With so many brands to choose from, it is important to know about their different production processes, company values, and what kind of tequila they have to offer. Although production methods can differ, most high-end tequila companies use traditional methods of processing. This includes many steps, starting with picking the highest-quality sourced agave. Afterward, the agaves are cooked (typically in stone ovens) to convert their starches into sugars. Then comes the extraction process, distillation, and fermentation, cooking, and filtration, then aging, blending, and bottling. The traditional tequila-making process is laborious, artisanal, and can be quite complicated. Though, it is worth it when the result is a beautiful bottle of tequila. The aging process is a crucial part of tequila creation, as it gives the bottle its unique and distinct flavor.
Here are ten of the most well-respected and reliable tequila companies. Each with their own story, method of creation, and tasteful collections of sipping tequila.
Although it’s been around for less than a decade, Casamigos quickly became the luxury tequila of choice for many discerning drinkers. Prince Harry and Meghan Markle even served it at their wedding after-party. Of course, it helps that its founders are George Clooney and Rande Gerber, but A-list owners alone don’t make a luxury tequila. All of the bottles – blanco, reposado, añejo, and mezcal – come from the highlands of Jalisco.
Clase Azul is instantly recognizable due to its gorgeous ceramic bottles. Artists hand-paint and hand-sculpt the casing in Santa Marina Canchesda. Each bottle of Clase Azul tequila ages for a minimum of eight months in small oak barrels, which impart its signature flavor. Sip it neat or on the rocks.
Although it’s hard to believe, aged luxury tequila wasn’t always available in the US. In the 1990s, Qui’s founder, Medhat, set out to change that. His production follows traditional methods, and but uses a proprietary method to filter and refine its extra-añejo tequilas. It makes two tequilas, the world’s first platinum extra añejo tequila and a rare extra añejo tequila. The platinum extra-añejo ages for over three and a half years in American whiskey and French Bordeaux barrels. The extra añejo tequila ages for a staggering 12 years in Tennessee whiskey and French Bordeaux casks. The long aging periods and special filtration make these some of the most complex and smooth luxury tequilas on the market.
Casa Dragones is one of the first ultra-premium sipping tequilas. It was founded by Bertha González Nieve, the first woman to be called a Maestra Tequilera by the Academia Mexicana de Catadores de Tequila. Crafted from 100% blue agave, it offers three types of luxury tequila: blanco, añejo, and joven. The joven tequila is quite unusual. This small-batch tequila blends a silver and extra-aged tequila, matured in new American oak barrels. To properly enjoy, use a Reidel Overture Tequila glass, designed specifically for professional tequila tasting.
Supremo Tequila is a family recipe, handed down from generation to generation. It was created in 1840 by one of the first Casa Tequileras, the Ruiz Family and started as simply being shared during events with close family and friends. Since then, it has become a flourishing and premium Tequila company specializing in Extra Añejo, meaning the aging process is lengthier than that of a classic Añejo. The Extra Añejo Tesoro Edition for $99.99 rests in American Oak barrels for 48 months and then in Port casks, while their Black Edition for $119.99 ages an additional 48 months in old distillery wooden tanks. Both bottles are smooth and easy to sip, as well as sweet with distinct aromas and flavors of cooked agave.
Tequila Herradura recently celebrated 150 years of Tequila Making, as this company dates all the way back to 1870. Located at Hacienda San Jose del Refugio, it is the last tequila-producing Hacienda in the world. Herradura is responsible for creating the first-ever Reposado and Extra Añejo tequila. Using the finest 100% blue agave that is then naturally fermented and matured for 14 months, Herradura Tequila doesn’t cut any corners. It offers a range of various types of Tequila, all with its own unique flavor and tone. The finest expression they market is the Selección Suprema de Herradura – the very first Extra Añejo Expression in the world. It rests for 49 months in American white oak barrels until it ages to perfection.
Dos Artes is encased in magnificent hand-painted ceramic bottles, all with different intricate and beautiful designs. What comes inside of these bottles is just as lovely. The Dos Artes Blanco uses mature, 100% blue agave from Jalisco. It is smooth on the palate and has essence of herbs, sweet apple, and agave. The Añejo uses the Syrs of the Blanco, letting them sit in both French oak and white American oak barrels, creating its delicate oak aroma. Lastly, the Reserva Especial bottle is a collector’s favorite, matured for a whole 5 years. These beautiful sipping tequilas are a staple of quality and presentation.
Casa Noble Tequila is a 7 generation endeavor, lead by founder and Maestro Tequilero Jose “Pepe” Hermosillo. Beginning in the late 1700s in Jalisco and a leading Tequila brand today, Casa Noble produces its Tequila with great integrity, only using estate-grown agaves cooked in traditional stone ovens and then naturally fermented and distilled three times over. Case Noble offers a wide variety of Tequilas, including a Blanco, Reposado, Añejo, Joven, Single Barrel Extra Añejo, and a Single Barrel Reposado. Casa Noble has a bottle for every type of Tequila drinker, each with their own sweet finish and bite.
Though Fortaleza Tequila only launched in 2005, at ‘125 years of Tradition’, this family-run business has had roots in the history of Tequila making for quite some time. Its goal is to keep with tradition and make the best tequila, using the highest quality agave from Tequila Valley. The bottles are hand-blown in Mexico and have a classic and edgy look. Fortaleza offers bottles of Blanco, Reposado, Añejo, and a Still Strength Blanco between $46.98 and $99.99. Each bottle is produced the old-fashion way, as tequila was made 150 years ago with old-world machinery, giving each its own distinct aroma and flavor.
A uniquely crafted, small-batch tequila, Penta Tequila fuses the art of winemaking with the practices of traditional tequila making. 100% blue agave, primarily sourced from the highlands of Jalisco, gives each bottle a tasteful and artisanal flavor profile. Penta filters its Diamante Reposado Cristalino with charcoal to take out the barrel-aged color, which is why its color is similar to that of a blanco. Though, it has the smooth flavor profile of a classic reposado. The Penta Reposado has bright floral notes and a sweet bite. The Penta Añejo rests for an average of 14 months, giving it its rich golden-brown, amber color and smooth finish.