Tequila is a popular alcoholic spirit from the native blue Weber agave plant. The agave is fermented and distilled, and then aged. Tequila is made in Mexico, specifically in the states of Jalisco, Michocoán, Guanajuato, Nayarit, and Tamaulipas. Over 90% of tequila is made in Jalisco alone. When it comes to reposado vs. anejo, there are a few differences between these aged tequilas.
The main difference between reposado and anejo is age. Reposado tequila is aged between two months and one year in either oak or steel barrels. In contrast, Anejo tequila is aged for one to three years in oak barrels. The aging process gives them each a distinct flavor. Reposado has a golden yellow color and a smooth fruity flavor with a slight hint of vanilla, citrus, and spices, while anejo has a rich amber color and is a smooth sipping tequila with hints of caramel and butterscotch.
Reposado vs. Anejo: What is the Difference?
The three most popular types of tequila are Blanco, reposado, and Anejo. Blanco tequila is aged less than two months and is clear. It is most commonly used as a mixer. In contrast, reposado and Anejo are aged in barrels and have a darker color and richer taste. So when looking at reposado vs. anejo, age is the most important factor in determining taste.
Reposado has aged anywhere between a couple of months to one year. It has a strong agave flavor, a slightly yellow color, and is moderately priced. Reposado can replace Blanco in mixed drinks like the classic margarita or Mexican mule. Anejo tequila is aged for one to three years, has a richer, more complex flavor and less agave taste, and is more expensive than other types of tequila. Anjeo is often enjoyed neat or on ice and not mixed.
What is Reposado?
Reposado tequila is a popular, versatile tequila. It can be sipped on its own or mixed into other drinks. The aging process takes reposado from a strong Blanco to a more nuanced flavor with sweeter notes of honey and vanilla. Reposado has a sweet spiciness but keeps its intensity and bold tequila taste. It is an affordable tequila that is considered a step up from Blanco tequila, as reposado can be added to mixed drinks or sipped on its own.
What is Anejo?
Anejo tequila is considered the best tequila because of its less intense taste and smooth finish. It is aged in oak barrels from one to three years. The oak barrel must be no larger than 600 liters in order to keep the wood-to-tequila ratio balanced so it absorbs the oakiness.
Best Brands of Reposado
Reposado tequila is less expensive than Anejo and can range between $30 to $60, depending on the brand. Some of the most popular best brands of reposado are:
Mijenta Reposado from Jalisco Highlands with hints of vanilla, almond, and pepper.
Clase Azul from Jalisco lowlands with hints of cinnamon and orange peel.
Casamigos Reposado from the highlands of Jalisco with hints of caramel and cocoa.
G4 Reposado from the highlands of Jalisco with hints of orange, butter, and cinnamon.
Corralejo Reposado from Guanajuato with hints of pepper, nuts, and honey.
Best Brands of Anejo
Anejo tequila is more expensive than a reposado, and bottles range between $50 to $150 or more, depending on the aging process and brand. Some of the best brands of tequila are:
Olmeca Altos Anejo from the highlands of Jalisco with hints of citrus and black pepper.
Grand Mayan Ultra Aged from Jalisco with hints of roasted nuts and caramel.
Fortaleza Anejo from Jalisco with hints of butterscotch and toffee.
Siete Lenguas Tequila from the highlands of Jalisco with hints of maple syrup, orange, and chocolate.
Don Julio 1942 Anejo from Jalisco with hints of vanilla and roasted agave.
Reposado vs. Anejo: Food Pairing
The sweet, mild flavor of reposado pairs well with strong, spicy foods. The contrast is ideal to balance and complement each other. Mexican foods like tacos, carne asada, enchiladas, guacamole, and empanadas are excellent choices to pair with reposado. Strongly spiced meats like barbacoa and cochinito pibil (marinated pork) are traditionally eaten with reposado.
Reposado also pairs well with complementary sweet dishes with chocolate, like chocolate mousse, chocolate cake, and a simple square of dark chocolate. Tropical fruit sherberts like pineapple and mango are an excellent pairing too.
Dark amber Anejo tequila is sweeter than a reposado and doesn't pack that intense punch like a reposado. It pairs well with smoky charred meats like smoked brisket. Smoked fish and grilled shrimp are excellent choices to pair with it too. Classic Mexican mole sauce, which is popular around the holidays, is an ideal pairing with Anejo. Mole is a rich chocolate sauce mixed with spices to create a decadent sauce for savory dishes like chicken mole.
History of Tequila
In Mexico, fermented drinks like tepache and pulque were popular before the Spanish colonization. When the Spanish conquered Mexico in the mid-16th century, they brought the distilling process to the New World. By the 18th and 19th centuries, tequila was created. The two famous families that are credited with modern-day tequila are The Cuervos and the Sauza families. The Cuervos began distilling tequila as early as 1758, and then the Sauza family revolutionized the tequila-making process and began exporting to the U.S. Tequila is now considered the official drink of Mexico.
Comparing Reposado vs. Anejo
While they are both types of tequila, reposado and anejo have some subtle differences as well as other noticeable distinctions. Let's dive into a few:
- Reposado is typically mixed into other drinks but is great for something. On the other hand, anejo has a less intense flavor and smoother taste, making it a great sipping tequila.
- Reposado is aged anywhere from two months to a year, well Anejo is aged anywhere from one to three years. Both, however, are aged in barrels.
- In terms of food pairings, because of its intense flavor, anejo is better paired with smoked dishes or savory food. Reposado is lighter in taste, making it perfect with traditional Mexican foods or even sweet dishes.
The image featured at the top of this post is ©RHJPhtotos/Shutterstock.com.