Patrón silver tequila is a fine unaged spirit that works well as both a sipper and a mixer. Its flavors of agave, eucalyptus and white pepper lead to a smooth, savory finish.
Classification: blanco (unaged) tequila
Company: Patrón Spirits Company
Distillery: Hacienda Patrón
Cask type: N/A
Still type: copper pot
Released: 1989; ongoing
- As Patrón’s sales and production have grown, rather than invest in more efficient industrial production methods, the brand has simply bought more of the same pot stills used to make its original batches of tequila, ensuring consistency of flavor over the long run.
- Patrón has one of the most recognizable and attractive bottles in the world of tequila; it looks great on a home bar or in a liquor cabinet.
- As befits a self-described “super premium” brand, Patrón is priced quite high for an unaged tequila. While the difference is arguably noticeable when sipping, in cocktails it’s less so.
Color: Crystal clear, as befits an unaged spirit
Nose: The lovely, vegetal aroma of cooked agave; think grass and green peppers. It’s a little earthy, too, with hints of eucalyptus. It really gives a sense of the terroir (or tierra) of Jalisco.
Palate: Dry and mineral, with savory, slightly funky roasted agave and white pepper, underscored by vanilla and anise, it has a very smooth, lush mouthfeel.
Finish: Dry and agave-heavy, with a moderately spicy kick and a long, savory afterglow that whets the appetite for another sip
The history of the tequila industry can almost be divided into before Patrón and after Patrón. Launched in 1989, Patrón bucked the perception of tequila as a lousy-tasting bottom-shelf party drink and almost single-handedly elevated it into the spirits pantheon along with whiskey and cognac. Patrón’s distinctive beehive-shaped bottle and round cork became iconic in bars and liquor stores in the 1990s and 2000s, and the brand remains a symbol of quality and opulence today.
Patrón tends to be as vilified today as it was glorified during its first two decades of ascendancy. As the second-best-selling tequila in the world after Jose Cuervo and with a glitzy reputation as the Macallan of tequila, there are plenty of competitors and naysayers looking to knock the brand off its lofty perch. But the proof is in the drinking, and more than three decades after its debut, the fact remains that Patrón still makes an excellent tequila.
Cask-aging can mask a tequila’s true nature; an unaged blanco tequila has to stand on its own merits, without hiding behind a barrel. And Patrón silver is an excellent tequila. Complex and multilayered, it makes a fantastic Margarita or Paloma, but it’s also surprisingly good as a sipper (blancos are commonly perceived as mixers), either neat or on the rocks, perhaps with a squeeze of lime. The drawback is that Patrón silver is significantly pricier than most other blancos, which may give a buyer pause before mixing up a casual round of weeknight Margs. As a result, it may get relegated to a special-occasion pour.
Patrón’s distiller, Francisco Alcaraz, remained at the helm from the brand’s founding in 1989 until his death in 2021.
Patrón is still made in part using the old-fashioned tahona method, in which the cooked agave is crushed using a large stone wheel to extract the juice.
The bottom line: Patrón silver is pricey for its category, but it’s also an excellent tequila that works beautifully as a mixer and is eye-opening to sip. It’s a little pricey for an everyday tequila, but it’s worth having on the shelf for special occasions.