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Our Drinks Writers Call Out Their Favorite High-End Sipping Tequilas

Good tequila is getting easier and easier to find these days. The very solid stuff tends to be well-aged but doesn’t necessarily have to be expensive. Then you have the next tier — the really fine bottles. Those tequilas often do come with a hefty price tag, but they typically showcase the craft expertise to back it up.

To help you expand your tequila knowledge, we decided to poll our drinks team about their favorite high-end tequilas at the moment. We ended up with an eclectic mix of well-known brands and newbies. The throughline? They’re all pretty damn tasty and can be enjoyed straight (or with a single ice cube).

The bottles below aren’t ranked by price or taste. This is simply a list of the high(ish)-end tequilas that we’re digging on right now. Click the prices to order the expressions that look best to you!

Altos Anejo (Zach Johnston)

Pernod Ricard

ABV: 40%

Average Price: $36

The Tequila:

Altos is Olmeca’s bespoke and sustainable arm. The Highland tequila is all about an agave-to-glass experience that highlights those rolling hills of blue agave in Jalisco. The piñas are harvested by hand, roasted in a massive brick oven, crushed by tahona stone, fermented with proprietary yeast, and triple distilled in copper pot stills.

That juice is then rested in Altos’ warehouse in used bourbon casks for 18 months.

Tasting Notes:

You’re greeted with a subtle whisper of bourbon vanilla next to nutmeg and clove on the nose. The taste embraces those eggnog spices and really amps up the creaminess of the vanilla while the roasted agave provides an almost smoky foundation to the sip.

A note of bitter chocolate with a chili spice edge arrives late, as the velvety tequila slowly fades away.

Bottom Line:

This is an astoundingly easy sipping tequila at this price point. Seriously, this could cost twice as much and people wouldn’t bat an eye. Maybe even three times as much.

Add a rock, and you’ll open up more of the spice and cacao notes.

Cincoro Añejo (Gabrielle Pharms)

Cincoro Tequila

ABV: 40%

Price: $149.99

The Tequila:

Cincoro was created by Michael Jordan and four other NBA team owners who bonded over their mutual appreciation for tequila. The award-winning brand offers four expressions: Blanco, Reposado, Añejo and Extra Añejo. The Añejo is crafted with 100% Weber blue agave and is matured in barrels previously used to age bourbon.

Tasting Notes:

Upon first whiff, you catch a swirl of scents ranging from spicy black pepper to the richness of cooked agave. The palate is dessert in a glass, consisting of caramel, burnt orange, dark chocolate, and the cooked agave that was introduced the palate via the aroma at the outset. The finish is akin to catching the perfect sunset – alluring yet fleeting.

Bottom Line:

The enjoyable, sumptuous sip is like a vacay I never want to end! It’s a delight from its subtle sweet start to its earthy finish. Plus, the bottle is posh (if you’re into that sort of thing).

Casa Noble Extra Anejo (Chris Osburn)

Constellation Brands Inc.

ABV: 40%

Average Price: $100

The Tequila:

Jose “Pepe” Hermosillo, founder of Casa Noble, is a seventh-generation tequila-maker. While every product from the distillery is notable, its extra añejo expression is an award-winning, single barrel offering that is so special, every bottle is numbered and signed by Hermosillo himself. This 100% Blue Weber agave tequila is matured in subtly charred French white oak for five years

The result is a mellow, sweet sipping spirit loaded with caramel flavors.

Tasting Notes:

On the nose, you’ll find distinct aromas of cloves, vegetal agave, and dark chocolate. The palate is swirling with a cacophony of charred oak, vanilla beans, toffee, and sweet, ripe agave. The finish is long in length, perfectly warming, and ends with a nice combination of chocolate and smoke.

Bottom Line:

This is the kind of tequila that changes expectations about what a spirit is or can be. Obviously, you’ll want to sip this well-aged, nuanced tequila. Sit with it and let it unfold.

Jose Cuervo Reserva de la Familia Extra Anejo (Zach Johnston)

Proximo Spirits

ABV: 40%

Average Price: $190

The Tequila:

This is the mountaintop of the Jose Cuervo line. Time is key with this expression, as the agaves are slowly cooked, the juices are slowly fermented and distilled, and the tequila is given lots of time to mature. It takes three years of resting in bourbon and French oak to reach the “extra” anejo heights of this tequila.

It’s definitely time well spent.

