Splurge on These Summer Tequilas
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20 Splurge-Worthy Tequilas That Are Perfect for Summer Sipping

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Splurge on These Summer Tequilas
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Looking Down on Margaritaville

The uniquely aromatic spirit of tequila is on a major uptick in the United States, up 158% in sales since 2002, the Distilled Spirits Council says. That includes pricier craft and high-end tequilas aged like fine scotch or bourbons, most in seasoned oak barrels and infused with the essence of other spirits, and meant to savor and sip — not to be the base of a margarita. Part of this demand is thanks to celebrities who have dabbled in their own tequila brands, such as George Clooney (Casamigos), Sammy Hagar (Cabo Wabo, Santo Fino Blanco), Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson, Diddy (DeLeon), and Justin Timberlake (Sauza 901). It's also just about the tequila, though: a simple natural Weber blue agave juice nurtured by a centuries-old stone- and fire-wrought distillation process, using time and wood to become what connoisseurs crave. To help you decide which bottles are worth the splurge for your summer sipping, Cheapism tracked down exceptional tequilas that range in style and price, and that have earned high marks from industry experts.

Prices and availability are subject to change.

Tequila 101
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Tequila 101

The main varieties of tequila are: Blanco or Silver, a traditional, clear, younger tequila bottled immediately after distillation, set apart by an intense bouquet of the agave. Oro or Gold is silver with colorants and flavorings such as caramel, and is considered a mixer tequila. Reposado or Rested is a traditional silver tequila mellowed out from "resting" in white oak casks for two months to a year. Añejo or Aged tequila is traditional silver that's aged longer in white oak casks, usually for more than a year, and is amber in color with wood notes from the casks it rests in. Some distilleries make Extra Añejo as well, which usually aged from one to three years. Lastly, Reserva is not a variety, but premium Añejo tequila kept in oak casks for up to eight years or longer. It can be dense like a cognac or fine scotch in the complexities of the flavor profile, and is usually very expensive.

Próspero Tequila Añejo
Courtesy of Próspero

Próspero Tequila Añejo

Estimated Price: $45
Singer Rita Ora is not letting the luxury tequila train pass her by. Conecuh Brands launched Próspero, a craft tequila by Stella Anguiano, one of the first female tequila distillers, at the historic Don Roberto Distillery in Jalisco, Mexico. "Stella and her team are incredibly passionate about what they do and have given me the chance to collaborate on a project that celebrates all women," Ora says. Próspero is presented in three varietals in a chic hand-filled hexagonal bottle with labels drawn and placed by hand. Its priciest añejo was awarded a 97 by Wine Enthusiast Magazine.

Casamigos Añejo
Courtesy of casamigostequila.com

Casamigos Añejo

Estimated Price: $55
George Clooney's signature tequila, sold off in a billion-dollar deal. The small batch añejo hails from the highlands of Jalisco and is the priciest varietal. Casamigos presents as a sweeter, spicy, caramel smooth sipper with hints of vanilla. The blue agave is fermented and aged 14 months in white oak, giving a golden hue and nuanced sweeter flavors. Drinkhacker.com gave it an A-minus, and DrinkSpirits.com gave it an 86 points rating overall.

Alacran XA Tequila
Courtesy of Alacran XA

Alacran XA Tequila

Estimated Price: $60
A premium extra añejo tequila in an elegantly designed bottle — and a luxury steal at under $100. Alacran XA uses blue agave from the Los Altos highlands of Jalisco. Aged for 40 months in oak barrels that held fine bourbon, the age, body, flavor intensity, and overall quality levels bumps the cost a bit higher than Alacran's other varietals. The bottle, hand labeled and individually numbered, shows off the vibrant amber color tinged with gold hues. It's got gold medal status from The Fifty Best and was awarded Double Gold by the San Francisco World Spirits Competition in 2017.

Cazadores Extra Añejo
Courtesy of cazadores.com

Cazadores Extra Añejo

Estimated Price: $69
Cazadores Extra Añejo, aged in virgin American white oak, has a distinct Christmas spice blend: nutmeg, vanilla, hints of chocolate, and peppery spice underscored with oak, hazelnuts, toffee, and apple. The distillery uses blue agave from the Los Altos highlands and is aged three years after a double fermentation. Distiller.com gives it an 84 rating.

