In order to best understand tequila we selected 22 blanco tequila brands and run them through a blind tasting. We recorded the full blind tasting on uStream for anyone that’s interested in an 85-minute rundown of the collection. We also used a checklist for tasting which you can find here:
From here we got down to business running through the 22 selections of blanco tequilas which included (in shortened name): Hornitos, Cabo Wabo, 901, Paqui, Cielo, Tres Generaciones, Espolon, Corzo, Cavalino, Milagro, Partida, Don Julio, Alma, Republic, Riazul, Piedra Azul, Kah, Dos Lunas, El Gran Jubileo, Señor Rio, 1800 and Avion. From this list of brands we got to work tasting and here are the top four selections that you need to buy:
We than scored them based on a range of 0.0-15.0 with 15 being perfect. The decimal is significant because, out of the three tasters, each one was collected on a 15-point scale and averaged (divided by 3). This leaves our top contenders only slight decimal points apart!
Tasting Notes: Alma brought some great cotton candy like aroma and nose which is also reflected within the taste themselves. The overall flavor profile has a “red hots” like spicy cinnamon profile. Good pepper, cinnamon candy that makes it from the start and into the finish.
Final thoughts: The bottle design is rock solid and creative, yet a bit hard to pour from when trying to build a cocktail. The overall quality of the product is top notch and Alma de Agave Blanco came in as the cheapest of the top four in our blind tasting. The downfall I see with Alma is being able to find it local to your own market. I did happen to see it at a bar in New York City last week, but the stores online that carry it aren’t ones I’ve purchased from before so I’m not 100% confident on all their customer service and shipping abilities.
Price Range: $30 – $38.99
Tied #3: Riazul Blanco
Tasting Notes: While the nose doesn’t bring any huge excitement, the taste definitely does. Look for the subtle coco flavor with mingling white chocolate and a tad bit of sweetness in this blanco. Lovely silky smooth flavor profile with white chocolate finish. Exciting flavors that will continue to build as you sip.
Final Thoughts: Riazul brings something new to the scene with their blanco, a creative twist to a traditional recipe. While other brands may stick to a more finite refined “agave” flavor, Riazul takes it to a new dimension which may bring a whole new audience into the fold. However, since it does have that unique flavor, those seeking a traditional tequila profile to get started may find this one a bit over the ordinary (in a good way) which may skew your future tequila tastings with other brands. I urge you to take a taste test of their añejo product line as Riazul brings the most amazing aged tequila.
Price Range: $44 – $46
Tasting Notes: Great flavor profile with notes of pine, tabacco, white pepper kick with other mixed spicy flavors that would pair well with a mexican dish. This tequila may go great in a cocktail or maybe even on ice paired with a burrito or cheese enchiladas. Very stereotypical tequila flavor with spice kick and agave focus.
Final Thoughts: Tres Generaciones Plata is as close to the most traditional flavor of tequila that we have had, and we’ve had a few! If you’re looking to answer the question, “what should a blanco tequila taste like” you’ll find Tres Generaciones Plata on the top of that list (at least ours!) The great balance of aroma and flavor profile make this tequila a well-rounded selection for any home bar or tequila party.
Price Range: $40 – $49.99
#1: Cabo Wabo Blanco
Tasting Notes: Great balance from the mildly sweet aroma to a mild sweet “brown sugar” note and a tongue tingling flavor profile. Crisp, clean finish with beautiful flavor that doesn’t bring a burn. While it doesn’t bring the most intense agave action to the palate, it goes well above and beyond the neutral based vodka-like flavor of other competitors. Would go great in a margarita!
Final Thoughts: This was a true surprise as cabo wabo’s original spokesperson, Sammy Hagar was the person to bring this to market. We’ve noticed many brands try to compensate flavor with stardom and celebrity and that can be the downfall to a brand in the eyes of a spirit enthusiast. Not so with Cabo Wabo Blanco which, in a blind tasting, ranks #1 across all 22 brands we tasted. Take this a step further, Cabo Wabo Blanco is not the most expensive out of the 22 that we went through (Partida probably would be one of the higher end on our scale). Cabo Wabo Blanco is the selection we believe will fit best in a cocktail as it brings a mild sweetness and overall palatability that will be acceptable to a wider audience; Riazul and Alma bring unique flavors that tip the scale and Tres Generaciones brings more tequila heritage where Cabo fits right in the middle for the broadest audience without getting “crazy” on the flavor.
Price Range: $34 – $41.99
Where did all the others land? Here are a few of the rankings for the “runners up” and a bit about each so you can make an informed decision on what to try next as each will give new and exciting experiences beyond what our top-4 will bring. In order to not be cruel to every brand with lower than expected ratings, if they’re not in this list, they’re not worth discussing.
El Gran Jubileo Blanco (8.0/15): Rye bread aroma, with a rubber-like flavor profile without too much burn in the muted finish.
1800 Silver (8.0/15): Southern corn moonshine profile with a malty aroma; cinnamon “big red” flavor and a pomegranate/fruit finish.
PaQui (9.0/15): Pepper and fruit aroma, hints of leather, spicy black pepper with a pretty intensely alcohol finish.
Señor Rio Silver Blanco (9.0/15): Brine water aroma, vermouth and savory like flavors with a really nice finish. Salty flavor may be a turn-off to some people.
Cavalino Blanco (9.3/15): Cotton candy aroma, well balanced flavor and a crisp finish that doesn’t bring too much alcohol. Solid margarita tequila.
Partida Blanco (9.6/15): Neutral aroma, interesting earthy flavor, zesty orange and a great finish, could use some aging. Aroma dinged the points on this one.
Don Julio Silver (9.6/15): Butterscotch, caramel and peppermint, mango with a candy aroma. A lot going on which takes awhile to piece together; sharp bite and tongue tingling action.
There you have it, if you’re in the market for a few good tequila’s this is our master list of those you should hunt down and try with a bit of notes for each; what do you get in the tequila notes? Let us know. What’s your favorite tequila and why? Have you tried it blind?
There are many brands on our list we wanted to see make our top-4 because we know many folks are proud of their brand and the history behind it. In some other blind tastings, they might rocket to the top but for our taste profiles these are the top out of our selection. Next time you want an unbiased review of your favorite tequila, shake things up with a blind tasting and see if you pick your winner or come out surprised like we did.