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Don Julio Blanco Tequila

Review: Don Julio Blanco tequila (87/100)
a review by Chip Dykstra (Aka Arctic Wolf)
Posted on August 16, 2011
(Revised & Re-Scored May 18, 2015)

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.

I noticed that the identified NOM on the back label of the bottle is 1449 CRT. This NOM identifier is required by the Mexican Government to be placed on the label of each bottle of tequila to verify that it is produced legally from agave sourced in the Tequila region of Mexico. Each distillery has its own NOM, and by researching the NOM we can discover exactly which distillery produces each brand of tequila. It came as no surprise to me to discover that the Don Julio Brand is produced at the Don Julio Tequila Distillery located in Atotonilco, Jalisco.

In the Bottle 4.5/5

To the left is a photo of Don Julio Blanco. I really like the distinctive bottle with its light blue colour.  I like the labeling which is attractive, and I like that the bottle is sealed with a very nice high density cork which gives me that nice satisfying ‘pop’ when I open it.

In the Glass 8/10

When I tilt my glass and gave it a swirl, I saw only a light oily sheen which disappears over time rather than releases legs. Soft peppery notes come forward out of the glass, followed by lemon and lime citrus juices. Muted fruity agave and a hint of  vanilla waft into the air as well providing just a little more softness. I  allowed the glass to decant and the aroma did not change significantly. I was hoping the agave notes would grow in the glass, but the scent remained quite mellow.

In the Mouth 53/60

The Don Julio tequila has a smooth presence in the mouth with a ‘soft’ agave flavour and warm citrus. I use the term ‘soft’ agave to try to give an indication that the typically earthy and punky flavour of agave is softened in this tequila to the point where I cannot really call it punky or earthy anymore. It resembles a taste which sits somewhere between the flavours of cucumber and squash, but this has a more herbaceous quality than either. Citrus flavours follow reminiscent of lemon-lime and perhaps a touch of passion fruit. As you sip on the Don Julio, the citrus begins to turn peppery in the mouth with flavours of citrus zest and scattered white pepper.

When I served my Rum Chums a Margarita for them to judge during my 2015 Rum Howler Margarita Challenge, the Don Julio scored extremely well. On at least one of the score-sheets it was tied for the top spot, and none of my Judges gave it a poor ranking. A common feeling was that the agave flavour seemed to be accentuated in a very positive manner in the Margarita cocktail and the highland spice pushed through the cocktail experience in a very good way.

Afterwards, I mixed a Paloma Cocktail and was pleased that the tequila was also able to shine in a tall bar drink with soda (see recipe below).

In the Throat 13/15

When sipped neat, I taste warm agave and citrus flavours in the exit which give way to spicy citrus zest and white pepper in a finish which is crisp and smooth.

The Afterburn 8.5/10

After my Margarita Challenge I sampled the Tequila at by itself in isolation from the other spirits, and when I compared those tasting notes to my original notes from my 2011 tasting session I noticed a striking similarity in my tasting notes. I did also notice, that the Don Julio seems to have improved over the past four years. There seems to be more depth of character, and more smoothness than my previous tasting notes had indicated. My score has went up as a result.

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


Suggested Recipe

The Paloma cocktail mixes Grapefruit juice, soda tequila in a highball style. It is extremely refreshing and delicious. I like to kick it up just a notch by adding a touch of acidity in the form of lime juice.

Paloma SAM_1546Paloma

2 oz Don Julio Blanco
2 oz Grapefruit Juice
1/2 oz Fresh Lime Juice
3/8 oz Sugar syrup (1:1)

Add plenty of ice to a tall glass
Add the first four ingredients and stir
Fill with soda
Enjoy on a hot sunny day

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


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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