The Art of Tequila Tasting: A Guide to All Varieties
Tequila, the spirit of Mexico, has a rich history and an even richer variety of flavours. Beyond just a drink for shots and margaritas, Tequila offers a world of complexity that can be enjoyed like fine wine or whiskey. In this guide, we will teach you the art of Tequila tasting, helping you discover the nuances of this glorious drink.
Before starting the tasting experience, it is essential to understand the basics of Tequila. Tequila is made from the fermented juice of the Blue Weber Agave plant. Tequila must be made with at least 51% Blue Weber Agave, and spirits that are made with 100% Agave like VIVIR Tequila are the most sought-after. Tequila is categorised into different types, including Blanco (Silver), Reposado, Añejo, and Extra Añejo, each aged for different periods and offering distinct flavour profiles.
VARIETIES OF TEQUILA
In addition to the different purity levels, Tequila is also categorised based on its ageing process into four distinct types: Blanco (Silver), Reposado, Añejo, and Extra Añejo. Here is a breakdown:
Blanco Tequila is typically not aged or aged for a short period, resulting in a clear appearance and the most authentic Agave flavours. It is often described as crisp, fresh, and vibrant, with citrus and pepper notes.
Reposado Tequila is aged in oak barrels for a minimum of two months but less than a year. This ageing gives a smoother character with subtle notes of vanilla and oak, while still retaining the Agave's essence.
Añejo Tequila is aged between one and three years, developing a deeper amber colour and complex flavours reminiscent of caramel, chocolate, and spices. It's a favourite among connoisseurs for its refined taste.
4. EXTRA AÑEJO
Extra Añejo Tequila is aged for over three years, resulting in an even richer, darker spirit with intense flavours of wood, leather, and dried fruits.
THE TASTING PROCESS
Once you have selected the Tequila you will be tasting, you then need to prepare for the tasting. To fully appreciate the complexities and subtleties of Tequila, you will need all your senses to be ready and alert.
Begin by ensuring you are in a well-ventilated environment, free from any distracting smells. Take a moment to cleanse your palate with a sip of water or a plain cracker, to reset your taste buds. Doing so will allow you to better perceive the nuances of different Tequila varieties.
Do not forget to consider the temperature of your Tequila either! While some prefer it at room temperature to unlock the full spectrum of flavours, others might choose to slightly chill it. Once you are ready, here is how you should proceed:
STEP 1: CHOOSING THE RIGHT GLASSWARE
To truly appreciate the nuances of Tequila, start with selecting the right glass. A narrow and tall glass would be ideal as this shape prevents too much of the aroma from escaping. This offers a better taste concentration, allowing you to experience the full bouquet of the spirit.
STEP 2: OBSERVE THE APPEARANCE
Pour a small amount of Tequila into the glass and observe its appearance. Hold it up to the light and look for clarity and consistency. Quality Tequila should be clear and bright, without any sediment or cloudiness.
STEP 3: SMELLING
Bring the glass to your nose and take a gentle sniff. Tequila's aromas can be diverse, ranging from earthy to fruity to herbal. Swirl the Tequila in the glass to release more aromas, and take your time identifying the scents.
STEP 4: THE TASTE TEST
Now comes the exciting part – tasting. Take a small sip and let it coat your palate. Notice the initial flavours, the body, and the finish. Quality Tequila will have a smooth entry and a complex flavour profile. Pay attention to any sweetness, spiciness, or smokiness that emerges.
STEP 5: SAVOUR THE FINISH
The finish is the lingering taste that remains after you've swallowed the Tequila. A great Tequila will have a pleasant and long-lasting finish, leaving you with a desire for another sip.
Tequila tasting is an art that invites exploration and appreciation of its diverse range of flavours and styles. Whether you prefer the fresh notes of Blanco or the complexity of Extra Añejo, Tequila has something to offer for everyone.
For more tips and advice on equal tasting or mixing, check out our blog. To order high-quality Tequila, check out our online shop.
Remember to drink responsibly and in moderation, and always savour the artistry of Tequila tasting. Salud!