Serious Eats: Drinks

Blanco and Joven: Unaged Tequilas That Are Worth Drinking

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For many parts of the spirits world, age is equivalent with beauty.

Young whiskies, brandies and rums that, in their youth, have a rangy flavor that can be challenging at best and edgy and obnoxious at worst, undergo a remarkable change in character when left to mature in wood barrels for a few (or many) years.

But while there's been plenty of recent coverage about a new-found love for young or unaged whiskies in certain circles, another youthful part of the spirit world is getting some fresh appreciation: blanco and joven tequilas.

Unlike spirits such as brandy or whiskey, tequila has commonly been sold in an unaged or minimally aged form, along with older expressions such as reposado and anejo tequilas (and of course, we're talking about 100-percent agave tequilas, not the cheaper mixto tequilas that are poured by the gallon into frozen-margarita machines or the gullets of spring-break partiers).

The blanco (also called silver or platinum) tequilas have none of the subtle caramel or vanilla notes that oak typically imparts. Instead, they tend to have a peppery spark and a flavor defined by the subtle sweetness of the agave.

Similarly, joven tequilas start off with this youthful edge of a blanco, but are blended with a small amount of older tequilas to add some of the richer, more mature characteristics found in reposados and anejos.

Tequila fans typically reach for older styles when in the mood for a sipping tequila, mostly relegating blancos and jovens to the world of cocktails, but there are several young tequilas worth seeking out and sipping on their own. Some of the major producers such as Don Julio and Milagro make wonderful blanco tequilas, but in recent years several smaller-scale producers have introduced some remarkable young spirits.

Here are a few exceptional young tequilas worth looking for:

About the author: Paul Clarke blogs about cocktails at The Cocktail Chronicles and writes regularly on spirits and cocktails for Imbibe magazine. He lives in Seattle, where he works as a writer and magazine editor.

Printed from http://drinks.seriouseats.com/2010/03/blanco-joven-unaged-good-tequilas.html

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