When the weather starts to get cold, often times we reach for bourbon, rye, and single malt whisky to warm our bones. It’s why St. Bernard’s supposedly had whiskey around their necks, after all. While nobody’s going to tell you not to crack open a bottle of bourbon or Scotch this fall, why limit yourself? In my personal opinion, there may be no better dark spirit for fall sipping than extra añejo tequila.
For those unaware, añejo tequila is a designation for the subset of the agave-based spirit that has been matured for between one and three years in oak barrels. And while that might be good enough to scratch your brown liquor itch, I prefer things a little extra (literally). Extra añejo tequila has been aged for three years or more, and this bold, rich, amber-hued tequila is known for its fruity, oaky, slightly spicy, warming flavor profile.
Now that I’ve defended extra añejos suitability for fall, let’s find you some. For today’s blind tasting, I hand picked eight great options. Some are well-known brands and others are lesser-known bangers, but either way, you should be able to find something to love here, whatever your flavor preference.
- Lobos 1707 Extra Añejo Tequila
- Jose Cuervo Reserva De La Familia Extra Añejo Tequila
- Tears of Llorona Extra Anejo
- Don Roberto Extra Añejo Tequila
- Código 1530 Origen Extra Añejo Tequila
- Avion Reserva 44 Extra Añejo Tequila
- El Tesoro Extra Añejo Tequila
- Corralejo Extra Añejo Tequila
Part 1: The Taste
A light nose of almond cookies, oaky wood, and slight caramel greets you before your first sip. It’s fairly simple yet inviting. The palate isn’t much more complex with generic vanilla, caramel, oak, and slight cinnamon flavors. It’s not bad, it’s just not that good.
Earthy, ripe, roasted agave is the main note on the nose. But it’s followed closely behind by caramel, cinnamon, toasted marshmallows, and even a little bit of peppery spice. The palate has a ton of fruit flavor from dried cherries and apricots along with butterscotch, vanilla beans, and gentle oak. It drinks more like a whiskey than a tequila.
The nose is surprisingly sweet for an extra añejo tequila. There are notes of dried fruits, sherry sweetness, vanilla cream, butterscotch, and gentle oaky wood. Drinking it reveals even more rich oak, cooked agave, raw sugar, vanilla beans, dried cherries, more sherry, and a gentle, nutty sweetness throughout.
The first aromas I found on this tequila’s nose were those of oaky wood, earthy cooked agave, and slight vanilla. That was about it on first nosing. The palate has more earthy, vegetal cooked agave, caramel, more oak, and a ton of pepper on the back end. If it wasn’t for the cracked black pepper spice overwhelming everything else, this would be a great sipper.
Very generic smelling vanilla, oak, and cooked agave on the nose. Definitely doesn’t invite you to take a sip. The palate is slightly more appealing with notes of cooked, vegetal agave, oak, vanilla beans, and some wintry spices. Overall, it was fairly bland and generic tasting. Not a great tequila for the price.
The nose isn’t overly exciting with light notes of vanilla sweetness, cooked agave, and light spices. Not much else. The palate is slightly more exciting with candied orange peels, rich oak, vanilla, honey, and just a kiss of light smoke. Overall, a little lacking in flavor though. It seems a bit thin.
This tequila starts with a nose of cooked, slightly smoky agave, dried fruits, butterscotch, vanilla beans, and rich oak. It quickly moves to flavors like dried cherries, apricots, vanilla, and caramel candy on the palate. It ends with a warming, sweet combination of gentle spices and sweet, cooked agave.
On the nose, I found aromas of toffee, vanilla beans, baked agaves, and oak. The palate continues this trend with more notes of buttery caramel, brown sugar, vegetal agave, dried fruits, and vanilla. The finish is warming, slightly sweet with a nice hint of agave at the end.
Part 2: The Rankings
8) Lobos 1707 Extra Añejo Tequila (Taste 5)
Average Price: $179.99
Since Lebron James is one of the owners of Lobos. it’s difficult to not assume this is just a gimmicky celebrity brand. Lobos 1707 Extra Añejo Tequila is made from 100% Blue Weber agave and is matured for at least three years in American white oak barrels before being finished in Pedro Ximénez sherry casks.
