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Don Julio Reposado Tequila

Review: Don Julio Reposado Tequila (87.5/100)
a review by Chip Dykstra (Aka Arctic Wolf)
Refreshed March 2020

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.

Don Julio Reposado is aged in American white-oak barrels for eight montht before being bottled at 40 % abv.. The spirit brand is currently owned by the Diageo Conglomerate.

In the Bottle 4.5/5

To the left is a photo of Don Julio Reposado. I like the distinctive squarish  bottle with its light brown colour scheme which may have been chosen to remind us that the Reposado Tequila was aged for eight months in American oak barrels. 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.

Every bottle of Don Julio which I have seen has a serial number prominently displayed on the label which not only gives the consumer the suggestion that each individual bottle is hand crafted, it also enables the company to address quality control issues which may crop up from time to time.

In the Glass 9/10

When I poured the Reposado Tequila into my glass, I was pleased with the very pale colour of the spirit which is consistent with a distilled spirit which has spent only eight months in oak. The initial aroma rising into the breezes is that typical herbaceous agave aroma which is lightly peppery or spicy, somewhat earthy and somewhat fruity. I am reminded of baked squash, white pepper, and spicy citrus zest (reminiscent of grapefruit). A very faint echo of sandal wood is in the air with some equally light scents of, honey, vanilla, butterscotch, cinnamon and ginger.

The overall impression I have is of a moderately complex agave spirit where the oak is exerting a mild influence.

In the Mouth 53/60

The entry begins with a soft earthy agave, the flavour of which reminds me of grilled pineapple and baked squash (much heavier on the squash than on the pineapple). The peppery spices are appealing as they is not sharp and penetrating, rather the impression is slightly herbal and my mouth tastes the spiciness more so than the heat. There is also a firm underlying sweetness (somewhat like caramel and honey) and a touch of licorice which accents the flavour nicely. A few wood spices, a hint of vanilla, a touch of almond, and a dabble or two of cinnamon and ginger round out the flavour profile.

As part of my tasting regimen, I like to mix a Margarita to test the performance of the Tequila in a cocktail. I used Grand Marnier rather than triple sec in the Margarita, and the resulting cocktail was quite lovely with just a bit of an earthy feel and taste. I experimented a little more and came up with a nice recipe which I have shared below.

In the Throat 13/15

The finish is relatively smooth with peppery spices that build in the throat after I swallowed. I taste a fade of butterscotch, some nutty almond and perhaps a smattering of wood-spice and tea.

The Afterburn 8.5/10

The Don Julio Reposado Tequila is demonstrates smooth complexity throughout the taste experience. I found the spirit is very approachable and would be my idea of the type of tequila spirit which I think would appeal to both longtime tequila aficionados and persons new to the spirit.

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

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Suggested Recipe:

I like to experiment with the Cosmopolitan Cocktail.  There is something about cranberry and lime juice which works really well for my palate. I tweaked it for a Tequila and came up with what I call Metro Mexico.

Metro Mexico

1 1/2 ounces Don Julio Reposado Tequila
3/4 ounce Bols Triple Sec
1 ounce Cranberry juice
1/2 ounce Lime Juice
2 to 3 dashes sugar syrup (optional)

Mix all of the ingredients over ice.
Strain into a suitable glass

Garnish with a lime slice

Please Remember, the aim of my blog is not to encourage you to drink more, it is to encourage you to drink better!!

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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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