Classes of TequilaThe age of the tequila:
There are five registered age classifications for tequila which have been defined and are enforced by the Consejo Regulador del Tequila.
These five classes defined the “age” of the Tequila.
1. Tequila – Blanco (sometimes referred to as Platinum, Silver, Plata or White);
2. Tequila Joven (most US owned brands refer to this as Gold, in Mexico as Oro);
3. Reposado (Aged);
4. Añejo (Extra aged);
5. Extra Añejo (Ultra-aged).
Tequila Blanco (Platinum, Silver, Plata or White)
This is tequila in its purest form. It is clear and typically un-aged, where the true flavors and the intensity of the agave are present, as well as the natural sweetness. It is usually bottled directly after distillation, but can also be stored in stainless steel tanks to settle for up to 4 weeks. There are some Blanco products that are aged for up to 2 months to provide a smoother or "Suave" spirit.
Tequila Joven (Gold, Oro)
Joven or Gold Tequila is typically a Mixto, where colorants and flavorings have been added prior to bottling. These "young and adulterated" Tequilas are less expensive and used in many bars and restaurants for "mixed drinks".
There are exceptions however, as a "Gold" or "Joven" Tequila can also be the result of blending a Silver Tequila with a Reposado and/or Añejo Tequila, while keeping the 100% Agave classification.
Tequila Reposado (aged)
A Reposado Tequila is the first stage of "rested and aged". The Tequila is aged in wood barrels or storage tanks between 2 months and 11 months. The spirit takes on a golden hue from the wood and the taste becomes a good balance between the Agave and wood flavors. Many different types of wood barrels are used for aging, with the most common being American or French oak. Some Tequilas are aged in used bourbon / whiskey, cognac, or wine barrels, and will inherit unique flavors from the previous spirit.
Tequila Añejo (extra aged)
After aging for at least one year, Tequila can then be classified as an "Añejo". The distillers are required to age Añejo Tequila in barrels that do not exceed 600 liters. This aging process darkens the Tequila to an Amber color, and the flavor can become smoother, richer, and more complex.
Tequila Extra Añejo (ultra aged)
A new classification added in the summer of 2006, labeling any Tequila aged more than 3 years, an "Extra Añejo". Following the same rule as an "Añejo", the distillers must age the spirit in barrels or containers with a maximum capacity of 600 liters. With this extended amount of aging, the Tequila becomes much darker, more of a Mahogany color, and is so rich that it becomes difficult to distinguish it from other quality aged spirits. After the aging process, the alcohol content must be diluted by adding distilled water. These Extra Añejo’s are extremely smooth and complex.
There are some other types of Tequila spirits you can find on the market include Tequila Liqueurs, Tequila infused Beers, Tequila Cremes, Tequila Infusions, Flavored Tequilas, and Tequila soft drinks. Many of these products are used in specialty cocktails, restaurant dishes and desserts. Mixto Tequila is standard for most liqueurs and flavored products, but it is best to check the label and look for "Made with 100% Agave Tequila".
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