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Vodka, Tequila, Etcetera

The 21 Tequila Taste-Off

You know how it is. You're waiting to taste all the booze that comes in the mail before you file it into its appropriate liquor cabinet, and then suddenly you have 21 bottles of tequila sitting there staring you in the mouth. 

Something had to be done about it.

Three tequila bottles

I try not to do tasting notes on Alcademics anymore but it was hard to deny the theme building up on my kitchen counter. So I'll do this in the form of quick notes.

These are all 100% agave tequilas, because really. I am tasting them all neat in Riedel tequila tasting glasses. 

General Notes:

  • Just because the distillery is located somewhere, it doesn't mean the agave is from there. 
  • "American oak" probably means ex-bourbon barrels. "New American oak" = new barrels
  • Take note of the range of prices. 100% agave tequila no longer has to start at $40.
  • I don't expect my tasting notes to agree with yours.
  • Especially near the end of the list. I'd had a lot of tequila then. 
  • That said, I double checked the Riazul the next day to be sure I agreed with my notes and I do. Wacky. 

901 Tequila

  •  This is the Justin Timblerlake tequila. 
  • NOM 1173
  • Triple distilled
  • Highland agave
  • There is only a silver (blanco)
  • website
  • Tasting notes Blanco: very mineral-heavy (slate, granite) with light creamy agave undertones. Not robustly flavored by a long shot, with only a small mint/pepper aftertaste.
  • Price: $40 (SRP), available in 31 states


Tres Agaves

  • Made for the Tres Agaves restaurants but available everywhere
  • NOM 1109 (Arette)
  • website
  • "Estate produced" in the town of Tequila (Lowlands)
  • Price blanco $28 retail, repo $34 retail, anejo $38 retail
  • Tasting notes Blanco: Creamy nose and rich initial mouthfeel with soft green pepper notes. Pleasant but soft finish.
  • Tasting notes Reposado: Cinnamon butter toast, slightly reminiscent of the flavor of bison grass vodka, peppery finish. Dreamy.
  • Tasting notes Anejo: More briney flavor, green and peppery, slightly spicy, not as woody as expected given the buttery reposado.
Tres agaves tequila

Tequila Semental

  • New American oak barrels for reposado aging; American barrel staves with French oak caps for anejo aging. 
  • Triple distilled, autoclave ovens
  • Agave from Tequila and Amatitan valleys (Lowlands)
  • NOM 1522
  • Price blanco $39, repo $48, anejo $59 (SRP)
  • Tasting notes Blanco: Funky, vegetal nose, less aggressively flavored in the mouth, a little hot on the tongue, limp finish. (On second taste after anejo, picking up the strawberry juice notes.)
  • Tasting notes Reposado: Tamed funk on nose but something slightly chemical like a salty olive mousepad, nice brined green pepper flavor, restrained finish. Much better than it smells.
  • Tasting notes Anejo: Nice butterscotch water and strawberry Starburst flower nose, light body with similar flavors plus tanins in mouth, scented green velour finish. Good weird.
Tequila semental

1921 Tequila

  • Highland agave, distillery in Arandas
  • NOM 1535
  • Master Distiller Lorena Arriaga, only female tequila master distiller
  • Stone ovens
  • Undergoes a second, malolactic fermentation 
  • Repo 4 months in new American oak, Anejo new American oak also 
  • website
  • Price $38 blanco, $40 repo, $49 anejo (SRP)
  • Tasting notes Blanco: Mineral nose and mouth, more creamy agave taste in mouth but not robustly flavored.
  • Tasting notes Reposado: Similar in aroma and flavor, just a little more egg cream/buttery from the wood.
  • Tasting notes Anejo: Slightly pickle briney nose, pleasant buttery nuttiness in mouth. My favorite of the three.


Tequila El Gran Jubileo

  • Distilled in the town of Tequila (Lowlands)
  • NOM 1445
  • New American white oak barrels for all aging, brick ovens for cooking agave
  • Reposado aged 10 months, anejo 5 years
  • website
  • Retail prices $31.99 blanco, $34.99 reposado, $64.99 anejo
  • Tasting notes Reposado: Only a soft aroma, cinnamon salty butter mouth with slight nutty (similar to Don Julio) undertones, something strawberry/purple grape juicy in there too. Unexpected nuances.
  • Tasting notes Anejo: Briney raw artichoke nose, very sweet in mouth (candied rhubarb) but thankfully not super buttery, powdered cherries and violet aftertaste. A lot more interesting than I'd initially given it credit for being.
tequila El gran jubileos

Tequila Avion

  • Apparently was featured on the TV show Entourage, because my Google alerts keeps bringing it up
  • Highland agave, brick ovens, copper pot stills, filtered through activated carbon
  • Reposado aged 6 months; Anejo 2 years
  • NOM 1416 (Clase Azul)
  • website (launches new window, resizes browser)
  • Price blanco $45, repo $50, anejo $55 (SRP), available in NY, CA, NJ
  • Tasting notes Blanco: Mexican vanilla and asparagus nose with mineral undernotes, weighty mouthfeel with granite, citrus, and sweet milk showing, ashy finish. I think I like this best of the three.
  • Tasting notes Reposado: Subdued but similar aromatics, more lively and bright in the mouth but sweeter and maybe saltier
  • Tasting notes Anejo: Slightly overripe and salty aspect to nose, chewy mouthfeel and sweet finish
Avion tequila as seen on the entourage


  • Brand owned by Skyy Spirits. Initial launch in 2000, off market for a few years and reintroduced
  • Distillery in Highlands
  • NOM 1440
  • Only blanco and reposado. Repo aged in American oak for 6 months
  • Price $24.99 (SRP) for both blanco and reposado
  • website
  • Tasting notes Blanco: Overripe vegetal aroma, rusty minerals in mouth with more vegetables, ashy finish
  • Tasting notes Reposado: Hot olive brine and orange flower nose, creamy dusty black pepper mouth, sandalwood finish. These are both a little odd to drink solo but may be good mixing tequilas. 
Espolon tequila from skyy spirits

Cabo Wabo 

  • This is the Sammy Hagar brand
  • NOM 1440 on my bottle (same as above, and this brand is partially owned by Skyy Spirits), but lists it as 1467, so it appears the distillery has changed. Not sure if I have an old or a new bottle- got it a few months ago. 
  • website
  • price blanco $37.99 SRP, $28.99 at BevMo
  • Tasting Notes Blanco: brined olive-limes, slippery mouthfeel with lime custard cream and citrus flower notes, quickly dissipating finish. Subtle but nice.


  • Highland agave, reposado American oak 9 months; Anejo ex-brandy French oak 2 years 
  • NOM 1460 (El Charro)
  • website
  • Available in 4 states
  • Retail prices $45 blanco, $50 reposado, $55 anejo
  • Tasting notes Blanco: Mineral with light agave notes and citrus nose, edible iron,  creamed orange and blue corn chip mouth (what?) , chocolate finish. Fascinating.
  • Tasting notes Reposado: Limestone and soft orange-vanilla nose, similar mouth to the blanco but darker- more chocolaty and stiff leathery.
  • Tasting notes Anejo: Jasmine flowers in cinnamon butter, astringent-in-a-good-way mouthfeel with the same cinnamon butter (similar to Tres Agaves reposado) aspects and white flower and dill flavors, sweet, leathery finish. Wow.

Riazul tequila bottles