Añejo tequila is long-aged in oak barrels. The process makes it more expensive than reposado (“rested”) tequila, which is aged for a shorter time.
Long-aging tequila in oak barrels is trendy and not suitable, says Jim Leff. Excessive woodiness clashes with the flavor of tequila in a way it does not with other drinks. Agave just doesn’t mesh with oak. And what goes for tequila is even truer for mezcal. “The añejo mezcals I recently tried in Mexico (from makers who produce stunning reposados) ranged from artless to horrendous turpentiney nightmares,” says Jim Leff. “I’ve NEVER had an añejo that didn’t taste like a sad demise for a promising reposado.”
MichaelG agrees that tequila shouldn’t be long-aged; he prefers brisk, biting blancos. He thinks the greatness and beauty of agave is in its assertive, brash taste—and aging that intense flavor away in oak barrels would be “like going to a Led Zeppelin concert in an arena, and sitting in the plush skybox and watching the concert from behind the plexiglass.”
Board Link: Save Money: Stick With Reposados