Top Shelf Tequila

They might be a bit pricey, and even hard to find, but these tequilas are well worth it...
Apr 19, 2016
  • 10
    10 Arta Tequila Extra Añejo
    96
    Arta Tequila is a family-owned brand located in the Tequila Valley region of El Arenal, Jalisco. They pride themselves on their sustainable practices and while they are not certified organic, grow their agave without the use of pesticides. This Extra Añejo is aged a whopping 5 years, with 3 of those years spent in American white oak (ex-Heaven Hill bourbon barrels) and a 50/50 split for the remaining two years in a combination of ex-Cognac and ex-sherry barrels.
  • 9
    9 Tears of Llorona Extra Añejo Tequila
    96
    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.
  • 8
    8 t1 Tequila Reposado Excepcional
    96
    t1 is produced by Master Distiller Germán González, formerly of his family's Chinaco, of 100% Highlands blue agaves--especially mature in some cases. After slow autoclaving and double-distilling--and in the case of the reposado, spending six months in "very old" Scotch barrels, it is bottled in a distinctive, Aladdin-shaped bottle.
  • 7
    7 Corralejo Reposado Tequila
    96
    Corralejo is known for its innovative techniques that date back to 1775 when the distillery first began producing tequila in Guanajuato. This reposado is aged 4 months in 3 different types of casks - French, American and white oak - to impart a variety of characteristics to this matured spirit.
  • 6
    6 Chinaco Añejo Tequila
    96
    Chinaco is the only brand of tequila made in the northern state of Tamaulipas, and in fact the owner of the distillery had to fight to have it included in the designated area for tequila production. These tequilas are distilled from Tamaulipas-grown agave both from the highlands and near the coast, as well as a small amount harvested from Jalisco. The añejo is aged two and a half years in casks formerly used to mature Glenlivet single malt (90%) and ex-Bourbon barrels (10%).
  • 5
    5 Clase Azul Reposado Tequila
    97
    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.
  • 4
    4 Dulce Vida Extra Añejo Tequila
    97
    The extra añejo is aged over five years in used merlot and cabernet savuignon wine barrels from Napa Valley's Rombauer yielding a dark amber color with glints of ruby. Their agaves are 100% organic and like all of their releases, is 100 proof.
  • 3
    3 Tequila Tapatio Excelencia Gran Reserva Lot 1
    97
    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.
  • 2
    2 4 Copas Tequila Blanco
    98
    4 Copas was founded by Hector Galindo Miranda The brand makes its tequila from 100% organic blue weber agave along with organic agave yeast in its production. The agaves are slow-cooked in traditional brick ovens. This clear, unaged spirit is bottled at 40% ABV.
  • 1
    1 Fuenteseca Reserva Extra Añejo Tequila 9 Años
    98
    Enrique Fonseca's massive Tequileña distillery is a veritable laboratory of tequila production and the experimental lots of extra añejo that comprise the Fuenteseca project were never intended for commercial sale. These barrels were laid down in a subterranean cellar, where the cool environment was intended to allow them to age for years beyond what was otherwise considered desirable. This single-harvest tequila is a blend of column- and pot-distilled products which were vatted together before being aged in American oak ex-red wine barrels (85%) and used French oak (15%). This is the youngest batch of Fuenteseca but is still eons older than almost anything else on the market.