I always have trouble believing that a celebrity-driven brand is good. And this overpriced, low-quality tequila isn’t helping that perception.
7) El Tesoro Extra Añejo Tequila (Taste 4)
Average Price: $149.99
This award-winning Extra Añejo from El Tesoro was made to pay homage to master distiller Carlos Camarena’s father Felipe. This bold, rich, slightly sweet tequila spent between four and five years maturing in ex-bourbon American oak barrels.
I’m not here to say that El Tesoro Extra Añejo Tequila is even close to a bad tequila. There’s a reason it’s won so many awards. It’s just leans a little too much into the peppery, spicy side of tequila for my liking.
6) Jose Cuervo Reserva De La Familia Extra Añejo Tequila (Taste 1)
Average Price: $159.99
There are few names bigger than Jose Cuervo in the tequila world. The problem is that many drinkers think of the brand mainly for its bottom shelf tequilas. Its Reserva de la Familia, including its Extra Añejo, are trying to change that perception. This 100% blue Weber agave tequila has won numerous awards over the years.
This tequila has everything you’d want in an extra añejo tequila. It’s sweet, has some cooked agave flavor, oak, and gentle spices. It’s just that everything is kind of muted. It’s just an okay tequila, but not worth the price.
5) Corralejo Extra Añejo Tequila (Taste 6)
Average Price: $109.99
Made from 100% hand-picked Blue Weber Agave from the fields of Guanajuato, this rich, sweet, memorable extra añejo tequila is distilled twice (using the Charentais distillation method commonly used to distill cognac) before being matured for at least three years in new, charred oak barrels.
This is a decent example of the extra añejo style. It just seems more like a young añejo than one aged even longer. It’s a little light on flavor.
4) Código 1530 Origen Extra Añejo Tequila (Taste 8)
Average Price: $339.99
Código is a family-owned business. That alone makes me want to support them and their tequilas. It helps when they release expressions like Código 1530 Origen Extra Añejo Tequila. This phenomenal (and pricey) tequila is matured for six years in Napa Valley Cabernet French white oak barrels.
Sometimes simple is better. While this isn’t a perfect tequila, it’s well-balanced, flavorful, and warming on a cool fall day.
3) Tears of Llorona Extra Añejo Tequila(Taste 7)
Average Price: $229 for a liter
Name for a Mexican ghost story about a woman called La LLorana who cries for her drowned child, Tear of Llorona is a 100% Blue Weber agave-based tequila that’s matured for at least five years in a combination of Scotch, sherry, and brandy casks.
This is truly a complex, exciting tequila. Its maturation is unique, and its flavorful barrels are noticeable on the nose and palate. It’s complex and definitely appeals to whiskey drinkers.
2) Avion Reserva 44 Extra Añejo Tequila (Taste 2)
Average Price: $134.99
The first time that many of us saw Avion Tequila was when it was featured on Entourage before it was even available. It’s safe to say the brand has easily distanced itself from the show with its high-quality tequilas. Especially Avion Reserva 44 Extra Añejo Tequila. This small batch tequila is matured for at least 36 months in American oak barrels.
If you’re a whiskey drinker looking to try a tequila, this is the one for you. Caramel, vanilla, and gentle fruit make up much of the flavor.
1) Don Roberto Extra Añejo Tequila (Taste 3)
Average Price: $149
This extra añejo tequila is made using a timeless family recipe that consists of 100% Blue Weber agave and volcanic spring water. It’s aged in American oak barrels and is known for its complex, well-balanced flavor profile featuring dried fruits, sherry sweetness, and rich, bold oak.
If you can get your hands on this tequila, grab a bottle. This is a unique, nutty, sweet, slightly fruity, caramel-filled tequila that will make you totally rethink how you feel about this agave-based spirit.
Part 3: Final Thoughts
When looking for extra añejo tequilas for fall sipping, it’s obvious that I tend to gravitate towards sweeter, more whiskey-like expressions. They also need to be fairly well-balanced and not lean too much into any particular flavor.