Reposado vs. Blanco: What's The Difference?
The infamous bottles line the walls of your favorite bars and the shelves of your local liquor stores. You may have even thrown back a shot or two of the stuff before stepping on stage at the karaoke bar.
Tequila is everywhere, and the demand within the U.S. for this Mexican liquor is only growing. Some experts think tequila could soon surpass vodka as America’s spirit of choice.1
But there’s more to tequila than Jell-O shots and margaritas. As collector interest in high-end bottles grows, now’s a good time to brush up on your knowledge of the agave-based spirit and two of its most popular varieties, tequila Blanco, and reposado.
If you’re wondering about the differences between reposado vs. Blanco tequila, then you’re in the right place. Break out your nicest cocktail glassware, because we’re going through a taste-test of each so we can break down the distinctions.
Soon enough, you’ll be a catadore (or expert taster, as they say in Spanish). ¡Salud!
First, What is Tequila?
Picture the mountainous terrain of Jalisco, a state within Mexico about thirty miles from the city of Guadalajara. (You didn’t think there’d be a geography lesson, did you?) This area is home to the blue agave plant, a rugged succulent noted for its spiky leaves. How is tequila made you may ask? Tequila is made when the heart of the agave plant is steamed, pressed, and distilled in bourbon barrels.
There are five basic types of tequila, each distinguished by how long it’s aged. These are:
- Extra añejo
Budding aficionados can study up on the other varieties; here, we’ll limit our discussion to tequila Blanco vs reposado, the two you’re most likely to come across on a cocktail menu or in a mixed drink recipe.
Blanco Tequila: Forever Young
Also sometimes known as silver tequila, Blanco tequila is aged for just up to 60 days—if at all—and bottled within two months. Clear in color, it’s typically defined by its grassy aromas, vegetal-forward flavor, and notes of vanilla, pepper, or mineral. You can sip Blanco tequila, but we think it may be at its best when blended into margaritas, Palomas, and other citrusy mixed drinks.
In the world of wine and spirits, age can be synonymous with quality, but that’s not necessarily the case with Blanco tequila. While reposado tequilas have time to develop more complex flavors in the wood barrel, Blanco tequila can’t hide behind powerful wood or vanilla notes.
If you’re familiar with brands like Casamigos and Espolon, you may have noticed a pleasing sweetness and crisp taste that sets Blanco varieties apart from their older reposado cousins.
Other notes you might try to pick out include:
- Dried herbs
The bottom line? Look for a silver tequila with a clear color, clean taste, and smooth finish to enjoy on its own or in your favorite tequila cocktail.
Reposado Tequila: The Mature One
There’s a popular saying that anything worth having takes time, and this is especially true when it comes to reposado tequila. What is reposado tequila? This variety includes any tequila that is aged—or rested if you prefer since reposado roughly translates to restful—for more than sixty days but less than a year.2 In addition to a light golden or caramel color, the aging process results in distinct flavor palettes, encompassing notes such as:
Reposado tequila is often aged in bourbon barrels previously used to distill cognac, sherry, or wine, which can lend other accents to its profile. This is one reason why it imparts such a pleasing taste when used in lieu of bourbon, whiskey, or gin in cocktails such as:
- Old fashioned
- Mexican mules
Since we knew you’d ask—yes, you can use reposado in margaritas. That said, be sure to give tequila reposado a try sans salt, lime, and sugar. Thanks to its robust flavors, tequila reposado offers a great starting point for those looking to refine their palates.
How Much Should I Spend on a Bottle of Tequila?
As a budding expert on reposado and Blanco tequilas, you’re probably looking to add a nice bottle to your at-home bar. So how much should you expect to shell out?
While experienced collectors may drop thousands of dollars on a hard-to-find bottle, there’s plenty of brands redefining excellence well within the thirty to fifty-dollar benchmark. This is a great place to get started since you’ll be able to afford more varieties without depleting your wallet.
The best guidance we can give is to first consider your needs. If you’d like a nice, crisp Blanco to blend into a classic margarita, don’t break the bank on a $200 Blanco. If you’re looking for a reposado to sip on special occasions, it’s okay to spend a little more.
Just keep in mind the cardinal sin and never, ever shoot the pricey stuff.
Become a Tequila Maestro with Barbank
Ready to set out on your tequila journey? No need to leave your home for this journey, as we’re here to act as your sherpa.
Here at Barbank, we deliver high-quality, premium tequila straight to your door with our online liquor delivery services, so you can become the catadore you were born to be. We have tequilas stocked at all price points, allowing you to try the many exquisite flavors this brand of alcohol has to offer.
Cheers, salud, kanpai, and more—with Barbank in your glass.
- CNBC. Tequila could overtake vodka as America’s favorite liquor as sales boom. https://www.cnbc.com/2022/02/05/tequila-could-overtake-vodka-as-americas-top-liquor-as-sales-boom.html
- Inside. The 5 types of tequila: How they taste and how to enjoy them. https://www.insider.com/guides/kitchen/types-of-tequila