Blue Agave Tequila

Written by Stacy Chbosky
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100 percent blue agave tequila is one of the finest spirits in the world. Although tequila is often unfairly regarded as one of the more aggressive alcoholic beverages out there, the truth is, good tequila is considered one of the best liquors in the world. Unlike many other spirits, blue agave tequila is highly nuanced. Like a fine wine, it reveals different layers and complexities of taste with each sip.

What Makes Blue Agave Tequila Different?

When a Mexican tequila is described as 100 percent blue agave tequila, this means it is completely pure. 100 percent pure blue agave is always advertised as such. If a bottle simply reads tequila, this means it is a mixture, or mixto, of pure tequila, and inferior sugars. The higher the percentage of sugar, the lower the quality of the spirit.

All tequila is derived from the blue agave plant, which is a member of the lily family, rather than the cactus family, as is commonly supposed. The blue agave grows best in the Jalisco state of Mexico, although five different Mexican states enjoy the right to produce the spirit known as tequila. Not every Mexican state enjoys this distinction. Furthermore, no country outside of Mexico is allowed to produce a spirit that they call tequila. Tequila, like champagne, is a protected name.

There are many types of tequila, differentiated by the length of time they age. Blanco tequila has not been aged at all; reposado has aged from two months to a year; anejo has aged for over one year. Tequila ages in wooden barrels, usually for no longer than four years. Aging is a difficult balance. While aging the spirit in an oak barrel imparts smoothness, a golden color, and a pleasantly oaky taste, it also obscures the distinctive taste of the agave.

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