Liquor Laboratory

Does Aging Tequila Make It Smoother? Explained (2024)

Does Aging Tequila Make It Smoother

Have you ever taken a moment to marvel at the remarkable smoothness of your tequila? Well, I certainly have with my recently bought Extra Añejo. 

I’ve always been the type to go for Blanco tequila when whipping up cocktails. Its clean, crisp taste is the perfect foundation for Margaritas and Palomas. 

But my new tequila bottle has got me thinking: Does aging tequila make it smoother? Or is it merely a clever marketing ploy?

Does Aging Tequila Make It Smoother?

Bottle and a Glass of Tequila

Absolutely! Aging tequila in a barrel can smoothen and transform its profile, bringing out unexpected nuances and flavor combinations.

“Tequila is one of the oldest spirits in the world. There’s so much tradition that goes into it. There are processes that have passed down for generations.” – Uduimoh Umolu, President of Jon Basil Tequila

Blanco tequila is aged within two months, while Reposado tequila can go through barrel-aging for over two months but less than a year. 

Moreover, Añejo may take more than a year but less than three years, and Extra Añejo for more than three years. The last two are suitable substitutes for whiskey in an Old Fashioned cocktail.

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What Does Aging Do To Tequila?

Aging imparts flavors like vanilla, caramel, and even hints of spice to tequilas. It also smoothens the liquor, similar to how it works in whiskey and brandy.

An Extra Añejo, introduced in 2006, captivates even bourbon fans. The most commonly used barrel types for aging an Extra Añejo are French oak (Limousin oak) and American oak barrels [1]

How Tequilas Are Aged

Stacked of Tequila Wooden Barrel

A tequila is aged differently depending on its type, from Blanco to Extra Añejo. The distiller can choose which barrel to use for the aging and finishing process, such as French oak (Limousin oak) and American oak barrels. 

The oaks are used to impart different flavor combinations for the distilled spirit. But unlike whiskey, tequilas usually undergo maturation for only up to 10 to 11 years. But will tequila make you horny?

What’s The Smoothest Tequila Type?

The smoothest tequilas are Añejo and Extra Añejo because of their longer barrel-aging process. These two are my go-to choice for luxurious sipping as they have adapted unexpected nuances and flavors from the barrel.

Another type of tequila called Cristalino also has a smooth profile. It is a blend of aged tequila like Extra Añejo and Reposado tequila, but it has gone through a filtering process to remove its color and flavors. 

How Long Does It Need To Be Aged?

Wooden Barrel

Tequilas do not take long to undergo maturation, unlike whiskey, because of the climate. Since Mexico has a hotter climate, tequilas only age about two to three years to reach their optimal potential [2]

Añejo undergoes maturation inside that time frame, while Extra Añejo needs more than three years to obtain that label.

What Makes This Spirit Higher Quality?

The agave used in tequilas is what really makes the spirits higher quality. Similar to other types of liquor like whiskey and brandy, tequilas also need premium ingredients to ensure a premium-quality product. 

“Aging tequilas isn’t just a matter of time; it’s an art form that requires skill, passion, and a deep understanding to achieve the exact right notes of the spirit.” – Liquor Laboratory 

The best tequilas use 100% agave, ensuring a purer and more authentic profile. Add to that careful distillation, precise aging, and high-quality barrels; you’ve got the recipe for a higher-quality spirit. But will tequila go bad?


Can you drink 50-year-old tequila?

No, you can not drink 50-year-old tequilas because tequilas do not undergo maturation for such an extended period. The oldest tequila is an Extra Añejo, aged for over three years.
Some tequilas have also released limited and special editions of Extra Añejo, which are around 10 to 11 years old.

Is longer-aged tequila better?

No, longer-aged tequilas do not necessarily mean that they are better. Extra Añejo will start to be overpowered by the barrel flavors and lose its agave notes in about three to five years. So Extra Añejo is best aged only around five years. 

What is aging tequila?

Aging tequila refers to the process of storing the distilled spirit in barrels for a certain period. During this time, the tequila interacts with the wood of the barrel, absorbing flavors and characteristics that enhance its taste.

How does aging affect the taste of tequila?

Aging can significantly impact the taste of tequila. It can soften harsh flavors, round out the edges, and impart complex notes such as vanilla, caramel, and spice. The longer tequila is aged, the more pronounced these flavors become.

What are the different types of aged tequila?

There are three main categories of aged tequila: Blanco (unaged or “silver”), Reposado (aged for a minimum of two months but less than a year), and Añejo (aged for a minimum of one year but less than three years). Additionally, there is Extra Añejo, which is aged for three years or more.

Does aging tequila make it smoother?

Yes, aging tequila generally makes it smoother. The aging process allows the harshness of the alcohol to mellow and the flavors to integrate more fully, resulting in a smoother and more enjoyable drinking experience.

What type of barrels are used for aging tequila?

Tequila is typically aged in oak barrels, although the specific type of oak and any previous contents of the barrel can influence the final flavor profile. Common types of barrels include American oak and French oak, each imparting distinct flavors to the tequila.

Can aging tequila improve its quality?

Aging tequila can enhance its quality by adding depth and complexity to its flavor profile. However, the quality of the tequila before aging, as well as the skill of the distiller and the conditions in which it is aged, also play significant roles.

Is older tequila always better?

Not necessarily. While aging can improve the taste of many tequilas, personal preference also plays a role. Some people prefer the brighter, fresher flavors of younger tequilas, while others enjoy the richness and complexity that comes with age.

Are there any downsides to aging tequila?

One potential downside to aging tequila is that it can become over-oaked if left in the barrel for too long. This can result in an overly woody or bitter taste that detracts from the overall drinking experience. Additionally, longer aging periods can increase the cost of the tequila.

Should aged tequila be consumed differently than unaged tequila?

While there are no hard and fast rules, aged tequilas are often sipped and savored neat or on the rocks to fully appreciate their complex flavors. They can also be enjoyed in cocktails, where their nuanced taste adds depth and sophistication to the drink.

Does aging tequila change its color?

Yes, aging tequila in oak barrels can impart a golden or amber hue to the spirit. The longer it is aged, the deeper the color becomes, as it absorbs pigments from the wood.

On A Final Note

Like whiskey, tequilas matures in oak barrels and interacts with the wood, absorbing subtle flavors and aromas. This process not only mellows out the sharp edges of tequila but also adds complexity and depth until it achieves the exact right notes and combinations. 

Extra Añejo and the Cristalino may have the smoothest tequila because of the more extended aging experience. The tequilas can be whiskey replacements for an Old Fashioned cocktail.

For a better drinking experience, always check the label and see if your new tequila is made of 100% agave. 


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