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Tequila has come a long way since the warm, sombrero-clad shots of El Toro we all foolishly took in college. The once-mandatory lime wedge would now be an insult to many of the amazing spirits on the market. Brands have set themselves apart with limited editions, interesting blends, and creative ageing. While there are plenty of top notch offerings, these are the most unique and best tequilas to try before you die.


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Tears of Llorona

Using two different barrels is uncommon in tequila, but three? That’s nearly unheard of. Tears of Llorona started as a friends & family bottling that’s now made its way to the public. The distillate is divided among used sherry barrels, scotch barrels, and French Limousin cognac barrels then aged for five years. While the agave flavor certainly remains, the result is very oak forward and will taste fairly familiar for whiskey lovers. $250



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Tres Quatro y Cinco

If you speak a little Spanish, you’re halfway to understanding what makes this tequila special. It’s an extra añejo that’s blended from 30% three year, 40% four year, and 30% five year spirits aged in French white oak. Beautiful synergy, right? Almost as beautiful as the handmade crystal decanter designed and signed by Mexico City artist, Alonso Gonzalez Jr. $380 



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Tequila ArteNOM Seleccion de 1146 Añejo

There aren’t many brands that source from multiple distilleries, but ArteNOM has made their tequila curation, well, an art. The NOM references the particular distillery number, which in this case is La Tequileña Distillery. To make Seleccion de 1146, 60% of the distillate is matured for two years and the rest for three years, both in French oak. They’re then married for an additional year in American oak giving it significantly more complexity than a typical añejo. $60



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Casa Noble Single Barrel Extra Añejo

Don’t be fooled by Carlos Sanata’s involvement in Casa Noble, this isn’t a novelty celeb spirit. The mosto (wort) made from certified organic agave is fermented with natural yeast, triple distilled, and aged in lightly charred French white oak barrels for five years. The first-of-its-kind single barrel program means that each bottle is unique, which is all the excuse you need to pick up yet another bottle. $90



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AsomBroso Vintage A–ñejo 11 Year

The vast majority of tequila is aged for less than a year if at all. This, on the other hand, is aged in French oak barrels for a ridiculously long 11 years. To make the process even slower, Asombroso waited until the agave was 10 years old before harvesting. That means your tequila is old enough to drink itself. “Vintage” isn’t an official category yet, but I’m sure plenty of marketers are working on that as we drink. $1,200



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Casa Dragones Joven

Joven tequila, a mixture of unaged and aged spirits, is typically relegated to cocktails. You might be satan’s cousin if you waste Casa Dragones on a margarita though. It combines blanco with extra añejo aged five years in new charred American white oak barrels, and the result is the most amazing joven you’ll ever taste. Filtration leaves the tequila as clear as the individually signed, numbered and dated crystal bottle in which it’s held. $275



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Gran Patron Burdeos Tequila

Patron was probably the first decent shot you took, but that was nothing compared to Gran Patron Burdeos. The spirit is aged for a minimum of 12 months in barrels made from a blend of American oak and French oak from multiple regions then redistilled and finished in Bordeaux barrels. It’s safe to say Burdeos is one of the most unique wood experiments in all of tequila, and the result is smooth, sweet happiness in a bottle. $500



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Clase Azul Ultra

You’ve probably seen the very recognizable Clase Azul on a sheld before, but nothing compares to Ultra’s black ceramic decanter that’s painted with platinum and adorned with a silver agave medallion glued on with 24k gold. The liquid inside is equally as beautiful after aging for five years in second-use Spanish cherry wood casks. Only 100 bottles are made each year, so you’ll be the envy of all if you get your hands on one. $1,600



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Tapatio Blanco 110

Overproof whiskey is all the rage, but rarely will you find a tequila brave enough to crack the 80 proof mark. Talk about doing the bare minimum. Tapatio blows that out of the water by bottling at 110 proof. That’s the highest allowable by law so expect your Tiki Tuesdays to get a little more interesting and your Wednesday mornings to get a little more painful. $58



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Crótalo Tequila Extra Añejo Gran Reserva

The name might be long, but this tequila has the history to match. It’s aged for a total of 7 years, the first three in French oak barrels then the final four in Crótalo’s super secret proprietary oak barrels. It’s said (only by me) that the rattler head atop the bottle is there to protect the secret. Only 1000 bottles are released bi-annually, making it a slippery snake to catch. $120


Honorable Mentions:



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KAH Tequila Extra Añejo

It’s four and a half years of aging in American oak barrels makes it worthy of the list, but the skull-shaped bottle bedazzled with 700 Swarovski crystals is what really stands out. $300



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José Cuervo Reserva de La Familia

The annual release proves that all Cuervo isn’t fire water. They’re fully capable of making amazing spirits; they just can’t charge $15 for them. $150

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