The Top Rated Agave Spirits From January 2017

Our expert tasters went through quite a few tequila and mezcal spirits this month, and these top ten were their favorites!
Feb 02, 2017
  • 10
    10 Cruz Del Sol Silver Tequila
    79
    Sweet & Herbal
    Cruz Del Sol was founded in 2005. Produced from agave sourced in the Highlands where rich red soil, and optimum temperature yield the finest agave. Naturally fermented and double-distilled before being packaged in eco-friendly recycled materials. Cruz also donates 7% of its profits to various charities.
  • 9
    9 Tequila Amate Reposado
    80
    Sweet & Earthy
    Distilled in small batches by Carlos Monsalve-Algraz and Juan Carlos Jimenez-Ahedo in traditional brick ovens, Tequila Azteca is then fermented and double-distilled before resting in American oak for 6 months. $1 of every bottle sold is donated to Children Mending Hearts organization.
  • 8
    8 Dos Armadillos Tequila Añejo
    82
    Sweet & Rich
    The armadillo is the ancient Mexican symbol of protection, and its legend is said to coincide with the earliest instances of agave spirits. This añejo is made from 100% blue weber agave harvested at a minimum of 8 years, stewed in autoclaves and double-distilled. It is aged 18 months in 200-liter American oak barrels and bottled in an ornate brown glass decanter with braided rope detail at the neck.
  • 7
    7 Excellia Tequila Blanco
    82
    Sweet & Rich
    Many compare quality tequila production with winemaking, and Excellia is where the twain meet. It is the brainchild of Jean-Sébastien Robicquet (G’Vine Gin) and master tequila producer Carlos Camarena (Tapatio & El Tesoro). This is a rare instance of an aged blanco, which has been aged several weeks in a combination of grand cru Sauternes casks and Cognac barrels.
  • 6
    6 Tequila Amate Añejo
    84
    Sweet & Umami
    Made from 100% Blue Weber agave, Tequila Amate Añejo is aged for 18 months in American oak after being double-distilled. The agaves are roasted in traditional hornos (brick ovens) and then shredded prior to fermentation.
  • 5
    5 Bruxo No. 3 Barril Mezcal
    87
    Rich & Smoky
    Bruxo is a mezcal project founded in 2010 by a group of friends who are true agave lovers. Each expression is created in a different part of Oaxaca by its own mezcalero or maestro. This one, made from 12 -15 year old barril maguey that is harvested in such remote locations that it has to be transported to the distillery by donkey, is the work of Tio Conejo (that's right, Uncle Rabbit.)
  • 4
    4 Don Amado Joven Rustico Mezcal
    89
    Mineral & Smoky
    A mezcal distilled in a very old-school method: small clay stills. This ancient method is usually not considered beyond small home distilleries because of how fragile the clay pots are (they often need to be replaced as they break) and how expensive this method is to produce spirits. Another thing to note is the clay stills are made from the soil of their estate. This is bottled at 94 proof, much higher than their traditional Plata expression which is 80 proof.
  • 3
    3 Koch el Mezcal Arroqueño
    91
    Fruity & Salty
    This arroqueño was harvested wild after, on average, 15 years of maturation. It is made using traditional methods in an earth pit using red oak and mesquite as the fuel to roast the piñas. It was distilled by Adrián Bautista in a copper pot still in the village of Rio de Ejutla, Oaxaca. It is bottled at 94 proof.
  • 2
    2 Tequila Gran Dovejo Blanco
    91
    Fruity & Spicy
    Tequila Gran Dovejo is located in the Highlands of Jalisco and produces only single-estate tequilas. The agave plants are grown by a fifth-generation agave grower in Los Altos. The piñas, or hearts of agave are harvested by hand and then roasted in clay ovens for 36 hours. The piñas are then shredded, the juices extracted and fermented and then double distilled in copper alembic stills. It is bottled immediately after distillation.
  • 1
    1 Alacrán Cristal Tequila
    92
    Sweet & Herbal
    Auténtico Alacrán, Spanish for "authentic scorpion," was founded in 2010 and is based in Mexico City. Alacrán Cristal Tequila was released in 2015. It's distilled from 7- to 10-year old blue weber agave harvested in Los Altos (Highland) region of Jalisco. After maturing 14 months in ex-bourbon American oak barrels, this añejo undergoes a filtration process that results in a clear spirit.