Volcán de Mi Tierra Tequila Cristalino Añejo
Courtesy of bodegasalianza.com

Volcán de Mi Tierra Tequila Cristalino Añejo

Estimated Price: $70
A newcomer spirit introduced by Trent Fraser, former president of Dom Perignon, with master distiller Ana María Romero Mena. Volcan de mi Tierra's blue agave is lowlands grown in volcanic soil, processed traditionally in masonry ovens, and fermented slowly in wood tanks. The añejo is aged in whisky and cognac casks, with the color extracted. Though colorless, it is truly an aged tequila. Volcan has received 10 industry awards, and Distiller.com gives it a 91 rating.

Tequila Los Tres Tonos Extra Añejo
Courtesy of oldtowntequila.com

Tequila Los Tres Tonos Extra Añejo

Estimated Price: $75
American bourbon casks age this añejo for four years into a fine golden sipping tequila. Reviewers rave about the smoothness and subtle sweetness the bourbon imparts with the agave. Sold in an artisan carafe designed for connoisseurs, Los Tres Tonos gets an 81-point rating from Tequila Matchmaker.

Tequila Fortaleza Añejo
Courtesy of tequilafortaleza.com

Tequila Fortaleza Añejo

Estimated Price: $80
A craft spirit, smooth and with strong blue agave top notes, this is tequila done right the old way, with stone juice pressing, 100-year-old wood fermentation casks, and distillation in original copper pots. The Reposado and oak-aged Añejo are finished in bourbon casks for a caramelized sweetness. The Añejo will age for three more years in American White Oak barrels, netting an amber cognac-like sipper. Whiskey fans will appreciate the hard to find Tequila Fortaleza Añejo, which has earned raves from Tequila Aficionado, Long Island Lou, and Tequila Matchmaker.

Herradura Scotch Cask Finish Reposado
Courtesy of totalwine.com

Herradura Scotch Cask Finish Reposado

Estimated Price: $89
Mixing scotch and tequila may sound odd, but Herradura pulls it off. Casks that held scotch are used in the aging process for a smoked, sherry-tinged, herbaceous, heather floral, stone-fruit twist on the usual flavor notes. Drinkhacker.com gave an A-minus to this blend from Casa Herradura, an industry innovator that introduced the reposado in 1974 and extra añejo tequila in 1995.

Milagro Tequila Select Barrel Reserve Reposado
Courtesy of caskcartel.com

Milagro Tequila Select Barrel Reserve Reposado

Estimated Price: $99
Select Barrel Reposado is a triple-distilled spirit — a drier, smoother version of the core silver tequila from Milagro Tequila with a spicy, herbaceous, peppery yet slightly vanilla layer accompanying agave from the Los Altos highlands, aged for 10 months in French oak. Tequila.net rates it at 89 points. Many reviewers note the hand-blown decanter is one to keep and upcycle.

Don Julio 1942 Añejo
Courtesy of donjulio.com

Don Julio 1942 Añejo

Estimated Price: $129
Don Julio 1942 is a smooth, honey-colored sipper aged in oak with vanilla and oak notes mixed with spice and floral notes. Sweet yet dry, spicy and delicate, Don Julio's flavors most noted by reviewers are of apples, caramel, and baked pineapple. Tequila.net gave it a 94 point rating.

Jose Cuervo Reserva de la Familia
Courtesy of reservebar.com

Jose Cuervo Reserva de la Familia

Estimated Price: $150
Well known mass-marketed brand Cuervo offers this pricey luxury pour, an extra-añejo tequila culled from its private collection. The blue agave used is harvested seven to 12 years, then aged in French and American oak barrels for a minimum of three years. Reserva de la Familia is strictly snifter material, a smooth and cognac-finished tequila that has caramel and spice notes melded to the roasted agave. Tequila.net gives it 91 points, and Distiller.com gives it a 90 rating.

Don Pilar Extra Añejo Tequila
Courtesy of donpilar.com

Don Pilar Extra Añejo Tequila

Estimated Price: $150
Don José Pilar Contreras Marquez created Extra Añejo Don Pilar, a deeply amber-hued spirit, finished for 36 months inside white American oak and aged four months more in French Limousin oak. The palate is smooth and spicy, floral, and citrusy with a strong hint of vanilla, according to most reviews. Don Pilar is made in the Highlands region of Jalisco.

