Top 10 best value-for-money Tequilas and mezcalsBy Nicola Carruthers
As a new wave of consumers express interest in agave spirits, producers are upping their game in terms of quality and diversity. We present the best value-for-money Tequila and mezcal brands on the market.
The Spirits Business held its annual Tequila and Mezcal Masters last month, where an experienced panel of judges uncovered some of the category’s best expressions available on the global market.
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 and mezcal 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 and Gold medalists recognised in the competition, listed in no particular order.
These bottlings are not particularly cheap, but have been judged to offer excellent quality for consumers within their respective categories.
Click through the following pages to view the top 10 best value-for-money Tequilas and mezcals of 2019.
Olmeca Altos Plata
In the super-premium blanco Tequila round, a Master medal was awarded to Olmeca Altos Plata, which impressed the panel with its ripe and zesty flavour of orchard fruits balanced with hot pepper. Judges also enjoyed the expression’s smooth and long-lasting finish.
Produced by Pernod Ricard Mexico, Altos Plata is made from 100% blue agave grown in the Los Altos highlands of Mexico.
Casa Noble Añejo
In the ultra-premium añejo leg, Master medallist Casa Noble Añejo was complimented for its “incredibly expressive nose”, “full-bodied texture” and “great complexity”.
The Constellation Brands-owned Tequila was aged for two years in French white oak barrels. The Casa Noble range also consists of a blanco and a reposado.
Herradura Seleccion Suprema
In the ultra-premium extra añejo round, a Master medal was bestowed upon Herradura Seleccion Suprema, which, despite its elegant and rich oak influence, had “so much freshness”.
One judge said: “It’s got the influence of oxidised wood that gives you rancio character, which underlies other notes of fruit and pepper.”
Produced by Brown-Forman, the 100% agave Tequila has been aged for 49 months.
Sierra Milenario Tequila Fumado
German spirits producer Borco was awarded a Master medal in the ultra-premium blanco flight for its Sierra Milenario Tequila Fumado.
One judge commended the Tequila’s progression of “dry and powerful” flavours, from “grassy and peppery” at the start to “balanced bonfire smoke” on the finish.
Created at the family-owned distillery Sierra Unidas in Jalisco, Sierra Milenario Tequila Fumado is said to have “exceptional notes of smokiness” due to the “unique” ahumado process with mesquite wood.
Mezcal Amores Espadin Reposado
A Master was given to the “round and creamy” Mezcal Amores Espadin Reposado in the reposado mezcal round.
The expression was said to balance flavours of “soft peach and apricot with gentle smoke and sweet spices”.
Bottled at 37% abv, the expression has been aged for three months in a white oak barrel.
Gem&Bolt Mezcal bagged a Master medal in the 100% agave mezcal – joven round for its complex profile of “fresh spearmint and roast chicken on wood fire”. One judge said: “This is a very expressive representation of mezcal with a lingering spicy, minty and sour finish.”
Using mature 100% Espadin Agave from of Oaxaca, Gem&Bolt is first distilled in small copper stills and then rested in oak barrels for three to six months prior to its second distillation.
During the second distillation, using proprietary stainless-steel copper alloy still, the traditional Mexican herb damiana is introduced as the agave spirit’s vapours pass through the botanical basket releasing the damiana’s essential oils.
Patrón XO Café Liqueur
Patrón XO Café Liqueur was one of three Gold medalists in the flavoured Tequila and Tequila liqueurs round.
It was described as a “well executed” liqueur, showcasing flavours of “sweet liquorice” and “creamy coffee” that did not mask the underlying note of “sharp agave”.
The 35% abv expression combines Patrón Silver Tequila and coffee.
KAH Reposado Tequila
In the ultra-premium reposado round, KAH Reposado Tequila grabbed a Gold medal. The expression, which was praised for its “exceptional” finish, was matured for 10 months in French limousine oak casks. The Skull-like bottle takes its cues from the Peruvian celebrations of Dia de Muertos.
Mezcal Koch El Tepeztate
A Master medal was bestowed upon the “very expressive” Mezcal Koch El Tepeztate in the joven mezcal round, where only expressions made with 100% agave were assessed.
“This has great balance between sweetness, spiciness and smokiness,” one judge noted. “I found notes of pineapples, banana skin, a little mace, cherry yoghurt, caramelised apples, and also rocket and eucalyptus. It was incredibly complex.”
Corralejo Añejo Tequila
The “soft and elegant” Corralejo Añejo Tequila was given a Gold medal in the super-premium añejo round.
The expression is matured for 12 months in new American oak barrels and bottled at 38% abv. Produced by Fraternity Spirits, the Corralejo range also includes a blanco and reposado.