The results of the blind taste tests come from 24 members of the tasting panel
It’s a great time for tequila blanco lovers, with a number of great additive-free choices on the market. Although we are lucky enough to try all the brands in our program without additives, we have noticed that some of our daily drinks are sometimes overlooked.
So we assembled kits of 10 quality tequila blanco from our additive-free list and asked 24 members of the Tequila Matchmaker panel to blindly review them. We wanted to see how some of the newer or lesser-known brands would compare to an old favorite.
Before we get into the results, we’d like to point out that these samples were selected not just because we love them, but because they represent a wide variety of aromas and flavors, suitable for all types of drinkers. Furthermore, the final results show that most of the samples received a relatively high rating.
Here is how they landed:
The highest rated tequila was Volcano of mi Tierra Blancowith an average score of 88.71. Tasters noted that it has a subtle nose, but “big flavors” of cooked agave, fruit and minerality, with a nice oily finish.
This product, partly owned by Louis Vuitton Moet Hennessy (LVMH), is aimed more at the luxury audience and may have missed the eyes of aficionados looking for traditional flavors. But those blind scores indicate its refined bottle is backed by quality juice.
As one taster commented, “The Volcán came as a surprise, given that I had never tried it before and passed it around to all the stores. .. but I rated it higher than the panel (average)!
Interestingly, the second highest score (87.25) was The Mexican Blanco, which packs a big punch of old-school flavor at a great price (it usually sells for around $30, but one retailer even lists it for $20.) Tasters found agave right off the bat, citrus and baking spices, with a finish that is, as one taster put it, “sweet and clean as a whistle.” (The) flavor profile of cooked agave slowly fades.
Another taster said he was surprised that “El Mexicano was able to show strong thanks to its great value”. In fact, several panel members said they would buy a bottle after this experience.
After El Mexicano, the relatively new Tequila Primo 1861 Blancowith 87.04 points. The members of the jury found cooked agave, butter, fruit aromas and flavors and a nice minerality. Primo comes from the famous El Pandillo distillery (1579) with master distiller Felipe Camarena, so it’s no surprise that it worked out well.
The brand takes its name from the fact that it is a collaboration between Felipe and his nephew Pedro Camarena. (The word “primo” means cousin in Spanish.) The number “1861” is the year of birth of Pedro Camarena Ramírez (a distant cousin of Felipe and Pedro), founder of the first tequila tavern in the Arandas region .
It is also unique in that it is the only product from El Pandillo that uses 100% spring water and has been fermented in both wooden (20%) and stainless steel tanks. (80%).
The next highest rated tequila, with 86.33 points, was Yeyo Blanco. Yeyo comes from another highly respected distillery, NOM 1414, in Arandas. Tasters found cooked agave, anise, baking spice and white pepper with a “solid finish.”
As one reviewer said, “I will always have a bottle of Yeyo in my cupboard in the future! »
Yeyo’s master distiller is Sergio Cruz, known for many other high-quality, additive-free creations from the Vivanco distillery. (This particular batch was bottled on 06/12/2019.)
“It opened up and softened after my first sip. I really enjoyed this well-made blanco,” said another panel member.
The highest score in terms of aroma, flavor and finish (but with a price tag of around $110 a bottle) was Santanera Tahona Blanco Organic with 85.46 points. Made at a fan-approved distillery, Cascahuín (NOM 1123), in El Arenal, this blanco has been praised for its pleasant spicy notes, sweet agave and vegetal notes, as well as its oily mouthfeel and warm finish.
As the name suggests, this tequila is made using the traditional tahona millstone, one of the extraction methods available in Cascahuín. It is also fermented in cement tanks containing agave fibers and is bottled at 41% abv.
The high price of this one really lowered their overall rating. But if we consider only the quality of the tequila itself, it was the one that scored the most points in the range. This is another example of the kinds of great products without additives from this family run distillery.
