2020 isn’t exactly a banner year for most things. A global pandemic, murder hornets, the list goes on (and on, and on, and on). But one shining light in the last 365 days has been the release of some excellent tequilas. Particularly in the Extra Anejo category with the introduction of a few bottles that won’t bruise your wallet. Below, are our top 5 tequila’s, from an easy-breezy Blanco to some baller bottles with impressive age statements.
Patron Extra Anejo 10 Anos Tequila
Patron is already lauded as one of the better premium tequilas on the market, and their Extra Anejo is pushing the bar. The new Extra Anejo 10 Anos is the oldest tequila to come out of the hacienda, second to the seven-year-old Anejo released a few years back.
Why is a ten year age statement such a big deal? The hot, humid Mexican climate means that 6.3 percent of barrels are lost per year, so aging is a costly and challenging endeavor.
Aged for a decade in ex-bourbon and hybrid American and French Limousin barrels, it’s a beautifully rich spirit, with crisp agave and vanilla notes and a luxuriously long finish. The spirit is poured into a hand-blown, glass-stoppered bottle (a reproduction of the first-ever Patron bottle created in the ‘80s).
Available on Drizly.com
Tanteo Tequila Blanco
Tanteo Tequila does things a little differently. Instead of launching the brand with a Blanco, its first release was a range of flavored expressions—chipotle, jalapeno, and habanero. Now, the distillery has released a bright, floral Blanco. Bottled at 85 proof, it’s a particularly great backbone for cocktails. The distillery is community-owned and puts a significant emphasis on giving back to the said community through language classes, on-site daycares, and fair living wages.
Available on Drizly.com for $32.99
Cazadores Cristalino Tequila
Cristalino tequilas—or aged tequilas filtered through activated carbon dust to remove the color—are having a moment. One of the newest in this guard of tequilas is Cazadores’ iteration. Made with 100% Jalisco blue weber agave, the spirit is aged in oak for over two years, then slow filtered, giving the crystal-clear spirit the mellow, almond flavors of an excellent Extra Anejo.
Available on Drizly.com for $21.99
El Tesoro Extra Anejo
Tequila geeks freak out over El Tesoro, a budget-friendly, high-quality tequila. To further ignite their passion, every five years, El Tesoro releases an anniversary bottle of Extra Anejo to honor master distiller Carlos Camerena’s grandfather, Don Felipe Camarena, who founded the distillery in 1937. This iteration spends four to five years aging in ex-Booker and Knob Creek barrels, and though it’s the distillery’s oldest tequila, it sits at an incredibly accessible price point (just $100!). Expect rich cocoa and candied vanilla with notes of stewed prunes and a touch of smoke (credit the heavily charred Jim Beam barrels for that one, not the agave roasting).
Available on Drizly.com for $100.49
Partida Single Barrel Reserve
Partida’s single barrel launched just moments before the pandemic hit, and this excellent reposado didn’t get the time in the sun it deserved. Master distiller José Valdez spent ages sampling hundreds of barrels several times before selecting 30 and aging them for six months in white American charred oak. Each barrel was separated into one of three tasting profiles based on how agave-forward they were. The three different takes showcase the versatility of a reposado. For the best experience, pick up one of each: Ligero, Medio, and Intenso. Compare them side by side to pick up on the nuances. Each bottle is numbered and signed by Valdez.