The Best Reposado Tequila: All The Double-Gold Winners From This Year’s SF World Spirits Competition

While I taste a fair amount of whiskey in my day-to-day work, I also taste a lot of tequila, mezcal, vodka, gin, flavored gin, brandies, ready-to-drink cocktails, etc., just to keep my palate and knowledge base up to date. Out of all of those, it’s probably a good reposado tequila — just kissed by ex-bourbon and/or ex-wine casks — that grabs my attention the most. While it’s never a bad time to talk reposado tequila, Cinco De Mayo is also just around the corner.

This year’s San Francisco World Spirits Competition ranked 87 reposado tequilas (aged between two months and a year; older than “blanco/silver/plata,” but younger than “añejo”). I was lucky enough to be on two judging panels with 12 of those 87. In the end, only five bottles took home a coveted double gold medal (you can check out the full results here). A double gold means every member of that judging panel anonymously gave that bottle a gold medal, creating a unanimous “double gold” for the expression. That means these five bottles wowed, from the first nose to the last sip.

For this list, I’m adding my tasting notes to those five reposados as I’ve actually tried all of these in the last year or so. Other than that, I can assure you that all of these reposado tequilas are going to hit a sweet spot for you, depending on which flavor profile you’re into. Let’s dive in and find a great reposado tequila just in time for Cinco De Mayo!

Cierto Tequila Private Collection Reposado

Cierto Tequila Private Collection Reposado
Cierto Tequila

ABV: 40%

Average Price: $99

The Tequila:

This tequila — from NOM 1149 (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:

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. 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. 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.

Cincoro Reposado Tequila

Cincoro Tequila Reposado
Cincoro Tequila

ABV: 40%

Average Price: $114

The Tequila:

Hailing from NOM 1438, Destiladora del Valle de Tequila in Tequila, Mexico (the home to dozens of tequila brands), this tequila has a little more nuance. The agave piñas are roasted in both old stone ovens and autoclave. The mash ferments in open-air stainless tanks before the standard double distillation in copper pot stills. The juice is then aged in used whiskey barrels for an undisclosed amount of time.

Tasting Notes:

This is a bourbon lover’s tequila with a nose brimming with vanilla beans, caramel apples, floral agave, and a nice bitter chocolate edge with a black potting soil whisper. The palate largely delivers on the nose with more vanilla and dark chocolate (now touched by cinnamon and clove) with a more robust roasted agave vibe leading to dry grass and porch wicker. The finish has tiny flourishes of pancake syrup and black pepper with a touch of sweet oak on the very end.

Bottom Line:

This is a pretty damn fine sipper, especially if you’re looking for a bridge from bourbon whiskey to aged tequila. Pour this over a rock or two and you’re set.

Don Nacho Extra Premium Reposado Tequila

Don Nacho Extra Premium Reposado
Don Nacho

ABV: 40%

Average Price: $42

The Tequila:

This “premium” tequila is made in the southern “Los Altos” region of Jalisco at the Fabrica de Tequila Don Nacho distillery (NOM 1508), which only makes this and one other small brand of tequila. The juice is made from piñas cooked in old stone ovens and then fermented with local spring water in open stainless tanks. After the usual distillation, that hot juice is loaded into both used and new American white oak barrels for a short maturation.

Tasting Notes:

There’s a hint of dry cedar on the nose that leads to this mix of dark chocolate-covered espresso beans, old vanilla extract bottles, and a hint of that slow-roasted agave with a very thin sliver of ashiness. The palate has a cream soda vibe with the agave taking on a sweeter edge next to a creamy caramel on the mid-palate. The finish leans away from the sweetness towards a peppery dark chocolate bar with hints of winter spices and peach pits.

Bottom Line:

I tried this the last time I was in Tequila mostly because its name means “Sir Nacho.” Also, this is a pretty good sipper for this price point, with plenty of rocks. Really, this feels like a great cocktail base.

Hotel California Reposado Tequila

Hotel California Tequila Reposado
Hotel California

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. Weber agave, autoclave extraction, stainless fermentation, and local water. This time, the juice is twice-distilled in stainless steel stills and then aged in former bourbon barrels.

Tasting Notes:

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. 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. 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.

Lobos 1707 Reposado Tequila

Tequila Lobos 1707 Reposado
Tequila Lobos de Sangre Azul

ABV: 40%

Average Price: $51

The Tequila:

Rounding out this list of great tequilas, Lobos 1707 also comes from the southern Los Altos region of Jalisco (NOM 1460, Compañia Tequilera de Arandas distillery). The front end of the tequila-making process is pretty much the same — Weber, autoclave, ex-bourbon barrels, etc. — with the finishing on this one standing out. After six months in bourbon barrels, this is aged in Pedro Ximinez sherry casks for a final rest.

Tasting Notes:

There’s a hint of sour cherry on the nose alongside a base of roasted agave, winter spices, and a hint of old oak barrels from a dusty cellar. The palate marries that agave and oak into an earthy note that’s part dry moss and part dry firewood with the agave lurking in the background. The mid-palate to finish has the cottage cheese vibe with pineapple and black pepper making appearances before a dry grassiness and oakiness round out the finish.

Bottom Line:

This is certainly the funkiest tequila on the list. I dig it when these get a little lactic (sour cherry/cottage cheese) but can see that being off-putting for some. That said, this makes a great tequila sour with an egg white or just a tequila soda with a good dose of lime.

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