Tasting Notes:

The nose draws you in with hints of marzipan, spicy stewed apples, raisins, and soft cedar. The taste delivers on those notes while dialing them in, as the marzipan becomes more like a candied almond, the spice leans into hot sticks of cinnamon, the apple gets tart, and the vanilla brings a creaminess to it all. The end is long and touches on a spicy apple tobacco chew with a silky vanilla pudding softness.

Bottom Line:

Yes, this is spendy. But, goddamn is it good. It’s so good that it’s baffling that this comes from the same company that makes Cuervo Gold, which has made 20-year-olds from Tokyo to Tallahassee cringe with every shot they take.

This sip, with a single rock, is as good as any high-end scotch or bourbon and offers just as much depth and beauty.

El Tesoro Anejo (Dane Rivera)

El Tesoro

ABV: 40%

Average Price: $55

The Tequila:

Don’t let those extra months in the barrel of El Tesoro’s Extra Añejo tempt you into splurging on the more expensive expression. El Tesoro’s less aged Añejo has all the complexities you’d want from an expertly aged Tequila with subtle floral notes that linger pleasingly on the palate between sips.

Slow aged in American ex-bourbon barrels for up to three years, El Tesoro’s Añejo is produced from blue weber agave harvested from Jalisco and distilled in the legendary La Alteña distillery.

Tasting Notes:

Warm tones of oak and cooked agave greet you and slowly melt into a rich vanilla and caramel blend, with hints of black pepper and cinnamon. The slightly sweet finish is a nice closer (as is that incredible price).

Bottom Line:

This is a lovely sipper, but if you’re feeling generous with yourself, throw it in a cocktail. Although it’s roast-y and agave forward, it has some noticeably bright floral notes that cut through a simple mix brilliantly.

Código 1530 Añejo (Chris Osburn)

Fortaleza Añejo

ABV: 40%

Average Price: $119

The Tequila:

This award-winning añejo is made using a historic family recipe in Amatitán, Jalisco, Mexico (located 33 kilometers north of Guadalajara). It’s made from 100% Blue Weber agave, using high-pressure cooking, an authentic roller mill, pot still distilled, before being aged for 18 months in charred French oak wine barrels from Napa Valley, California.

Tasting Notes:

Take a moment to give this tequila a nice nosing and you’ll be treated to aromas of dried fruits, clover honey, vanilla beans, and roasted agave. The palate is filled with flavors of crisp apples, buttery vanilla, caramel, butterscotch, and just a touch of cracked black pepper. The finish is dry, filled with pleasing heat, and ends with a nice combination of vanilla and spicy cinnamon.

Bottom Line:

This really shines with the addition of a few drops of water or a single ice cube. Sip it, share it, enjoy it.

Fortaleza Añejo (Chris Osburn)

Código

ABV: 40%

Average Price: $95

The Tequila:

You might pay a little more for it, but you can bet cracking open a bottle of Fortaleza Añejo is going to be an epic sipping experience. This juice is made from 100% stone-crushed Blue Weber agave that’s double distilled in copper pot stills before being aged for 18 months in charred American oak barrels and bottled in hand-blown bottles.

Tasting Notes:

If you take a moment to breathe in the aromas of this hand-crafted tequila, you’ll find scents of brown sugar, vanilla beans, riper fruit, and roasted agave. Take a sip and you’ll be transported to a world of citrus zest, caramelized sugar, ripe agave, and an underlying nutty sweetness. It all ends with a mellow, subtly spicy finish.

Bottom Line:

For a tequila that was only aged for a year and a half, this spirit is bursting with flavor. It’s highly mixable, but most suited as a sipper on a cool evening.

Lobos 1707 Extra Añejo (Gabrielle Pharms)

Lobos 1707

ABV: 40%

Price: $159

The Tequila:

This luxe tequila and mezcal brand just launched last year. Founded by actor and businessman Diego Osorio, Lobos 1707 offers three premium tequilas including Joven, Extra Añejo, and Reposado, in addition to the mezcal. The Extra Añejo is matured for three years in American white oak and finished in Pedro Ximénez (PX) wine barrels using the solera method.

Tasting Notes:

The tantalizing aroma is filled with agave, sherry, and oak that translates onto the palate. Oak tannins really shine through on the first sip and are accompanied by warmed agave and vanilla. There’s a quick bite of heat at the back of the palate before settling into the slightly sweet finish.

