Don Julio reposado tequila is a dependable agave-forward highland tequila. Its grassy, almost funky vegetal notes lead to flavors of stewed fruits, caramel and baking spice.
Classification: añejo tequila
Distillery: Tequila Tres Magueyes S.A. de C.V.
Cask: American oak, ex-bourbon
Still Type: stainless steel pot still (double-distilled)
Proof: 80 (40% ABV)
Aged: 8 months
Awards: Silver Medal, San Francisco World Spirits Competition 2020
- The most agave-forward bottle in the Don Julio portfolio
- A great introduction into the premium tequila category
- If you’re used to shooting tequila or throwing it into a Frozen Margarita, an aged bottle may not be your best bet.
- The “funky” grass and stewed-fruit notes may not appeal to those who like a “sweeter” and less-challenging tequila.
Color: Pale straw gold
Nose: It opens with a strong grassy and almost funky vegetal agave note, very different from the blanco, with hints of honey, stewed fruit and very light vanilla-oak. As it sits in the glass, the “edge” comes off, and the grassy agave notes dominate.
Palate: At the front of the mouth, it’s a medley of agave-grass-vegetal notes and stewed tropical-fruit overtones, with a hint of sweetness and spicy oak highlight. As it moves to the midpalate, it’s medium- to full-bodied, with an emphasis on herbaceous notes and some vanilla. As you swallow, you get a hit of green pepper along with baking spices and a slight oaky exit.
Finish: A long, pleasing finish that’s warming and fruit-forward with caramel and pineapple, as well as lingering agave on the tongue.
Rested tequila can develop a very different profile after just a few months from its blanco and añejo siblings. Hand-harvested, 6- to 10-year-old blue Weber agave from the Los Altos (highlands) region of Jalisco is shredded and slow-cooked before being thrown into large steel fermentation tanks with a proprietary agave yeast, then double-distilled in stainless steel pot stills. The spirit then ages in American white oak ex-bourbon barrels for about eight months before it’s brought down to proof and bottled.
In this case, the reposado features the original agave more significantly than in either the unaged or añejo expressions. It’s a clean, clear expression of blue Weber, with all the fruit and grass many seek in a tequila. This is a sipper through and through. Shooting it may feel awkward thanks to the extra character. And while it will work in many cocktails, drinkers accustomed to a blanco in their Margaritas or Palomas may feel there’s too much character here. On the other hand, in cocktails where you’re replacing a blended scotch or an Irish whiskey with tequila, this may be the ideal option.
Reposados can be tough when it comes to comparisons. Some are light and fruity, barely discernible from blancos, while others trend closer to añejos. So rather than try and compare it to other reposados across the board, it may be best to evaluate this from a price-point perspective. In my estimation, the brand’s suggested retail price of $50 per bottle (actual prices vary wildly) seems about right for this one. Put it on your shelf alongside Camarena, Casamigos, Partida or Patrón for an interesting flight of lightly aged tequilas.=
There really was a Don Julio Gonzales, who started his journey in tequila at age 15. If you’re able to visit the distillery, you’ll also find one of the most beautiful distilleries in Jalisco, with an excellent kitchen (private prebooked tours only, once things are fully reopened again).
The bottom line: Don Julio tequila reposado is a dependable sipper and adds significant character to traditional tequila cocktails or as a replacement for lighter-bodied whiskeys.