Understanding What Makes a Premium or Ultra-Premium Tequila

The appetite for agave shows no signs of slowing down. With the likes of Hollywood’s resident heartthrob George Clooney, and many others, putting their names behind tequila and mezcal, the reputation of this once-misunderstood spirit is on the rise.

According to data from the IWSR, tequila has been the second-fastest growing spirits category for the past three years, rising at a rate of nine per cent year-on-year, just behind gin at 12 per cent. It’s safe to say that tequila and mezcal are very much the new gin.

One of the major reasons why the tequila industry has gone premium is due to the sheer realisation amongst consumers that the spirit can and should be delicious and sipped straight - an attribute that only premium and ultra- premium tequila possess. There is a world of difference between cheap, mixed tequila and premium tequila, and if you wish to indulge, be sure to know what to look out for when tequila hunting.

Premium Tequilas are Au Naturale

All tequilas are derived from the Agave Tequilana Weber Azul, or more commonly known as Blue Agave. That being said, it is worth noting that the percentage of agave may differ across the board.

100% agave refers to the absence of additional flavours and additives incorporated in the making of tequila, whether it is Silver tequila or Añejo tequila. 100% simply means that this alcoholic liquid is made purely from the blue agave plant that has gone through the fermentation and distillation process. The lack of third-party additions allows the spirit to retain a complex, delicate, and refined taste profile which can then be enjoyed in between sips - this is what sets premium and ultra -premium tequilas apart from their counterparts.

To know whether your tequila is made entirely from the agave plant, you simply need to look out for the 100% agave labelling on the bottle. It is required by Mexican law that every qualifying tequila bottle is to come with “100 Percent Agave,” “100 Percent Blue Agave,” “100 Percent Agave Azul,” or other labels that bear the same message. If the drink is not labelled as such, chances are the drink is not a 100% agave drink. To keep quality control in check, it is mandatory that every tequila bottle has at least 51% agave content. It is up to the manufacturers to add up to 49% of additional flavourings and additives, such as potatoes and sugars. The Tequila Regulatory Council (CRT) will ensure that the label, alongside the production and bottling, is in accordance with the Official Mexican Standard of Tequila.

Maturation Process Makes A Difference

Premium tequilas employ the same distillation techniques as other tequilas, but the difference lies in how long they have aged and the type of barrel they are aged. The ageing process, for one, can easily reach up to three years (sometimes more) for ultra- premium tequila. Compounded this with the time it takes to grow the agave plant, producing a bottle of premium tequila can take up to 11 years or more. Conversely, basic tequila typically takes 8 years.

Remember, 100% agave translates to no third-party additions outside of yeast and water. If so, how do premium and ultra-premium tequilas have a complex and rich flavour profile? The answer lies in the type of barrel they are aged in. For instance, Scotch whiskey barrels give the tequila a dry finish, which works well with keeping the agave forward. Some high-end and well-aged tequilas use Sherry barrels to add a hint of fruitiness or Brandy barrels to add sweetness. As such, when choosing a premium tequila that fits your palette, be sure to take their barrels into consideration.

Bid Goodbye to Nasty Hangovers

Tequila has a reputation for having one of the worst hangovers amongst its liquor counterparts - but that is only due to the congeners, additives and sugars found in the drink. Unlike mixed tequila that is a cocktail of ingredients, pure agave spirits do not carry as many congeners, added sugars and additives, if any. By removing the components that cause hangovers, you can say goodbye to the pounding headaches that greet you the next morning.

Apart from the lack of additives and sugars, 100% agave drinks are sipping tequilas. This means you can keep track of your intake and pace yourself better.

That said, do note that people vary in their response to alcohol. To quantify the exact number of drinks to prevent a hangover and other effects of excessive alcohol is almost impossible. Moreover, there are other hangover risk factors that you should take into account, such as the level of hydration, alcohol metabolism, and the like. You know your limit best.

Taste Only the Best with Tequila Stop

At Tequila Stop, we are on a mission to spread the love for Mexico and their beloved spirit. We take pride in being importers and master distributors of award-winning premium tequila and mezcal in Singapore, Southeast Asia, and beyond. Our extensive catalogue features tequila and mezcal that have been specifically selected for their impeccable taste and unique brand story. The perfect luxury gift for yourself and your loved one, indulge in premium and ultra premium tequila like never before!

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