These flavors make it perfect for pairing with:


  • Beef

  • Pork

  • Cured and dried meats

  • Aged cheeses


Because reposado is aged for less than one year, it retains much of the natural flavors of the agave. For people who are new to drinking tequila, reposado is the perfect foray into the spirit. It’s a bit smoother than blanco, yet not as complex as añejo, which is aged up to three years.


The Best Ways to Enjoy Blanco and Reposado Tequila

Experts say that the best way to enjoy any type of tequila is to sip it neat or on the rocks. Without mixers, you can enjoy all the authentic, unique flavors it has to offer. With that said, it also mixes deliciously into a wide variety of different cocktails.  


Blanco is the most popular tequila expression used in cocktails. Crisp and refreshing mixed drinks, like the paloma, margarita, and ranch water, allow the natural agave to shine through and make for a light, fresh alcoholic beverage.


Reposado, with its pale gold color, is the expression of choice for Mexican mules and tequila-based espresso martinis. For people who prefer the smoothness of reposado over the crisp bite of blanco, it works just as well in spicy margaritas and palomas with grapefruit juice and fresh lime.


When Choosing a Tequila, Opt for Additive-Free

All tequila includes the three key ingredients of blue Weber agave, yeast, and water. Additive-free brands use only these three ingredients, but most brands include additives as well. Glycerin, sugar-based syrups, caramel coloring, and oak extract are commonly added to enhance flavors and make a tequila look darker to appear as if it’s been aged longer.


By expert standards, additive-free tequila is always the preferred choice. Find a complete list of certified additive-free brands here.  


In Conclusion

Some people prefer blanco, some prefer reposado. Some sip their preferred expression neat, while others prefer it mixed into a cocktail.


There’s no right or wrong way to enjoy tequila, and there’s no way to say which expression is best. It’s a matter of personal preference, and the only way to find your favorite is to sample, sip, taste, and taste again. 


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