Finest Tequilas on the Market
One of North America’s first homegrown distilled spirits, tequila was initially produced by Spanish conquistadors in the 16th century, although long before that the Aztecs were making another fermented agave beverage, known as pulque in Mexico.
Today, tequila is made exclusively from blue agave, and offers a more refined finish than its smoky cousin mezcal, which is also produced from the agave plant. Far from its reputation as a cheap drink for college kids, tequila is an international spirit meant to be savored.
GAYOT’s list of the Top 10 Luxury Tequilas features the finest (and priciest) versions of this refined spirit, perfect for pairing with an exceptional meal, gifting to a tequila connoisseur or sipping on its own.
Craving a budget-friendly option? Check out these great tasting bottles of tequila for under $100 and discover recipes for mixing your own tequila cocktails.
1Alquimia Reserva de Don Adolfo Extra Añejo
Much like Cognac, this 100% certified organic tequila is best when sipped neat in a snifter.
Aged for six years in white American oak barrels, the tequila is completely sustainably produced, organically grown and made with no preservatives in Jalisco, Mexico. On the nose, there are notes of herbs, cinnamon and spices, while in the mouth the drink is robust, containing both sweet and spicy flavors and a fruity finish. It is the perfect companion to a steak dinner or dessert.
2Asombroso Gran Reserva Extra Añejo 5 Year
The father-and-son team of Ricardo and Jarrett Gamarra run a small boutique tequila business making what they call “The World’s Most Exclusive Tequilas” in very distinctive bottles.
They distill their 100% blue agave Silver Tequila in Tequila, Mexico, and then age it five years in new French oak barrels. The result is ultra-smooth: honey on the nose, an oaky toffee on the palate and caramel in the finish. When you’re done, you may want to display the bottle as a work of art.
This joven-style tequila from San Miguel de Allende combines an extra-añejo aged for five years in new charred American white oak barrels with un-aged tequila.
The mix is then filtered through a bed of charcoal to remove its color. The 80-proof clear liquid is put in an individually numbered crystal bottle decorated by hand with representations of pepitas (pumpkin seeds) and an agave plant, then sealed. The award-winning packaging even comes with a matching decanter top that can be used after popping the synthetic cork, which we suggest you do immediately. Vanilla and citrus waft on the nose and the first playful sip presents pepper on the palate, but no alcohol burn. The next offers a delicate sweetness to the tip of the tongue, a burst of fruit mid-palate and a satisfyingly viscous mouthfeel. With only 32,000 bottles having been made in the first two years of production, this tequila is now sold in Mexico, the U.K and the U.S.
4Don Julio Real
Founded by Don Julio Gonzalez in 1942, Mexico’s most popular premium tequila has come a long way since its humble beginnings in the highlands of Jalisco.
Don Julio Real, the brand’s extra-añejo offering, is the result of decades of hard work in the pursuit of the perfect tequila. Made using handpicked seven- to 10-year-old blue agave, the tequila is then aged in American white oak barrels for three to five years, where it acquires its signature vanilla flavors and subtle, oaky finish. The decanter-style bottle comes adorned with silver agave leaves, paying tribute to Jalisco’s favorite flora.
5Gran Patrón Burdeos
That doesn’t look like a tequila! Gran Patron Burdeos is named after the vintage Bordeaux barrels in which it is racked.
This luxurious añejo tequila is triple-distilled and aged for a minimum of 12 months in order to achieve its smooth, full-bodied taste and rich, dark amber hue. Packaged in an elegant crystal bottle nestled inside a suede-lined black walnut box, Gran Patrón Burdeos is an excellent gift for that agave aficionado in your life; however, we can’t say we blame you if you choose to keep this top-notch tequila all to yourself.
6Herradura Reserva Cognac Cask Finish
Tequila is often considered a manly drink, but some of the world’s finest is being made by a woman.
Herradura’s Master Distiller Maria Teresa Lara created Herradura Coleccion de la Casa Tequila Reposado Reserva Cognac Cask Finish, a small-batch reposado tequila using naturally occurring wild yeast. After resting in medium-char American oak barrels for 11 months, it is then transferred to French oak casks that previously held Cognac for the final three months of aging. The two different types of barrels make for a very complex yet balanced flavor profile. The essence of the agave is present along with dried fruit and it finishes with a satisfying vanilla.
Mix aged tequila with un-aged and it becomes young (joven) according to the tequila gods.
A blend of triple-distilled silver tequila and Milagro’s barrel-aged stock, Unico is an agave-forward tequila that is playful on the tongue, yet offers a long, smooth finish. All of the agave used is estate-grown in the Jalisco highlands, and the vegetal beverage is packaged in a slender, striking bottle that showcases its crystal-clear appearance. Given the labor-intensive process that goes into making this carefully crafted spirit, only 1,200 individually numbered bottles have been released.
8Partida Tequila Elegante
Partida Tequila Elegante is estate-grown and -bottled.
The blue agave plants are grown in the Tequila Valley at the base of a volcano. Agave grown in the Tequila Valley, where the earth has more minerals than higher elevations, has earthier tones and textures. Piñas, the part of the agave plant that is harvested to make tequila, are grown for seven to 10 years until large and ripe, then cooked in stainless steel autoclaves instead of a traditional stone oven to prevent the product from acquiring a slightly bitter, smoky taste. After distillation, the spirit is aged 36-40 months in Jack Daniel’s barrels made of white American oak that were previously used once, ensuring lots of contact with the wood. The extra-añejo tequila is poured into crystal decanters that are individually numbered and sold with a silver charm and crystal bottle top; everything is hand-made in Mexico, including the bottle and leather wrap. The final result is very aromatic, viscous and supple with flavors of banana, caramel and cinnamon accenting the agave. Despite the 80 proof, there is absolutely no burn, and a satisfying aftertaste. We suggest stocking up on this treat during annual sales that can knock $100 off the price of a bottle. And when you’ve drained every last drop, you can reuse the decanter!
9Rey Sol Añejo
Made by Casa San Matias, the Rey Sol Añejo is a little bit of liquid sunshine in a beautiful bottle designed by world-renowned artist Sergio Bustamante.
Located in Magdalena, Mexico and produced in altitudes over 6,000 feet, San Matias uses a pure spring water distilling process that gives their tequila a unique energy and pureness in flavor. The Rey Sol Añejo is aged for six years in French oak barrels and has a smooth, supple flavor that tastes of ripe fruit, particularly plum and apple. On the nose, there are notes of cinnamon and hazelnut, and it is the perfect complement to fine meals with red meat as well as for dessert and coffee.
10Tres Cuatro Y Cinco
Made from 100 percent Weber Blue agave, Tres Cuatro Y Cinco is manufactured by the Fonseca family of Jalisco, Mexico.
It is the product of the family’s fourth generation of growing and distilling tequila, and the extra añejo is made of 30% three year, 40% four year and 30% five year extra añejo tequilas aged in French oak. (Hence the name, which translates to ‘Three, Four and Five.”) Each of the handmade crystal decanters are designed and created by Mexico City artist Alonso Gonzales Jr. Only 1,000 bottles have ever been produced, and each is signed and numbered by the artist, making the bottle, as well as the tequila inside, a very special collector’s item. The tequila itself is smooth and sophisticated, making it perfect for sipping.