Community Favorites: Best Agave Spirits

September 16th marks Mexican Independence Day, so what better way to celebrate than with 16 of the community's favorite agave spirits!
Sep 14, 2016
  • 16
    16 Jose Cuervo Reserva de la Familia Tequila
    4 out of 5 stars
    ( 161 )
    Rich & Oily
    First released in 1995 to celebrate the 200th anniversary of the distillery, Jose Cuervo Reserva de la Familia is the world's first extra-añejo tequila. Distilled from agave hearts harvested at seven to twelve years old and then matured in both American and French oak barrels for at least 3 years, this is the ultimate expression of Jose Cuervo. Rich and flavorful, sip this neat or on the rocks.
  • 15
    15 Wahaka Mezcal Tobalá
    4 out of 5 stars
    ( 16 )
    Herbal & Floral
    The wild tobalá (aka “the king of mezcal”) is harvested in the highlands of Oaxaca, often on extremely rugged mountainsides and rocky cliffs. In addition to its challenging locale - 1,700-2,600 meters above sea level - the tobalá’s smaller size means a significantly larger number of plants are needed to produce this release. Like the madre cuishe, this rare agave is harvested at a minimum of 12 years of maturation.
  • 14
    14 Dulce Vida Reposado Tequila
    4 out of 5 stars
    ( 19 )
    Herbal & Spicy
    This reposado, aged 11 months in used bourbon barrels, is 100% agave, 100% organic, and 100 proof. The agaves are sourced from the Los Altos region near Nayarit. This tequila is triple-distilled and yields a light straw color.
  • 13
    13 Fortaleza Blanco Tequila
    4 out of 5 stars
    ( 124 )
    Guillermo Erickson Sauza, a fifth-generation tequila maker and a descendant of THAT tequila family resurrected his family-owned distillery in 2005. The tequila is produced in a traditional manner using brick ovens to cook the agaves which are then crushed with a tahona (large stone wheel). They are then allowed to naturally ferment in open air wooden tanks. The tequila is known in México as Tequila Los Abuelos, named to honor his great-great grandfather, great-grand father, and grandfather who did so much to promote the tequila industry. Outside of México, the brand is known as Fortaleza ("fortitude").
  • 12
    12 123 Organic Añejo (Tres) Tequila
    4 out of 5 stars
    ( 28 )
    Rich & Spicy
    Uno Dos Tres is an Organic tequila brand created by David Ravandi. The añejo (also called “Tres” or 3) is aged for 18 months in white oak. The tequila is sourced from the Tequila Valley (aka Lowlands) and is certified organic by the USDA and the EU.
  • 11
    11 Del Maguey Arroqueño Mezcal
    4 out of 5 stars
    ( 53 )
    Tart & Herbal
    Del Maguey, the company that put high end mezcal on the map in the US has introduced a line of Mezcals highlighting rare wild species and very special terroirs. They call this “Vino de Mezcal” meaning “Wine of Mezcal” .Highlighting the wild and rare, very large and prehistoric looking Arroqueño species of agave this is a rare treat for any spirits lover.
  • 10
    10 Don Julio 1942 Tequila
    4 out of 5 stars
    ( 445 )
    Rich & Sweet
    Don Julio 1942 is technically an añejo as it is aged for only 2 1/2 years in used American oak barrels, though it misses the extra añejo qualification by only 6 months. 1942 is the year that Don Julio Gonzáles established his distillery, Tequila Tres Magueyes. This Highland tequila, along with their Real bottling, is distilled a 2nd time in a smaller stainless steel pot still that has a maximum capacity of 3 barrels per distillation.
  • 9
    9 Del Maguey Pechuga Mezcal
    4 out of 5 stars
    ( 53 )
    Spicy & Rich
    Pechuga mezcal is an age-old tradition among mezcal producers throughout Mexico. It is produced in tiny amounts for friends and family on very special occasions with the exact recipes closely-guarded family secrets. For Del Maguey, their Pechuga production starts with the finished Del Maguey Minero Mezcal which gets returned to the pot-still with a mix of wild mountain apples, plums, plantains, pineapples, almonds, white rice. A raw, skinless chicken breast is used to hang above the still for the distillate to travel through. Always bottled at strength without dilution.
