Over the past year, some excellent tequilas blanco have hit the market. So we thought it was high time to hold a blind tasting event to see how these new products would stack up against some popular competitors.
We selected four new tequilas in our Confirmed without additive program which we consider to be of excellent quality and we compared them to 2 well-known products to see how they would compare when tasted blind.
Plus, we thought this blind tasting would be a great opportunity to test some myths about tequila preferences. For example, to what extent do experience and education affect tasters’ preferences? And is it true that women prefer a different style of tequila than men?
To collect this data, we sought to balance our group of 36 tasters according to gender and experience: we identified half of the tasters as aficionados according to their knowledge (trained tasters and/or members of our tasting jury ), and the other half as fans. We evenly split the group 50-50 between men and women. It gave some convincing results, but let’s start with the first numbers first!
1) wild common blanco (Lot 01)
— 88.4 points/average
This bold and bright tequila was first launched last year, amid high praise from aficionados. It is made at the Cascahuín distillery in Arenal, Jalisco, known for its excellent blancos without additives, including Cascahuin Tahona, ArteNOM 1123And Siembra Valles.
The production process here is a combination of tahona and roller mill; fermentation with and without fibers in cement and stainless steel tanks. It reaches 42% abv, slightly higher than others in the range.
We often hear that tequila can’t appeal to both aficionados and regular drinkers, but that’s exactly what Wild Common did in this blind tasting. He scored the most points in both groups. It is also the one who has scored the most points for both men and women.
“Spices, mint and dry earth, it’s definitely a good tequila!” Easy on the palate but with enough pop to let you know it’s legit.
“The nose was magnificent. Cooked agave, kiwi, pineapple and black pepper. The taste did not disappoint.
— 85 points/average
The second highest score was Los Dos, made at the Vivancos Distillery (NOM 1414) in Arandas, Jalisco. It’s part of a line of remarkable products made by master distiller Sergio Cruz, who also makes Gran Dovejo, De-Nada, Yeyo and Tau tequilas (all confirmed additive-free!)
Los Altos agaves are fired in brick kilns and extraction is done via a roller mill. They used a slow fermentation (8 days) in the open air with champagne yeasts. This tequila was then rested in stainless steel for 6 months, then oxygenated before bottling.
The sweetness found in the finish was possible thanks to innovative distillation cuts and blends made by Sergio Cruz. The extended rest period is also a key element that brings it all together. This is further proof that good things are possible when a producer is in no rush.
— 84.8 points/average
In third place was Inspiro Luna Blanco, a new product that advertises itself as being produced by women, for women. It rests for less than a month in used oak barrels, then in stainless steel before bottling. This gives it a smoother profile with light vanilla cask notes without having to use any additives.
The production process also involves the use of 2 different yeast strains, which are distilled separately and then mixed according to taste to achieve a more complex profile.
In fact, it was produced under NOM 1614 (Tequilera TAP) in Amatitan, Jalisco, a 100% additive-free distillery. The master distiller is the highly respected Ana María Romero Mena, and the brand is the brainchild of Mara Smith, a former lawyer.
Resting a blanco in oak is not common practice as it takes longer, but Inspiro was in no hurry. Resting a tequila blanco in oak for less than 60 days is legally allowed under the rules. The hint of vanilla imparted by the barrels made some of our reviewers wonder if additives had been used, but we can confirm that none were.
“The agave is sweet and tangy here. Full texture with medium oils. The finish is quite long, prolonging a bit of agave and fruit.
“The aroma has small notes of baked agave, some citrus and floral notes. The taste is agave with lots of pepper and spiciness.
— 84.7 points/average
This certified organic and kosher tequila is made at the Rancho Miravalle Distillery (NOM 1426) in Amatitan, Jalisco, and supervised by a master distiller Nohemi Partida from the famous Partida family, long known for making tequila.
The agaves are fired in brick kilns and the extraction is done via a roller mill. Since the Partida family are also agave growers, they were able to select mature agaves grown in the Tequila Valley for Nueveuno. The result is a traditional high quality product. Once again the scores were very close, with Nueveuno coming just 0.1 points behind Inspiro and 0.3 points behind Los Dos.