Bottom Line:

Enjoy it neat in the cooler months and chilled in the summer. It’s just as gratifying for longtime tequila fans as it is a great entry point for newcomers to the spirit.

Casamigos Anejo (Zach Johnston)

Diageo

ABV: 40%

Average Price: $60

The Tequila:

Famously known as George Clooney’s billion-dollar tequila brand, Casamigos delivers the goods. The piñas are slow roasted in brick ovens. The juice is then fermented for nearly four long days, allowing the flavors to run deep in the juice. Finally, the tequila is aged for 14 months — resting through the hot highland days and cool nights.

Tasting Notes:

There’s a nice balance of salted caramel and bourbon vanilla on the nose that feels both comforting and enticing. The palate holds onto those bourbon-esque notes while adding in a nice dose of holiday cake spices, dried fruits, almonds, and a hint of wet oak. The end has a slight spicy tobacco chew that leads towards a silken and slow finish with a final hint of roasted agave lingering on your senses.

Bottom Line:

This really feels like the bourbon lover’s tequila. While it’s unabashedly an agave spirit, there’s such a familiar matrix of bourbon notes that it really does feel comforting while giving you something unique … and delicious.

Avión Reserva 44 (Dane Rivera)

Avión Spirits LLC

ABV: 59.8%

Average Price: $130

The Tequila:

“Smooth” should be a given for a tequila this expensive, but even with the high price in mind, it’s… well it’s surprising just how smooth Avión Reserva 44’s amber extra-aged tequila is. This extra añejo is made using Avión’s Silver tequila made from agave harvested at the prime age of 7-10 years and slow roasted in brick ovens.

Once distilled, the tequila is aged for 44 months — 43 of which are spent in large oak barrels. That last month they’re transferred to petite barrels, which are rotated daily.

Tasting Notes:

Warm roasted agave on the nose gently cut with notes of light citrus and juicy cherry. On the palate, this sipping tequila provides a rich and creamy caramel and butterscotch flavor with hints of oak and an earthy chocolate finish that bounces between deep fruity tones and spicy cinnamon.

Bottom Line:

Pricey, yes, but worth every penny. This is a celebratory tequila, meant for reflecting on life in a spirit of joy.

Penta Diamante Cristalino (Gabrielle Pharms)

Penta

ABV: 40%

Average Price: $100

The Tequila:

Created by five veteran Napa Valley winemakers with a collective passion for tequila, Penta features a line of three, 100% blue agave tequilas consisting of Añejo, Reposado, and Diamante Cristalino. The latter is made using the same process as an Añejo or Reposado, then charcoal-filtered to remove the hue and wood notes while leaving behind a host of interesting flavors.

Tasting Notes:

The nose isn’t nearly as complex as the palate. Vanilla permeates the entire tasting experience with hints of caramel and light roasted coffee. You won’t find any heat; however, you will enjoy a confection-sweet finish.

Bottom Line:

Ditch the vanilla bean ice cream for this boozier, creamy treat. You won’t regret it.

EDITOR’S PICK: Gran Centenario Leyenda (Steve Bramucci)

GRAN CENTENARIO® LEYENDA

ABV: 40%

Average Price: $150

The Tequila:

This expression from Gran Centenario is double distilled and aged for four years in new American oak (much like a four-year-old bourbon would be). Once the primary aging finishes, the brand’s distillers pair the tequila with other vintages until they reach their ideal blend.

This expression was a private family product of Lazaro Gallardo, the first master distiller in history, for decades before ever becoming an official product. The craft and care clearly reflect how personal the expression has been for the Gallardo family.

Tasting Notes:

Deep amber color offers a preview of the oak that has soaked into this expression, but nothing can forewarn the silkiness. The nose features the slightest hint of agave paired with the vanilla-caramel notes you’d expect from a good bourbon. It’s the palate where this gem really expands — dried fruit and the crackled leather on a hundred-year-old wingback chair come into play before the sip opens into a touch more agave, soaked in brown sugar, and smoked walnuts drizzled with honey.

This finish is impossibly smooth. If you want your alcohol to bite, even a little, this isn’t the one for you. It goes down like pure silk.

Bottom Line:

I remember the two times in my life that I’ve had a legit “this might be the best XXXXXX I’ve ever had” moment. The burger at Small Cheval in Chicago was one, this was the other. If you like your tequilas like you like your 90s-era R&B groups — smooth and draped in silk — this one is that good.


As a Drizly affiliate, Uproxx may receive a commission pursuant to certain items on this list.

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