What Makes An Authentic Tequila - From Founder of PaQuí John Chappell
With hundreds of celebrity tequila brands vying for your attention, it can be hard to find a flavorful, authentic spirit worth your time (and money). But even if they are backed by a famous face, many celebrity tequilas simply do not have the quality and processes to truly be called an authentic tequila.
To be classified as a true tequila, producers must meet a set of stringent standards by Mexican law. This leaves many brands taking shortcuts and lessening their authenticity.
So what does it take to be classified as an authentic tequila? Follow along with PaQuí as we share our 5 top tips to identifying one.
What Makes A Tequila Brand Less Authentic
1. Made With Additives
Ever sip a Reposado or Añejo and all you taste is overly sweet vanilla and maybe even cotton candy? Even if the bottle doesn’t say so, that tequila is probably made with additives, like vanilla extract, which lessens the authenticity of true tequila. Tequila’s flavor profile should highlight the natural agave flavors through distillation and aging. Increasingly, many brands shortcut this process and build the flavor profile they want by using additives.
You can often detect the use of additives when a tequila tastes too sweet or at worst, has an unnatural flavoring like cotton candy or fake fruit. Instead of adding depth to the flavor, additives actually end up dominating the drinking experience and diluting the natural blue weber agave flavors.
2. Recycling Another Liquid
An unexpected but common practice in many distilleries in Mexico, especially with celebrity brands, is to recycle an already existing liquid. They may make adjustments to the process and price to try to differentiate, but the foundational liquid is the same, leaving too many tequilas with the same mediocre flavor profile.
The most authentic tequila brands will work directly with a master distiller from Mexico to craft a premium flavor, rather than repurposing, reformulating and rebottling an existing formula.
3. Using Unripe Agave
If you are using unripe agave, you don’t have a chance of making a good tequila. While this has been common practice even to date, it’s getting even more prevalent due to rising prices of agave. Many brands are taking shortcuts and harvesting their agave before it comes to full maturity.
The best-tasting tequilas fully respect the agave plant, giving it the time it needs to reach perfect maturity. Many brands pick the agave after only 4 years to speed up the timeline of production and save money, when agave does not fully become ripe for at least 7 years.
At PaQuí, our agave is picked at 7 to 10 years to allow the plant to produce reach the proper Brix level and achieve a complex flavor profile.
4. Mediocre Flavor Profile of Aged Tequila
Aging tequila to make Reposados and Añejos require a patient and purposeful process. If you are using old oak barrels that no longer impart any oak qualities and character to your tequila, it will lead to the use of additives. On the other hand, some aging processes completely overtake the notes of agave, leaving only a wooden flavor profile.
At PaQuí, we believe that if you cannot taste agave, then you might as well be drinking a whiskey! Aged tequila should have an oak accent that complements the natural fruity flavors of agave.
5. Not Working With A Master Distiller To Create A Distinctive Profile
A master distiller will know the ins and outs of the fermentation and distillation processes, giving insight into the best practices. When you find a master distiller and pair them with the right distillery and right equipment, you will be able to craft a custom process to really set your tequila flavor profile apart.
At PaQuí we work with our master distiller to take the distillation process one crucial step further. By separating the heart of the agave fruit, where harsh tasting impurities are held, we are able to allow the pleasant aromas, fruit, complexity, minerals, and soft finish to be apparent- without any of the burn!
PaQuí: A Premium, Authentic Tequila
Ultimately, the best tequilas retain their authenticity by following these five principles and in our case, more, as we believe it is also important to pay homage to the culture and traditions where tequila comes from, Mexico. At PaQuí, we take no shortcuts when it comes to the quality of our spirit. That’s why we’ve created a smooth, flavorful tequila that allows drinkers to taste the wide range of pleasant aromas of the blue agave fruit. Perfect for sipping and savoring, try out our products at a location near you.