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Top 10 best value for money Tequilas

As a new wave of agave aficionados express interest in the category, producers seek to win consumers’ hearts and palates through high-end expressions, sleek packaging and celebrity backing.

This is our pick of the top 10 best value for money Tequilas based on the results of The Tequila Masters 2016

Last month, The Spirits Business held its annual Tequila Masters, where an experienced panel of judges uncovered and recognised some of the category’s best expressions available on the global market.

As our most recent blind tasting competition revealed, it can be all too easy for producers to lose the essence of the agave flavour by over-ageing or over-sweetening the spirit as they strive to create something different. Despite this challenge, many expressions shone through, offering excellent value in their respective flights.

Looking across multiple categories, from Premium to Ultra Premium, Blanco to Mixto, with entrants from producers of all scales, the competition saw a number of Tequila brands awarded medals for their superior quality.

While the individual scores of each entrant are not disclosed, these are 10 of the highest ranking Master medalists recognised in the competition, listed in no particular order.

Readers may notice that not all of these bottlings are standard priced, but have been judged to offer excellent quality to consumers within their respective price categories.

Click through the following pages to view the top 10 best value for money Tequilas of 2016.

Olmeca Altos Plata Tequila

olmecaPrice: approx £26

Created in collaboration with Dre Masso and the late Henry Besant, Olmeca Altos Tequila was first launched in 2009 in select global markets. In 2012 the entire brand received a packaging revamp, including an easy-pouring bottle, wooden cap, and new design specifically created to convey the brand’s quality and provenance. The Gold medal-winning Plata expression above was praised for its “smooth vanilla” flavours “moving it towards sipping Tequila territory”.

Herradura Tequila Añejo

 

herradura

Price: approx £40

One of three Herradura Tequila expressions scoring a top spot in our value list, this “fresh, floral” Super Premium Añejo impressed our panel with its “full-bodied character” and “distinct agave notes”. Introduced by Casa Herradura in 1962, the expression matures in the barrel for 25 months; more than double the one year age requirement for a Tequila to be considered an añejo by Mexico law – resulting in a “deep amber colour”.

Tequila Exotico Reposado

Tequila-exotico

Price: approx £20

Produced at Destiladora González González in the Highlands of Jalisco, Tequila Exotico Reposado is aged for six months in white oak Bourbon barrels to provide “an enhanced, yet mellow flavour”. In 2014 the brand welcomed a revamp, ditching foliage in favour of black, sugar skull-centric artwork associated with Mexican celebration Dia de los Muertos or Day of the Dead. Our panel praised the variant’s “smooth sweetness”, awarding it a Gold medal. 

Sierra Tequila Milenario Reposado

sierra

 

Price: approx £60

The first and only Master medalist of this year’s Tequila Masters, Sierra Milenario Tequila Reposado ticked all judges’ boxes, and was deemed “a fantastic example” of a reposado in its price category.  This “smooth, sweet” Tequila from Sierra is double distilled and stored in oak casks for up to nine months, giving the liquid a warm colour and full palate full of sweet fruit, caramel and lightly spiced notes. Sierra uses plants grown in the highlands of Jalisco at an altitude of 1,200 to 2,600 metres, before being transported to Destilerías Sierra to be cooked, fermented, distilled and rested. The expression benefits from the ‘triple selection’ process at the Distileria Sierra Unidas, developed for the agaves used in all three Sierra Milenario variants to” guarantee” quality. 

Herradura Directo De Alambique

herraduraPrice: approx £60

Created by master distiller Maria Teresa Lara, one of the only female master distillers in the Tequila industry, Directo de Alambique is made from 100% blue agave, fermented with natural yeast, and then bottled straight from the still at 55% abv. It is said to have “sweet agave, green pepper, and spice notes with a touch of crisp citrus” on the nose and “black pepper and rich earthy flavours” on the palate. The expression is part of the Coleccion de la Casa Reserva 2015 series, designed to exhibit how four of the primary sources of Tequila’s flavour – agave, water, fermentation, and distillation – can impact the character of the final product and create new flavour profiles.

Hornitos Black Barrel

hornitosPrice: approx £20

The only Premium Añejo to be rewarded at the Tequila Masters, Hornitos Black Barrel stood up to the judges’ high standards, attracting a Gold medal. Produced in such a way to offer “distinct and complex”whiskey notes, the expression is crafted by ageing Hornitos Tequila in traditional American Oak barrels for 12 months, then into charred American Oak barrels for four months, and finally into specially-toasted American Oak barrels for two months.

Sierra Milenario Tequila Extra Añejo

sierraPrice: approx £55
The “creamy, vanilla” notes of Sierra Milenario Tequila Extra Añejo won the expression a Gold from our panel. Distilled twice and aged for three years in holly oak barrels, the expression is said to have a “smooth, creamy” palate with caramel and vanilla notes. Also benefiting from the distillery’s ‘triple selection process’, the rich volcanic soils of the highlands of Jalisco are said to give Sierra Milenario Tequila Extra Añejo its “fruity” aroma.

Olmeca Altos Reposado Tequila

 

olmeca

Price: approx £26

Aged for six to eight months in white American oak ex-Bourbon casks, this reposado was the second Omeca Altos expression to be recognised by judges – the “peppery, spicy, citrusy” variant claimed a Gold medal in our tasting. Produced at Destileria Colonial de Jalisco using agave only from the Highlands, the  brand’s pinas are cooked in traditional brick ovens, to bring out the “naturally sweet, fruity, and herbal agave notes”. 

Herradura Tequila Blanco

herraduraPrice: approx £40

This final Herradura variant in our value rundown comes in the form of Herradura Tequila Blanco, a “sweet, floral” expression with “peppery, grassy” undertones. In 2014, Herradura appointed Nicci Stringfellow as its UK brand ambassador to further develop on-trade relationships. Stringfellow works alongside UK distributor Mangrove to develop the Casa Herradura lighthouse programme, encouraging brand loyalty in key bars, restaurants and hotels across the country.

Sierra Spiced Tequila

sierraPrice: approx £18

Described by a judge as “one of the best chilli liqueurs that I’ve tasted”, Sierra Spiced is a blend of reposado Tequila with added orange and cinnamon flavours. Created for fans of liqueur shots, this limited edition expression contributes to the rising trend of “spiced” spirits most commonly explored within the whiskey category.

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