  • 8
    8 Casa Dragones Sipping Tequila Joven
    4 out of 5 stars
    ( 40 )
    Fruity & Sweet
    This joven tequila is the result of MTV and AOL co-founder Bob Pittman’s dream of making a world-class sipping tequila. Teaming up with leading tequila expert Bertha González Nieves, he settled on a unique blend of unaged spirit and an extra-aged spirit matured for five years in new American oak barrels. The two components were married together before being charcoal-filtered, in order to give the resulting spirit with the freshness and color of a blanco, but the additional layers of complexity that result from barrel aging.
  • 7
    7 Tequila San Matias Gran Reserva Extra Añejo
    4 out of 5 stars
    ( 29 )
    Rich & Sweet
    Tequila San Matias is one of the oldest distilleries in Mexico, and to commemorate a century and change of tradition in 1993, released one of the first "extra-aged" tequilas on the market. The spirit is made from 100% agave grown in the Jalisco highlands that is harvested between 7 - 10 years. It spends three years in a combination of American (ex-bourbon) and French oak.
  • 6
    6 Marca Negra Tobalá Mezcal
    4 out of 5 stars
    ( 22 )
    Rich & Salty
    After a name change and a little rebranding Marca Negra is back and as true as ever to its mission of bringing traditional mezcals to the world. Made at a traditional palenque in San Luis Del Rio using a tiny, rare and wild species, tobalá. This wild agave is small, low yielding but very high in sugar. They take an unusually long time to mature especially considering their size, however they pack a lot of character and an unmistakable flavor.
  • 5
    5 El Jolgorio Tobalá Mezcal
    4 out of 5 stars
    ( 29 )
    Fruity & Sweet
    This mezcal is distilled from 100% agave tobalá which grow semi-wild. The agave are harvested after 12 years and pit-roasted in the traditional manner. The roasted "piñas" or hearts of the agave plants are crushed using a mule-drawn tahona before the juices are open fermented. This mezcal is double-distilled and produced in Matatlan, Oaxaca by Mezcalero Gregorio Martinez Jarquin. This is released in small batches due to sustainable practices conserving the wild agave plants as well as the scarcity and size of the tobalá plants. It only grows in high altitudes in the shade of oak trees and is relatively small in size.
  • 4
    4 Clase Azul Reposado Tequila
    4 out of 5 stars
    ( 470 )
    Rich & Fruity
    Bottled in a beautiful handmade and hand painted ceramic decanter. Inside is a distillate that is carefully aged for eight months in second-use oak barrels. It is then triple micro-filtrated to ensure the highest purity.
  • 3
    3 Tears of Llorona Extra Añejo Tequila
    4 out of 5 stars
    ( 34 )
    Rich & Spicy
    Germán González puts his tears and his heart into a distinctive, etched bottle with the classic Llorona legend on the back. Extra-mature agaves are selected and a proprietary yeast strain is used in a slow fermentation. Oak barrels which aged Scotch, sherry and cognac are used for maturation and aged for around five years. The blend is made with the goal of achieving a cognac or single-malt level of complexity. While most tequila is aged at 80 proof, this is bottled at 86 proof. The release will always be limited, according to González.
  • 2
    2 Gran Patrón Burdeos Añejo Tequila
    4 out of 5 stars
    ( 21 )
    Released under the Gran Patrón label by Patrón Spirits, this añejo tequila follows a unique production process. This tequila is distilled twice before being aged at least one year in American and French oak barrels. It is then distilled again and stored in vintage Bordeaux barrels. This process gives this tequila its name - "Burdeos" is Spanish for Bordeaux.
  • 1
    1 Tequila Tapatio Excelencia Gran Reserva Lot 1
    4 out of 5 stars
    ( 31 )
    Rich & Sweet
    Tapatio is the partnership between Marko Karakasevic of Charbay Distillery in northern California with Master Distiller Carlos Camarena at La Alteña distillery in Jalisco. Excelencia Gran Reserva Lot 1 was distilled in 1996 and aged in char no. 4 new American oak for four years. Here's where it gets crazy - then it was rested in 5 liter glass vessels before bottling in 2013. Spirits can't evolve in glass, you say? Well, agave breaks all the rules.