“Old fashioned agave aroma, solid and bold. Really nice flavor – most consistent by far across two tastings. Good balanced blend of sweet agave, earth and mint. Correct finish. »
“Nose a little stuffy at first, but opened up after a few minutes of sitting. Nice balance of sweetness, agave, peppery notes and ethanol.
— 84.6 points/average
This tequila took the spirits world by storm in 2020, selling a record number of cases (around 300,000) for a new product. This was largely due to the notoriety of his famous sponsor, Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson, who did an impressive job of marketing to his followers. It has also benefited from a traditional process of cooking in a brick oven and distilling in copper stills.
We haven’t had Teremana do any blind tastings so far and we were eager to hear some answers. The tequila has its own distillery (NOM 1613), located on the property of Productos Finos de Agave (NOM 1416). Although the last distillery still has a modern diffuser and column on site, none of them are used in the production of Teremana.
Although Teremana is not (yet) on our confirmed list without additives, our reviewers did not suspect it to contain additives.
“There is a big punch of agave on the nose! It is very agave in the mouth with a floral touch. The finish has a long agave finish.
“Caramel, funky, overripe fruit and black pepper on the palate. The finish is a little bitter.
— 80.9 points/average
No tequila has as many celebrity heirlooms as Casamigos, even though founders George Clooney and Randy Gerber sold it in 2017. It’s also been a huge seller, inspiring other celebrities to jump into the arena tequila, dreaming of a billion dollar release. However, this product has not been as popular with aficionados who use our app. It was called overly sweet with strong vanilla notes.
Not much is known about the production processes involved in Casamigos. When they moved the distilleries to NOM 1609 (instead of NOM 1416) we lost the ability to tell with direct knowledge what type of production process is being used. (Hey, Diageo, we’d love to visit your new facility.)
However, the aficionados of our blind tasting overwhelmingly expressed their opinion that this product contained additives.
“The aroma is mostly vanilla, with maybe some plastic/rubber scent. The texture is a bit watery. The flavor is sweet with lots of vanilla, a little woody. Peppery finish. »
“This blanco didn’t smell like tequila at all. The nose was cotton candy and vanilla. (They) are spread without any agave.
“Bubblegum and toasted marshmallow on the nose. I didn’t expect much after discovering this.
Now let’s look a little deeper, because this is where it gets really interesting.
When we look at the preferences according to aficionados versus fans the scores are fairly close on each product, except Casamigos. For this product, the difference between experienced tasters and occasional drinkers was 7.6 points. (Aficionados gave it an average score of 77.7, while fans gave it an average rating of 85.3.)
The lower rating given by Aficionados to Casamigos was consistent whether the taster was male or female.
Speaking of women, let’s see how different genders have rated Inspiro blanco, since it is aimed at women. As it turns out, men rated this product 0.8 points higher than women on average, at 85.2 against 84.4 for women. So maybe having a cleaner, slightly vanilla profile appeals to fans of all persuasions!
Another interesting point to remember was the perception of value (or for your money) between the different groups. THE The biggest points gap was, again, for Casamigos: Fans gave it an average rating of 7 out of 10 for value, while aficionados rated it less than 5 out of 10.
So what are we to think of all this? First of all, blind rating is tough (you don’t have a bottle, marketing, or recommendations to go by), but it also levels the playing field. The big names in blancos have arrived last, while the newcomers won over tasters with their aromas, flavors and mouthfeel.
And, although this is a small sample of 36 tasters, it seems that experience makes more of a difference when it comes to shaping preferences than gender.
We sent a follow-up questionnaire to participants after the end of the evaluation period. Several tequila fans were surprised that they gave Casamigos a high rating. They mentioned that the overall experience was valuable as it taught them how to sharpen their palates to better identify products that stray from a natural profile.
So keep practicing your tasting skills, my friends. Take advantage of our List confirmed without addendum and train your palate! Eventually, products filled with additives will become evident. Hi!