Just like wine, tequila can be aged in a wood barrel and reposado refers to the amount of time the tequila has spent in the barrel. For reposado tequila, this is a minimum of two months up to almost a year. Tequila is made from the blue agave plant grown in the blue volcanic soil surrounding the area of Tequila, Mexico and its production is regulated by the Mexican government. The two official classifications for tequila are 100% agave and mixtos. 100% agave tequila is just that, agave tequila and nothing else. Mixtos are 51% agave with the other 49% made up of sugars and other fillers such as grain alcohol and corn syrup. From this comes bottled tequila which falls into one of five categories with the first one being “blanco” (white) or “plata” (silver). This tequila is either un-aged and bottled right after distillation or aged in stainless steel or neutral oak barrels for less than two months.
Reposado tequila is considered to be the first category of aged tequila and has spent at least 2 months up to 11 months in either wood barrels or storage tanks. After the aging process, the tequila turns a golden color and tastes like a fine balance between the wood and its natural agave flavors. The most common wood barrels used are either American or French oak although some tequilas are aged in used cognac, whiskey, and bourbon barrels. Eventually these tequilas become infused with those unique flavors.
For serious sipping and savoring, it’s best to drink Anejo tequilas which are aged longer and are therefore more expensive. Some companies like Dos Lunas age their tequilas almost twice as long as is required by Mexican law so it is possible to get a great reposado sipping tequila at a lower price than its pricier anejo counterpart. Because reposados have been aged, they have a more mellow flavor than a blanco and are great for margaritas because you don’t want to use an expensive tequila since the flavor will be mixed with the other ingredients. Reposado are also a good choice for tequila shots especially if you can get one that’s been aged an anejo length of time but sells for a reposado price.
– Vicky Choy