Best Of Class Agave Finalists SFWSC 2022

by The Tasting Alliance Team  |  04.07.2022

Every year, just a few of the very best of each category go head-to-head for our judges to determine the Best Of Class for dozens of spirit categories. Here, our finalists for Best Silver/Gold (Unaged) Tequila, Best Reposado Tequila, Best Añejo Tequila, Best Extra Añejo Tequila, Best Mezcal, and Best Other Agave of 2022. Winners will be announced in June.

Best Silver/Gold (Unaged) Tequila Finalist
El Tequileno Platinum

El Tequileño Platinum is made from 100% estate-grown agave in the Highlands of Jalisco and left to mellow in American Oak for 14 days before being bottled. It smells of cooked agave, herbs, anise, and black pepper and tastes slightly spicy, savory with a delicate finish.

Best Silver/Gold (Unaged) Tequila Finalist
Tequila Ocho Plata

From the finest, overripe agaves comes the finest quality tequila from the Los Altos region of Jalisco. The single field estate-grown agaves are looked after carefully by the Camarena family. From the fields to your glass, the agave brings with it the essence of the rancho from which it grew. Mineral with slight caramel and cooked agave notes on the nose, sweet on the palate with cooked caramel and slightly burnt marshmallow notes. Fruity with a long, lingering, sweet finish.

Best Silver/Gold (Unaged) Tequila Finalist
La Serpiente Emplumada Tequila Blanco

This traditional blanco tequila is double distilled in copper pots, after cooking the agaves in brick ovens to ensure a slower cooking that leaves the bright and vegetal agave flavors intact. This light, easygoing tequila is full of spices, black pepper, and cinnamon with hints of hazelnuts, walnuts, and almonds.

Best Silver/Gold (Unaged) Tequila Finalist
Certeza Tequila Blanco

Certeza means certainty. It is the culmination of the perseverance and unwavering dedication of its makers – the embodiment of exceptional tequila. Double distilled and unoaked, this blanco starts with notes of toasted marshmallow on the nose leading to notes of black pepper, caramel, and citrus on the palate for undeniable smoothness.

Best Silver/Gold (Unaged) Tequila Finalist
Gran Cava de Oro Tequila Plata Tahona Vintage 2021

This blanco tequila has mild smoky notes from cooking in volcanic stone ovens with direct contact to firewood. It tastes of fresh and cooked agave, green pepper, and tomatillo and drinks mellow and round with a long finish.

Best Reposado Tequila Finalist
Hotel California Reposado Tequila

Aged for a minimum of six months in former bourbon barrels, Hotel California’s Reposado reveals elegant florals, with notes of sweet, lightly toasted vanilla.  A smooth, well balanced reposado with a long finish full of vanilla and caramel. Hotel California only uses pristine water sourced from the Highlands of Jalisco to preserve the unique flavors and experience of their tequila.

Best Reposado Tequila Finalist
Don Nacho Extra Premium Reposado Tequila

Don Nacho Extra Premium Reposado is made from 100% estate-grown agave, naturally fermented, and aged in American white oak for 10 months. The result is an aroma of vanilla, chocolate, and agave with tastes of oak and almond.

Best Reposado Tequila Finalist
Lobos 1707 Reposado Tequila

From 100% pure Blue Weber agave, Lobos 1707 Tequila Reposado reaches its perfectly robust flavor through rest. After ruminating for over six slow months in American white oak barrels, the liquid is blended with a touch of Lobos 1707 Tequila Extra Añejo and finished at its leisure in historic PX sherry barrels using the solera method. Once sipped, it reveals its spicy, audacious complexity.

Best Reposado Tequila Finalist
Cincoro Reposado Tequila

Cincoro Reposado Tequila combines both highland and lowland tequilas and is aged in ex-Kentucky bourbon barrels for 8-10 months. The nose carries cooked agave with hints of vanilla, baking spices, and toasted creme brûlée, while the palate provides slightly sweet caramelized vanilla and oak with a long finish.

Best Añejo Tequila Finalist
Black Sheep Tequila

This single-estate, small batch añejo tequila starts with Highland Blue Weber agave that requires eight to ten years to reach full maturity under the radiant sunshine of Los Altos de Jalisco , then is aged in oak barrels. It has pronounced vanilla notes on the nose with a hint of black pepper and fruit. Dry on the palate, fruity with bits of caramel. The finish is long and elegant with notes of lingering oak.

