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mercredi 26 août 2020

The Top Rated Tequila In Every Category From This Year’s International Wine & Spirits Competition

Whether you’re a smooth sipper or you love the bright bite of an agave-based cocktail, there are simply too many great bottles of tequila out there to choose from. To make your shopping process all the easier, we’ve fixed our eye to every list of the best expressions to pour out of this year’s spirit judging season in search of the absolute best bottles to stock your home bar with. Because if you’re going to drink tequila, you really should make it the best of the best.

Which has brings us to highest-scoring bottles of tequila from the International Wine & Spirits Competition. From completely un-aged silver glittering Blancos to carefully crafted Reposados to even the most luxurious of aged and purified Cristalinos, the IWSC has tasted the best the modern tequila market has to offer and ranked each bottle accordingly using a double-blind tasting method for full impartiality. The IWSC’s judges hail from over 30 countries and are made up of mostly distillers themselves, which helps to give the results an extra layer of authority that we feel we can really trust.

The six bottles on this list all managed to score in the 90-100 range of the IWSC’s 100 point system, meaning even if you buy one of these bottles blind, you’re probably going to land in something great. In addition to links on where you can buy your own, we’ve included the IWSC’s detailed tasting notes to help you really zoom in on what kind of tequila you’re looking for.

So let’s dive into some of the top-rated bottles of tequila from this year, according to the International Wine & Spirits Competition.

Best Blanco/Plata Tequila: Expresiones Corazon Blanco (92 Points)


ABV: 40%
Distillery: Tequila San Matias de Jalisco
Average Price: $59.99

The Tequila:

This small-batch artisanal Blanco tequila is made from matured agave cooked in stone and brick ovens and fermented in stainless steel tanks in an open-air setting before being twice distilled, resulting in an expression with bright citrus and slightly tangy characteristics.

Tasting Notes (from IWSC):

“Yeasty spice and fresh limes entice the nose. First taste impressions of pepper and glazed pineapple soon surrender to an intriguing, highly eccentric amalgam of Parma Violets and Love Hearts.”

Bottom Line:

At $60 a bottle, Expresiones Corazon certainly doesn’t make the cheapest bottle of Blanco tequila on the market, but given its three-year streak of topping the charts at the annual spirit tasting competitions, it’s clearly one of the best.

Best Flavored Tequila/Tequila Liqueur: Black Fire (92 Points)

Black Fire Tequila

ABV: 33%
Distillery: Undisclosed
Average Price: £22.59

The Tequila:

Not yet available to the US market, this tequila liqueur sounds like an absolute treat for the senses thanks to its combination of Blanco tequila, black coffee, and hints of chili.

Tasting Notes (from IWSC):

“Big, expressive, and rich with coffee aromas and nutiness mixed with hints of aniseed; a nice complexity to the liqueur, creating an overall well-made drink.”

Bottom Line:

Ideal as part of a more complex cocktail, Black Fire sounds like a great additive for anyone looking for a stronger kick from their tequila. It also sounds like the perfect kick to add to your post-dinner coffee or dessert.

Best Reposado Tequila: Storywood Tequila Speyside 7 (95 Points)

Storywood Tequila

ABV: 40%
Distillery: La Cofradia
Average Price: £38.95

The Tequila:

Harvested and distilled in Tequila, Mexico, Storywood’s single malt Resposado is aged for seven months in Scottish Speyside whisky barrels that supply the expression with subtle hints of earthy vanilla, honey, and caramel with a bright lowland agave base hitting that perfect middle ground between aged and un-aged.

Tasting Notes (from IWSC):

“Lifted and herbaceous with great balance and character. Commendably packed with savory herbs, peppercorns, and cooked agave, yet still manages to possess subtle hints of honey and peach. The oak is well balanced and adds some rather pleasing tannins.”

Bottom Line:

Whether you like to sip your tequila or throw it into a mixer for a top-shelf cocktail, Storywood Speyside provides a solid Reposado tequila that brings together the best of both worlds of the tequila spectrum.

Best Añejo: Cierto Tequila Private Collection (91 Points)

Cierto Tequila

ABV: 40%
Distillery: Tequileña
Average Price: Available January 2021

The Tequila:

Rather than leaning on high-pressure diffusers or additives to achieve the deep amber hue of Cierto Black Label’s Private Reserve Añejo, Cierto uses traditional methods to produce this award-winning tequila. Crafted using only fully matured agave that is hand-harvested and slow-cooked by fifth-generation masters, Cierto’s Añejo is aged in ex-wine casks alongside oak barrels. This results in tequila with a smooth mouthfeel made to savor.

Tasting Notes (from IWSC):

“Butterscotch and herbs tantalize the nose. Sweet agave and the well-judged oak reveal an elegant character and bring a savory, yet delicate balance to the mouth.”

Bottom Line:

A tequila crafted with serious sippers in mind, as soon as we’re able to get our hands on a bottle of Cierto, we’ll let you know if the expression measures up to the rumored high price. With marks this high though, we’re not doubting whether Cierto delivers.

Best Extra Añejo: El Tesoro (95 Points)

El Tesoro

ABV: 40%
Distillery: Tequila Tapatio
Average Price: $54.99

The Tequila:

El Tesoro is absolutely killing it this year, scooping up accolades and awards at all of the major spirits tasting competitions as well as being the only Extra Añejo tequila to grab IWSC’s high honor Gold Spirit award this year. Made using Blue Weber agave harvested at full maturity and fermented in wood fermentation tanks in an open-air setting, El Tesoro’s Extra Añejo is aged in American oak ex-bourbon barrels for four to five years giving the Tequila its vibrant golden hue and pulls forward decadent flavors of chocolate and coffee.

Tasting Notes (from IWSC):

“Leafy in style with cool herbaceous notes and some oak on the nose. Spiced strawberries, cherry bubblegum and big dollop of white pepper offers a delectable and well-balanced mouthfeel. Very drinkable.”

Bottom Line:

Given its laborious process, El Tesoro’s Añejo is pretty fairly priced. With its high honors and reputation, it’s one of the best Extra Añejo’s you can buy without killing your bank account, though you’ll probably still reserve this bottle for special occasions and guests.

Best Cristalino: Satryna Cristalino Tequila (92 Points)


ABV: 38%
Distillery: Distillery: Corporativo Destileria Santa Lucia
Average Price: £125

The Tequila:

Stateside, Cristalino is rarely recognized as its own respective category of tequila. In Mexico, the filtered Añejo tequila is exploding in popularity as drinkers seek out all the care and craft of an aged tequila with some of the brightness of a Blanco. Made using steam-cooked Blue Weber agave sourced from Guadalajara, Satryna waits for ten to 12 years to harvest their agave and then lets the juice age for an additional 18 months in American oak barrels before being fine filtered into a Cristalino state. The result is then bottled in a wildly ornate handcrafted French decanter encrusted with metal foil in an aesthetic that owes a considerable debt to the imagery of Día de Los Muertos.

Tasting Notes (from IWSC):

“Soft on the nose with a creamy and sweet texture. Strong hints of new American oak and quality agave make this a very well balanced easy sipping tequila.”

Bottom Line:

A bottle of Satrnya Cristalino is a gift, whether you’re purchasing it for yourself or for a friend that enjoys the complexities of a luxury tequila. It’s a lovely addition to any bar, even once it’s empty.


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