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Reposado vs Blanco Tequila: What’s the Difference? (2022)

Last Updated on September 14, 2022 by Lydia Martin

If you’ve ever come across tequila bottles, you’ve probably noticed that the labels identify themselves as “blanco,” “reposado,” and “añejo” tequila. This can be confusing if you’re out to buy tequila but unsure which one to pick. 

What exactly is the difference between these tequilas? We’ll look at reposado vs blanco today and tell you everything there is to know about them. 

Blanco & Reposado Tequila Compared

Blanco & Reposado Tequila on desk

While blanco and reposado are both tequilas, they have very different flavors, mouthfeels, and finishes. This is because tequila reposado is aged, while tequila blanco is bottled right after distillation. 

You can probably tell which is which by simply eyeing the spirit: reposados have a slight amber hue, which they’ve picked up from barrel aging.

On the other hand, blancos are clear and transparent, like vodka and gin. 

The aging process gives both spirits vastly different profiles, with reposados being richer and deeper and blancos having a unique flavor of grassy agaves. 

Key Differences 

Key Differences 

How It’s Made

Production & Distillation

Both reposado and blanco are distilled from sugars of blue agaves. The agaves are first cooked and mashed, and their sugars are fermented by natural yeast. The yeast helps the sugars turn into alcohol. 

The alcohol is then transported to a pot still, usually made from copper or stainless steel. Tequila distilled inside copper pot stills tends to be more rustic, while those distilled in stainless-steel pot stills are cleaner and more refined. [1

Maturation Process

Maturation Process

While the fermentation and distillation processes remain similar for the two types of tequila, where they differ is their maturation process. 

Tequila reposado is rested for at least 2 to 12 months inside barrels, hence its name. This spirit can also be aged inside ex-bourbon, Cognac, wine, or sherry casks, which can impart other flavors to the spirit.

While the tequila ages, it also picks up the color of the wood barrel, which is why reposados have a golden or amber hue. 

On the other hand, blanco, otherwise known as “silver” or “plata,” is aged immediately after it’s distilled (although some brands do age theirs for no more than two months).

This white tequila is citrusy and grassy, which makes it perfect for tequila-forward cocktails like Palomas and Margaritas. [2

Raw Materials

Both reposado and blanco are tequila classifications, meaning they are both distilled from the blue agave plant native to Jalisco, Mexico.

The blue agave is a type of agave grown and harvested specifically for the tequila industry. 

Alcohol Content

Alcohol Content

The agave spirit has to be bottled for at least 80 to 100 proof, or 40 to 50 percent ABV. 

Age Statement

Tequila reposado has to rest inside American oak barrels for anywhere from 2 to 12 months. 

On the other hand, blancos are usually unaged, but some versions of this style can rest for no more than 60 days. Stainless steel tanks are used to allow the spirit to oxidize. 

Tasting Notes

Tasting Notes:

Reposado 

  • Palate: It is usually richer than blanco and has a more complex flavor of baking spices, vanilla, and caramel.  
  • Nose: It is warmer on the nose, with hints of honey, citrus, and grassy agaves. 
  • Color: It has a golden or amber hue from aging inside the oak barrel. 
  • Finish: It has a silky smooth finish that has more emphasis on spicy caramel and vanilla notes. 

Blanco

  • Palate: It is fondly called “the purest form of tequila.” It is characterized by its bright and punchy blue agave flavors, with no extra ingredients or aging process to mask the original taste. 
  • Nose: Blanco tequila has a citrusy and grassy blue agave flavor, with notes of spicy black pepper. 
  • Color: Blancos are clear and transparent, much like gin or vodka. 
  • Finish: Blanco tequila has a spicy, grassy finish, perfect for drinking in shots or mixing into cocktails.

Cocktail Drinks

Cocktail Drinks on table

Choosing the right classification of tequila is an integral step to creating fantastic cocktails.

Since reposados and blancos have vastly different profiles, it’s important to know which spirits and mixers mesh well together, so you don’t end up with an upsetting drink. 

Tequila blanco is generally used in bright cocktail drinks, like the Margarita or Paloma. It has a light, citrusy flavor profile that won’t clash with the fruit juices you decide to use. But which Blanco tequila brand is best for Margaritas?

On the other hand, reposado tequila is better in drinks with more depth. This type of tequila is often used to replace bourbon or whiskey in cocktails, such as a Tequila Old Fashioned or Manhattan

Price & Value 

Blancos are the most inexpensive tequila type because they aren’t aged. You can get a 750ml bottle of 1800 Silver Tequila at roughly $26. 

Conversely, reposado is more expensive because it is aged tequila. A 750ml bottle of Patron Reposado costs around $56. 

FAQs 

Is Blanco or reposado better for shots? 

Blanco is better for shots because it’s more inexpensive. If you are drinking something fast, like in shots, it’s better not to use expensive bottles. On the other hand, reposado is better sipped slowly and savored. 

Can you mix reposado and Blanco?

Yes, you can mix reposado and blanco together. This blend actually calls for another classification of tequila called joven. 

Which is better for sipping, Blanco or reposado?

We find that reposado is a better sipping tequila than blanco. The aging process inside gives it more mellow flavors of oak and vanilla, perfect for sipping neat or on the rocks.

On the other hand, tequila blanco is straight up citrusy and grassy from the blue agaves. 

Final Thoughts

When talking about reposado and blanco tequilas, their main difference is that the former has spent some time resting. This resting period gives the spirit more depth and nuance and ultimately makes it the better option for sipping. 

On the other hand, blanco tequilas, otherwise known as “plato” or “silver,” are bottled directly after distillation.

However, some variations do rest theirs for no more than two months inside stainless-steel tanks. Blanco is the best tequila for shots or mixing into fruity cocktail drinks. 

References: 

  1. https://www.britannica.com/topic/distilled-spirit/Distillation#ref137273 
  2. https://www.bonappetit.com/recipe/paloma

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