Best Añejo Tequila Finalist
Siempre Añejo Tequila

Siempre añejo offers a complex combination of their still-strength plata tequila rested in ex-bourbon barrels, ranging from 12 to 36 months in age, then brought from 100 to 80 proof with volcanic spring water.

It tastes of toffee, salted caramel, chocolate, vanilla, and peppercorns followed by a long lasting, warm finish, asking to be enjoyed in a snifter with dark chocolate and mixed nuts.

Best Añejo Tequila Finalist
Don Julio Tequila 70 Cristalino

Don Julio 70 Añejo Cristalino Tequila is aged eighteen months in American white oak barrels and then carefully filtered to bring out its crisp agave flavor. This crystal-clear extra añejo tastes mineraly and sweet, with highlights of honey and toasted oak. Creamy on the palate with a lingering finish full of vanilla.

Best Extra Añejo Tequila Finalist
CaliFino Extra Añejo Tequila

CaliFino Extra Añejo Tequila is crafted with 100% ultra-premium Blue Weber agave, aged for a minimum of 7 years in American Oak barrels, then finished for an additional year in French cognac barrels. On the nose, find hints of vanilla and tropical fruits.  It’s sweet and creamy on the palate with a long fruity finish. 

Best Extra Añejo Tequila Finalist
Etéreo Extra Añejo Tequila

Etéreo Extra Añejo Tequila is created from agaves grown and matured for 8 years in the Central Valley Region of Jalisco. The piñas have been taken to a family-owned distillery in Amatitán, Jalisco, to be cooked, fermented, and distilled with traditional methods combined with modern techniques that ensure the quality of the product. Then, the tequila is aged in white oak barrels for 60 months to get strong flavors and aromas provided by the wood. The palate has cooked sweet agave, banana, and honey notes with a warm brown sugar finish.

Best Mezcal Finalist
Mezcal Vago Ensamble

Each release of Vago Ensamble en Barro has drastic differences in the percentages of each type of agave that is used, making each release unique. This iteration from Sola de Vega has a soft, earthy bouquet of pine needles and a full body that tastes of cinnamon, pumpkin, and chestnuts.

Best Mezcal Finalist
Montelobos Espadin Mezcal

Montelobos distills their joven mezcal from espadin for a aromas of minerals and earth with subtle hints of smoke. Slightly sweet and herbaceous on the palate with notes of honey and citrus. Its balance and complexity make it an great option for sipping while it also allows bartenders to create bold and delicious cocktails.

Best Mezcal Finalist
Magia Mezcal Pura

Made of cupreata agave from Guerrero, this mezcal has subtle aroma of cooked agave, with a faint smell of wet earth. It tastes smoky with delicate citrus notes and a sweet fruit flavor. This mezcal is handcrafted with soul & spirit.

Best Mezcal Finalist
La Luna Mezcal Espadincillo

La Luna’s objective is to preserve the culture and history of mezcal and is artisanal in every aspect of production, from agave selection through distillation. The distillery is located in Michoacán, which carries a rich cultural history of craftsmanship. Espadincillo is funky and bright, while maintaining balance for a complex and lingering finish.

Los Vecinos del Campo means ‘Neighbors of the Field’ and honors the centuries-old mezcal distilling traditions of Oaxaca and the families that have produced these rich spirits for generations. Earthy with cooked vegetal notes on the nose, this espadin is sweet and fruity on the palate with a hint of licorice.

Best Mezcal Finalist

RAUMEN’s artisanal mezcal uses the rare Chino maguey, an agave that grows wild at high altitudes in harsh climates. This truly handcrafted product has tropical fruit and herbal aromas on the nose. It’s dry on the palate, earthy, and vegetal, with a long finish and a hint of licorice. 

Best Other Agave Finalist
AQARÁ Agave de Los Andes Rito

Coming from the Quechua word “qaaray” which means “place of agaves,” AQARÁ uses two native Peruvian agaves; Americana Expansa Gentry and Agave Cordillerenis.  These two plants combine for a spirit that is mineral and earthy on the nose, yet slightly sweet and fruity on the palate with notes of licorice and black pepper.