Mexico’s Best Reposado Tequilas, According To The 2023 ‘Oscars Of Spirits’

If there ever was a time to bolster your tequila collection, it’s May. Cinco de Mayo is here and the results from the 2023 San Francisco World Spirits Competition (SFWSC) have arrived, giving you both a good reason to drink tequila and expert advice on which tequilas to actually drink.

This year’s SFWSC results saw only five reposado tequilas get the coveted “double gold” medal. What does that mean exactly? Well, judges gathered around a table last month to taste hundreds of tequilas — 80 of which were reposados (a tequila that’s just kissed with oak before batching and bottling). For a pour of reposado to get the high honor of double gold, every judge at the table had to award the pour a gold medal (a truly exceptional pour that goes beyond the ordinary), based on a double-blind taste. Out of 80 pours, that only happened five times!

Before we move on, it’s worth mentioning that the judges at the SFWSC are the elite of the elite in the spirits industry with some of the biggest names in tequila criticism and production judging these double-blind pours. So this is truly what the pros loved without branding getting in the way. Below, I’m naming all five double-gold reposado tequilas with my tasting notes on each. I was a head judge at the competition this year, but I only had one flight of reposado tequila — still, I’ve sampled all of these tequilas in my general day-to-day of spirits tasting.

Lastly, this comes just in time for Cinco de Mayo shopping over the next couple of days. So find the tasting notes that speak to you and hit that price link to get the bottle just in time for some Friday night partying!

Also Read: The Top 5 UPROXX Tequila Posts Of The Last Six Months

Cierto Tequila Private Collection Reposado

Cierto Tequila Private Collection Reposado
Cierto Tequila Private Collection Reposado

ABV: 40%

Average Price: $98

The Tequila:

This tequila — from NOM 1146 (Tequileña, S.A. distillery) in Tequila, Mexico — is made from 100 percent Weber agave cooked in an autoclave (pressurized chamber). The juice from the agave is extracted by a roller mill and then fermented in open stainless tanks with local spring water. That mash is then twice-distilled in copper pot stills before aging in a combination of used French and American oak.

Tasting Notes:

Nose: That “roasted” agave really breaks through on the nose with a touch of grilled pineapple in brown butter, a hint of vanilla, a touch of espresso bean, and a sweet note of caramel sauce.

Palate: The palate largely delivers on the butter, caramel, and tropical fruits as the agave takes on a greenish mid-palate, leading towards a black pepper spiciness.

Finish: That pepperiness drives the finish towards a sweetgrass note and a little more of that grilled pineapple with a dusting of clove.

Bottom Line:

This is a nicely complex tequila, not overly so. It’s not challenging you but is providing an easy-drinking flavor profile. Overall, I’d mix a tequila old fashioned with this or just sip it over some rocks.

El Tequileño “The Sassenach Select”

El Tequileño “The Sassenach Select”
El Tequileño

ABV: 40%

Average Price: $107

The Tequila:

This tequila is a collaboration between third-generation Master distiller Antonio Salles and TV star Sam Heughan of Outlander and Sassanach Blend Scotch Whisky fame. The tequila in the bottle is a limited edition release that highlights autoclave cooked agave, roller mill extraction, open-air fermentation in stainless steel tanks, double distillation in copper pot stills, and an initial rest in old American whiskey barrels with a finish in French oak. Lastly, the tequila is batched, proofed, and bottled with no additives!

Tasting Notes:

Nose: Caramelized roasted agave and soft and sweet dark spices mingle on the nose with a hint of dried raisins and old oak cellars.

Palate: That caramelization comes through on the front of the palate with a smooth vanilla bean oiliness next to a cinnamon cake, deeply roasted agave, white pepper, and a hint of green sage.

Finish: That white pepper and caramel pop on the finish as the sip slowly fades through sweet cinnamon and soft vanilla sweetness.