Patrón Extra Añejo 7 Anos
Courtesy of patrontequila.com

Patrón Extra Añejo 7 Anos

Estimated Price: $299
Blue agave yields to an amber-hued Añejo tequila fine-tuned in French oak barrels for seven years (hence the name). Patrón makes limited quantities of this exquisite cognac-like sipping tequila given an 84 by Drinkspirits.com. It has notes of roasted agave, dried fruit, spices, and vanilla in a smooth balanced tequila with a hint of pepper finish.

Casa Dragones Tequila Joven
Courtesy of caskcartel.com

Casa Dragones Tequila Joven

Estimated Price: $299
Casa Dragones is blue agave processed the old way, despite its "young" name, as tequila expert Bertha González Nieves was called upon to create a perfect sipping tequila. Joven is both an unaged spirit and an extra-aged spirit matured for five years in new American oak barrels, then charcoal-filtered for extra smoothness and a colorless presentation. Smooth from barrel aging with a full, complex palate, Tequila Joven has distinct notes of spices and vanilla, reviewers say. Distiller.com gives it a 91 rating.

Herradura Seleccion Suprema Extra Añejo Tequila
Courtesy of bodegasalianza.com

Herradura Seleccion Suprema Extra Añejo Tequila

Estimated Price: $375
Herradura Seleccion Suprema Extra Añejo Tequila uses blue agave cooked for more than 24 hours in classic stone ovens, crushed, and fermented up to seven days before distillation and maturation over four years in white oak bourbon casks, yielding a deep color and complex bouquet of spices, vanilla, citrus, and floral notes. This creamy sipping experience nets awards including the 2012 Gold Medal at the San Francisco World Spirits Competition.

Don Julio Real Tequila Extra Añejo
Courtesy of stbarthswine.com

Don Julio Real Tequila Extra Añejo

Estimated Price: $375
Don Julio Gonzalez Real Tequila Extra Añejo is aged three to five years in American white-oak bourbon barrels for a golden spirit. The tasting notes most mentioned are chocolate, vanilla, caramel, and almond. Distiler.com gives it 4.5 stars out of 5, and the decanter is a beauty with embracing silver agave leaves.

Tres, Quatro y Cinco Extra Añejo Tequila
Courtesy of haas-brothers.com

Tres, Quatro y Cinco Extra Añejo Tequila

Estimated Price: $399
Made by master distiller Enrique Fonseca, this is a blend of 30% three-year, 40% four-year, and 30% five-year tequilas coaxed to perfection in French oak barrels and packaged in premium crystal decanters by Mexican artist Alonso Gonzalez Jr. Notes of butterscotch, spice, vanilla, and caramel define this premium sipper. Tequilareviews.com gives is a 90.8 rating.

Gran Patrón Piedra
Courtesy of patrontequila.com

Gran Patrón Piedra

Estimated Price: $399
Another exceptional high-end spirit from Patrón, Gran Piedra is presented in an elegant crystal decanter with a volcanic stone and cork-finished closure. The agave, hailing from the highlands of Jalisco, is steam cooked and crushed with a two-ton tahona, the traditional volcanic stone wheel, to extract the juice. Notes of vanilla, oak, spices, and florals makes a smooth sipper highly rated across the board.

Gran Patrón Burdeos
Courtesy of patrontequila.com

Gran Patrón Burdeos

Estimated Price: $475
Decadent and deep amber in hue, Gran Patrón Burdeos is a small batch-crafted marvel made in limited quantities from 100% highland grown blue agave. Twice distilled and aged inside American and then French oak barrels, then set to rest in vintage Bordeaux wine barrels that deliver the deeper color, notes of fruit, raisin, fig, and vanilla make it like a dessert cognac. Tequila.net gives it a 94 point score.

Clase Azul Ultra Extra Anejo Tequila
Courtesy of melandrose.com

Clase Azul Ultra Extra Anejo Tequila

Estimated Price: $1,500
Hit the lottery? The "King of the Family" is Clase Azul Ultra, an Extra Añejo, considered the best of all the Clase tequila family. This "ultra" tequila is produced in limited quantities and is the holy grail for the die-hard tequila lover — and collector of stunning handcrafted ceramic decanters. The flavor is intense, with a cognac finish on the tongue, thanks to being aged in oloroso sherry casks from Spain that impart their magic on this well-aged amber pour.