reposado tequila glasses on table with lime

What Is Reposado Tequila? Our In-Depth Guide

Reposado is Spanish for “rested,” a word that aptly describes the process by which tequila is aged in oak barrels. This resting period, which typically lasts between 2 to 12 months, allows the spirit to develop a delightful oaky warmth that defines its flavor profile. There are many different brands of reposado tequila, each with its own unique characteristics and flavor profiles.

In this article, we'll be covering all the essential aspects of reposado tequila, from its alcohol content to its production process. You’ll also learn if you can make it yourself. Let’s start by taking a look at the main facts about reposado tequila.

Reposado Tequila: The Main Facts

Often regarded as a classic drink, reposado tequila is loved by both connoisseurs and casual drinkers alike. As mentioned above, the word “reposado” means “rested,” which refers to the aging process of the tequila. It’s rested in oak barrels for a period of 2 to 12 months.

This aging period allows the tequila to develop its characteristic golden hue and absorb flavors from the oak, such as notes of vanilla, caramel, and spice. Shorter periods of resting usually result in a lighter flavor while longer rests bring out a richer, more pronounced oakiness.

Reposado tequila tastes like a smooth blend of oak, vanilla, and caramel flavors with a touch of spice. It has a velvety texture and may also have hints of citrus, floral, or fruity notes, depending on the brand.

What Is the Alcohol Content of Reposado Tequila?

The alcohol content of reposado tequila typically falls within a range of 35% to 40% alcohol by volume (ABV), which is standard for most tequila varieties. This range ensures that it maintains its strength while still allowing the flavors and aromas developed during the aging process to shine through.In the US, reposado tequila typically has an alcohol by volume (ABV) of 40%.

What Is Reposado Tequila Made From?

Reposado tequila primarily consists of two main ingredients: blue agave and water, the former of which is native to Mexico and cultivated primarily in the Jalisco region. Common varieties of reposado tequila include blanco, añejo, and extra añejo.

Some flavored options of reposado tequila include additional ingredients to create unique taste profiles. These flavored reposado tequilas may include infusions of fruits, such as lime, mango,  pineapple, and even coconut. Other varieties may add spices like cinnamon or chili peppers for a hint of heat, or herbs like cilantro or mint for added complexity.

What Is the Primary Ingredient of Reposado Tequila?

The primary ingredient that’s used in the production of reposado tequila is the blue agave plant. Fundamental not only to reposado tequila but to all tequila varieties, the blue agave plant is indigenous to Mexico. What makes reposado different from other tequila varieties is not the base ingredient used in its production, but its aging process.

Blanco tequila doesn’t undergo aging at all, and añejo tequila is aged for a longer period, typically between 1 to 3 years. Reposado tequila falls between these two extremes because of its aging process.

How Is Reposado Tequila Made?

Once the agave plants reach maturity, which typically takes around 7-10 years, skilled farmers known as jimadores harvest the agave by hand.

The harvested “piñas” are then crushed to extract “honey water,” which serves as the base ingredient for tequila production.

The extracted aguamiel, or honey water, is then fermented. Usually, it’s fermented with the addition of yeast to convert the sugars into alcohol. This fermentation process typically lasts several days and results in a low-alcohol liquid known as "mosto."

The mosto is then distilled to remove impurities, resulting in a clear spirit known as "blanco" or "silver" tequila. This is then aged in an oak barrel for 2 to 12 months, which changes its color to golden hue and gives it a distinct flavor profile. It's this aging process that ultimately turns it into reposado tequila.

How Is Reposado Tequila Distilled or Filtered?

Reposado tequila is typically distilled using traditional methods that involve cooking, fermentation, and distillation of the blue agave juice. The core of the agave plant is traditionally cooked in a clay oven and then crushed using a stone wheel.

As explained above, the agave juice is extracted and transferred to fermentation tanks where Yeast is added to it to start the process. Once it’s finished, you are left with the low-alcohol liquid mosto.

Mosto undergoes distillation to purify the alcohol, which finally gives rise to blanco or silver tequila.

Can You Make Reposado Tequila Yourself?

It is possible to make reposado tequila yourself, but it requires specialized equipment, expertise, and adherence to safety regulations. Purchasing from a reputable supplier, like Speakeasy Co, is often the more convenient and reliable option.

You would first need to source high-quality agave plants, without which it would be impossible to capture the authentic flavor of reposado tequila. Then, you would have to make sure that you cook the piñas at the right temperature to properly convert the starches into fermentable sugars.

The entire fermentation process has to be monitored carefully, so without the necessary expertise, the final product may not have the desired flavor and quality.

Once you’re done with the fermentation process, you need to age the tequila in a small oak barrel.

An easier alternative is to buy a bottle of tequila and an oak barrel in which you can age the spirit yourself. Aging tequila in oak barrels allows you to customize its flavor profile according to your preferences. You can experiment with different aging durations and techniques to achieve the taste you want.

Explore the Richness of Reposado Tequila

agave plants with mountain in back

Reposado tequila is a great option for those seeking a smoother and more complex taste compared to blanco (silver) tequila. It is aged for 2 to 12 months in an oak barrel, which is what gives it the warm, oaky flavor it is known for. It is aged for 2 to 12 months in an oak barrel, which is what gives it the warm, oaky flavor it is known for – not too far off from some straight bourbons.

Whether you're brand new to tequila or you've long enjoyed this liquor, dive into reposado tequila and find out how satisfying it can be.

Back to blog

Leave a comment

Please note, comments need to be approved before they are published.