The next step was LALO Blanco with 85.17 points. Just 3.54 points lower than the highest rated Volcán, tasters found a “sophisticated but light nose” of creamy cooked agave, cinnamon, fruit and brine with a long finish.
“It’s an everyday drink for me,” commented one taster. “(It’s a) simple, high-quality blanco that has everything I love.”
It should be noted that the LALO blanco available at the time of the tasting came from their old distillery, “El Nacimiento”. They recently moved to a new distillery with a series of new copper pot stills. Some tasters thought the original blanco was a little soft, but the latest version has a bolder profile, so we’re curious to see how they’ll rate the new batches.
(Yes, we’ve tried the new releases at the distillery, both straight from the still and from the final bottled version and our personal opinion is that it’s better than previous batches. You won’t be able to identify the new batches by NAME number as they kept the same number, so look for the date printed on the side of the bottle. If it’s 5/17/22 or later, then it’s from the new distillery.)
Speaking of a more subtle profile, tasters appreciated Unusual, but I found the Tequila Valley brand to be a little understated, although it still had a pleasant aroma of roasted nuts, cooked agave, and herbal notes with a slight sweetness and creamy mouthfeel. They gave it an average rating of 84.58.
“(I) have never eaten Insólito before, and it was my number 1 of the bunch,” said one taster.
It’s made in the same distillery that makes Tierra-Noble tequila, on the outskirts of the city of Mazamitla, Jalisco, at an elevation of 7,200 feet above sea level. And it’s entirely distilled in pot stills. Stainless steel.
The next step was Siete Leguas Blancowith 84.17 points. We brought it into the lineup because it’s an old school favorite and we wanted to see how the newer products would perform against this classic profile. We were admittedly a little shocked to see it come in at number seven, as were some of the tasters who keep Siete Leguas in their home bars.
“I’m surprised to have ranked (Siete Leguas) in the middle of the pack, instead of being at the very top,” said one taster.
Another added: “The most surprising part of the whole blind taste test was the results and feedback I gave Siete Leguas Blanco. In the past, I enjoyed all the expressions of Siete Leguas very much, especially the Blanco, so it was difficult to understand my scores, maybe variations in the lots? Variations in my palate?
(Note: Both are entirely possible. And sometimes mood and what you eat and drink affect your perceptions. Blind tasting can be tricky! That’s why it’s a good idea to review the samples several times.)
But overall, panel members enjoyed the nose and flavors of herbs, citrus, black pepper and rich aromas of cooked agave from Siete Leguas, but some thought the mouthfeel was a little less greasy than others. But as one taster said, this product has “Agave, agave, agave”!
The flight was completed by Arette Artesanal Blanco Suavewith 81.88 dots, and Atanasio Blanco with 78.83.
Tasters praised Arette’s earthy and vegetal nose, minerality and silky mouthfeel. “(I) really appreciate how balanced and clean this one was on the palate/finish,” commented one taster.
As for Atanasio, his distinct lactic nose divides the group. Some called it “cheesy” or “sour” while others “loved the funk!” »
Although we’ve had less lactic versions of this product before, the fact that the latest bottling is different just goes to show that tequila is a natural product and authenticity trumps consistency.
In summary, this blind tasting demonstrated that there is a lot of variety and quality in the tequila market today. The 10 Blancos were separated by less than 10 points, each highlighting their own profile.
Here’s a handy chart, in case you want to take a look at the underlying data.
The table above includes all programming results. Each tequila received 2 averages: ‘Full points’ includes scores for ‘value’, ‘recommend’ and ‘buy/drink again’; and “Aroma/Flavor/Finish Only” omits these points to give us a relative score for what panel members thought of the quality of the tequila alone.
Not all tequilas taste the same! There was a lot of variety in this range, and it shows that you don’t need to use additives to create a different flavor profile.
How many of these blancos have you tried? Let us know!
To participate in blind tastings like this, join the Tequila Matchmaker tasting panel.