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Don Julio Añejo Tequila

Review: Don Julio Añejo Tequila (90.5/100)
a review by Chip Dykstra (Aka Arctic Wolf)
Revised April 02, 2018

Don Julio is a 100% Blue Weber Agave Tequila made from agave grown in the highlands of Jalisco, Mexico. As a highland tequila,we can expect the Don Julio to exhibit strong fruity citrus notes and to have a little hot pepper in the finish. The company was established by Don Julio González, who apparently began to examine the prospect of making his own Tequila in 1942. He established his distillery called, La Primavera, (TEQUILA DON JULIO NOM 1449, DOT 163, LOCATION: Atotonilco, Jalisco) and spent nearly forty years refining his Tequila into the spirit which now bears his name. This distillery produces the entire Don Julio portfolio.

Don Julio Añejo is produced in small batches, aged in American white-oak barrels for eighteen months.

In the Bottle 4.5/5

To the left is a bottle shot of the 750 ml Don Julio Añejo (bottled at 40 % Alcohol by volume). I like the distinctive squat bottle with its brown and oak colour scheme which I believe was chosen to remind us that this Añejo Tequila is an aged spirit which has spent over one year in oak barrels. The labeling is attractive, and each bottle is serial numbered which I reinforces in our minds that the product is made in small batches.

In The Glass 9/10

The Don Julio Añejo is a light amber colour which is only a smidgen darker than the Don Julio Reposado. As I brought my glass up to my nose, I discovered that the aroma rising into the breezes was very pleasant. The herbaceous agave is accented by light touches of caramel. There is a mild sweet fruitiness which reminds me of canned apricots and marmalade, some soft peppery notes, and tinges of lime citrus zest. I sense a hint of vanilla and some scattered tea leaves. This promises to be a very nice spirit.

In the Mouth 54.5/60

The Añejo Tequila is soft and smooth. The agave flavour is mellow accented by mild touches of white pepper, and the sweetness of a light caramel. I taste a very mild oak presence and an underlying honey-like sweetness which is very appealing. There are some fruit flavours, in particular lime zest and apricot jam, and these flavours are melded very well into the agave, the light oak, and the caramel. Some scattered tea leaves, some hints of coffee, and perhaps a touch of cocoa round out the taste experience. After a few sips, the mouth is heated by the agave pepper, but the sensation is never uncomfortable.

I decided to mix a Tequila Old Fashioned as it has become one of my favourite servings as of late. My wife had giving me a variety pack of cocktail bitters for Christmas this past year and I have found that the Fees Brothers Barrel Aged Whiskey Bitters work very well with Añejo Tequila. (The Aztec Chocolate bitters rock as well.) When I mixed my Añejo Tequila Old Fashioned with the Don Julio agave spirit, I found I was very content (see recipe below).

In the Throat 13.5/15

The añejo tequila exits with a smooth honey like sweetness which is firmly accented by herbaceous agave . There is some spicy black pepper in the finish, but the tonsils are warmed not battered. Impressions of caramel and coffee linger.

The Afterburn 9/10

The Don Julio Anejo is a very nice sipping spirit. This is not an agave spirit which I would mix into fruity cocktails like the Margarita. It is much more suited to Old Fashioned style cocktails, or to be enjoyed neat in a brandy or tequila glass.

You may read some of my other Tequila Reviews (click the link) if you wish to have some comparative reviews.


Suggested Recipe

Tequila Añejo Old Fashioned

2 oz Don Julio Añejo
1/4 oz Orange Curacao
1/8 oz Agave Syrup
dash of Barrel Aged Whisky Bitters (Fees Brothers)
Orange Peel

Add a thin coil of Orange Peel to the bottom of a rocks glass
Add a few cubes of ice
Pour 2 oz Añejo Tequila over the ice
Add Bitters and Agave Syrup
Stir Gently
Enjoy Responsibly

Note: If  you are interested in more of my original cocktail recipes, please click this link (Cocktails and Recipes) for more of my mixed


You may (loosely) interpret the scores as follows.

0-25     A spirit with a rating this low would actually kill you.
26-49   Depending upon your fortitude you might actually survive this.
50 -59  You are safe to drink this…but you shouldn’t.
60-69   Substandard swill which you may offer to people you do not want to see again.
70-74    Now we have a fair mixing Tequila.  Accept this but make sure it is mixed into a cocktail.
75-79    You may begin to serve this to friends, (we are probably still cocktail in territory).
80-84    We begin to enjoy this spirit neat or on the rocks. (I will still primarily mix cocktails)
85-89    Excellent for sipping or for mixing delicious cocktails!
90-94    Definitely a primary sipping spirit, in fact you may want to hoard this for yourself.
95-97.5 The Cream of the Crop
98+       I haven’t met this bottle yet…but I want to.

Very loosely we may put my scores into terms that you may be familiar with on a Gold, Silver, and  Bronze medal  scale as follows:

70 – 79.5    Bronze Medal (Recommended only as a mixer)
80 – 89.5     Silver Medal (Recommended for sipping and or a high quality mixer)
90 – 95         Gold Medal (Highly recommended for sipping and for sublime cocktails.)
95.5+            Platinum Award (Highest Recommendation)

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