July 24th is National Tequila Day. We have a lot of tequila recipes below. But today there’s something different for serious tequila fans: the role of barrels in tequila aging in the flavor of tequila.
The tips are from Alec and Ana Tesa, of Eleven20 Tequila. Eleven20 is an award-winning tequila crafted with traditional distilling techniques and a passion for excellence.
> Here’s the history of tequila.
> There are five expressions, or types, of tequila. Can you name them? And what’s the deal with the worm?
> Tequila trivia.
> Non-cocktail ways to use tequila.
> Tequila cupcakes.
> 30+ tequila cocktail recipes.
THE SCOOP ON BARRELS
The type of barrel used in tequila aging plays a crucial role in shaping the flavor profile of the final product. Common barrel types include oak, bourbon, and wine barrels.
The combination of barrel type and aging length provides tequila producers with the ability to create a wide range of flavor profiles. It enables producers to cater to different preferences and tastes.
Oak barrels are the most commonly used type in tequila aging due to their particular characteristics. They provide flavors such as vanilla, caramel, and spice while allowing the tequila to breathe and develop complexity.
Bourbon barrels, which are made from charred American oak, can contribute distinct flavors like char, smoke, and sweetness to tequila during aging.
Wine barrels, especially those previously used for aging red wine, can impart fruity and tannic notes to tequila, adding layers of complexity to the flavor profile.
Type Of Barrels
The length of aging in barrels significantly affects the flavor development of tequila.
Tequilas labeled as “blanco” (white) or “silver” are typically unaged or aged for a short period, resulting in a fresher, agave-forward taste.
“Reposado” tequilas are aged for a minimum of two months but less than a year. This aging period allows the tequila to acquire some oak characteristics, including a smoother and more mellow flavor.
“Añejo” tequilas undergo longer aging, typically between one to three years. This extended period in barrels imparts richer, deeper flavors with prominent oak influence, such as caramel, chocolate, and toasted notes.
“Extra añejo” tequilas are aged for over three years, resulting in the most complex and refined flavor profiles. These tequilas exhibit an intense oak character, with flavors similar to aged spirits like whiskey or cognac.
It’s worth noting that the impact of barrels on tequila flavor is not solely determined by the type and length of aging.
Factors like the previous contents of the barrel, barrel size, and environmental conditions during aging also contribute to the final flavor outcome.
Now, when you sip a glass of tequila and note the flavors of caramel, spice, smoke, etc., you know where they come from.
GET YOUR TEQUILA
Head to Eleven20Tequila.com.
In addition to 750 ml bottles, there’s a tasting kit with three 200 ml bottles: Blanco, Reposado & Anejo. It’s a great gift for tequila fans.
ABOUT ELEVEN 20 TEQUILA
Eleven20 Tequila is an award-winning tequila crafted with traditional distilling techniques and a passion for excellence. Founded by a husband-and-wife team, the brand uses only premium blue agave sourced from producers in the region.
The tequila is 100% artisanal, all-natural blue agave. It delivers notes that are smooth, a bit sweet, and with hints of spice.
Through its commitment to quality, Eleven20 Tequila has become recognized as an innovator of flavor and aromas. Its signature blend being celebrated by mixologists and connoisseurs alike.
The name “Eleven” represents the founders, Alec & Ana (“a” is the first letter of the alphabet, and the team conceived it as 1 and 1, expressed as 11).
The “20” represents their team of 20 family members who operate a second-generation master distillery in historic Jalisco, Mexico.
 Eleven 20’s blanco tequila (all photos © Eleven20 Tequila).
 A shot of blanco.
 A shot of añejo aged tequila.
 The most popular tequila cocktail is a Margarita (this one is a frozen Margarita).
 The agave plant grows tall. Tequila is made from the central core underneath, called the heart, which looks like a pineapple and is called a piña.