Bottom Line:

This is a nice pour. I had one with an old fashioned application and it was excellent. On its own, I preferred it over a rock as a delicate and straightforward slow sipper.

Hotel California Tequila Reposado Tequila

Hotel California Tequila Reposado
Hotel California Tequila

ABV: 40%

Average Price: $45

The Tequila:

This Los Altos tequila — from Hacienda Capellania or NOM 1545 — follows a very similar path to most tequila. Blue Weber agave, autoclave cooking, stainless steel tank fermentation, and local water. This time, the juice is twice-distilled in stainless steel stills and then aged in former bourbon barrels.

Tasting Notes:

Nose: Roasted agave with a grassy edge meets black peppercorns with a hint of citrus as that vanilla from the bourbon barrels smooths everything out on the nose.

Palate: The taste has a slight winter cake vibe with plenty of dark spice, a touch of dried fruit, and a rich caramel sauce that’s cut with plenty of that bourbon vanilla.

Finish: The finish has a hint of burnt sugar next to a dry oak with a very, very mild note of smoke at the very end.

Bottom Line:

This feels like the tequila that fits exactly where it is. It’s an easy-drinking tequila for a fairly good price (in a ridiculously eye-catching bottle). I’d still more likely use it for a cocktail, but I can 100 percent see drinking this over a few rocks with a twist of lime any day.

Tequila Campo Azul Selecto Reposado

Campo Azul Tequila Reposado
Campo Azul Tequila

ABV: 40%

Average Price: $35

The Tequila:

This tequila from the Southern Highlands of Jalisco is all about taking it slow. The agave is slow-roasted in brick ovens before classic roller mill extraction. The juice is then open-fermented in stainless steel tanks before classic copper pot still double distillation. Finally, the hot spirit is left to age in a combination of new American white oak, used whiskey, and other used barrels before batching, proofing (with deep well water), and bottling.

Tasting Notes:

Nose: Toasted red peppercorns (think of heating them in a skillet) dance next to candied almonds, a fistful of black peppercorns, and juicy cactus fruit tossed with caramelized agave hearts and just kissed with salt.

Palate: There’s a salted caramelized vibe on the front of the palate that gives way to freshly cracked black pepper over strawberry and rhubarb crumble with a hint of dry vanilla, old oak, and smudging sage.

Finish: The end leans into the pepper and vanilla with a creamy vibe that’s like black pepper sprinkled over fresh and full-fat cottage cheese (in the best way) with an acidic yet sweet tropical fruit feel lurking deep in the background.

Bottom Line:

This is a quintessential reposado pour. Yeah, I know it’s not “additive-free,” so so-called tequila purists will be bitching and moaning about that. But this just tastes good. Period. Pour it over a rock and enjoy.

Tequila Ocho Reposado

Tequila Ocho Reposado
Tequila Ocho

ABV: 40%

Average Price: $54

The Tequila:

Tequila Ocho sticks with old-school brick overs for cooking its single estate agave piñas before open-air fermentation in old wooden tanks. After two runs through the copper pot stills, the hot juice is left to rest in a combo of new American white oak, old whiskey, and other used barrels for a short spell. Finally, the tequila is batched, proofed, and bottled as-is with no additives.

Tasting Notes:

Nose: The nose opens with a hint of oak tannins next to bright and lush summer flowers, garden green savory herbs, powdery white pepper, and caramelized agave rolled in sweet winter spice (nutmeg, clove, cinnamon).

Palate: The palate leans into the agave but gets juicy and sweet with a grassy vibe followed by juicy tropical fruits with a good hit of lactic acid touched by black pepper and old oak.

Finish: That oak drives the finish toward a woody spice bark mix, a touch of old dry tobacco, and woody vanilla balanced by tropical fruit juice that almost gets creamy by the end.

Bottom Line:

This is a very easy-drinking tequila. It’s complex enough to take your time with or to make a rich and compelling cocktail. This is also my favorite bottle on the list and I have one open on my bar cart right now — I recommend you do the same.

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