There are two basic types of tequila – 100% blue agave tequila and mixto. The 100% blue agave tequila is distilled entirely from the fermented juice of the agave. 100% agave tequilas are required to be distilled and bottled in Mexico. In case your bottle of tequila isn’t clearly marked as 100% blue agave, the tequila is mixto and can have been distilled from a minimum of 60% agave juice with some other sugars. Tequila prepared from only agave sugars are made in Mexico, and are marked Hecho en Mxico. Tequila is aged in wooden barrels which are most of the time made from oak.
As tequila is aged, it becomes smoother, with a woody taste and golden color. Aging might disguise the agave flavour and few types of tequila are aged longer than 3 to 4 years. Every distillery in Mexico is assigned a NOM number to show that the distiller has complied with Mexican Government standards. It also shows which company made or bottled the tequila. Blanco tequila is 100% agave tequila that’s not aged or treated with additives. This is the traditional tequila that’s clear and transparent and fresh from the still. Blanco – also referred to as white or silver tequila – must be bottled immediately after the distillation process.
This kind of tequila has scent and flavour of the blue agave. It’s typically strong and is traditionally enjoyed in a Caballito or shot glass. Gold tequila is tequila that gains its colour by aging in oaks barrels if it’s 100% agave. There’s also gold or Oro tequila that’s mellowed by adding colours and flavorings like caramel. This tequila is most often used for making Margaritas. This is Blanco tequila which has been rested in white oak casks or vats called Pipones for at least two months and up to one year. The aging on oak gives Reposado a smooth taste, enjoyable bouquet, and a pale color.
Reposado tequila maintains the flavour of the blue agave and is milder to the palate. The demand for Reposado tequilas has grown considerably in the last several years. This is 100% agave, aged tequila which has been stored in oak a minumum of one year. This tequila is amber in colour and picks up its colour and flavour from the oak casks wherein it’s aged. Aejo tequila has a distinctive taste that’s picked up from the oak. Even though not a category in itself, it’s a special Aejo that some distillers keep in oak barrels for up to 8 years.