Don Julio Tequila Brand Profile
by Greg Rutkowski
Don Julio tequila is made in Mexico and is distilled twice to achieve its well-known good quality. It has a light aroma and tastes like citric although peppery, clean, and dry. The liquor looks like over-crushed ice with a mixture of squeezed lime.
At 17 years old, a young man named Don Julio Gonzalez (born in Atotonilco Jalisco) founded this brand in 1942. Using agave plants growing in the clay-rich soil of Jalisco in Mexico, he produced this tequila named after him. The red clay-rich soil allows the agave to flourish and all the tequilas come from pure blue agave plants. Don started his tequila distillery known as La Primavera (the springtime), fully established by 1952 .
The plants have around 7-10 years to grow after which each harvest is done. The Jimadors handpick the agave and then hand cut the leaves uniformly to improve the quality of its juice. After harvesting, the Jimadors hand-cut the piñas into quarters or thirds and slowly steam-cook them inside traditional masonry ovens.
Steam-cooking takes around three days to give time for the release of the sweet juice. The production of one bottle of Don Julio tequila takes around 8 pounds of the blue agave. The offerings are aged for different periods of time in the humidity and temperature-controlled barrels and this helps in achieving distinct flavors for the tequilas.
Types of Don Julio Tequila
Since 1952, the company has been producing six types of tequila discussed below.
Don Julio Blanco
Blanco is not strong but has a smooth, clean taste. It’s classified as tequila silver. This spirit contains 38% alcohol and, a bottle of 750 ml costs 51.99 USD. Don Julio Blanco is made from 100% blue agave plant, and it can enjoy it neat or take it on the rocks.
- Aging: Pure, young agave; Double distilled
- Aroma: Crisp agave aromas with hints of citrus notes - lemon, grapefruit and lime
- Taste: Light, sweet, agave flavor
- Finish: Light, sweet, agave flavor
Don Julio Reposado
Don Julio Reposado has 38% alcohol content, and a 750 ml bottle costs 55 USD. Don Julio Reposado gives a rich, smooth finish which is the best barrel-aged tequila.
- Aging: 8 months
- Aroma: Mellow lemon citrus notes with touches of ripe stone fruit
- Taste: Soft and elegant hints of dark chocolate, light cinnamon and vanilla
- Finish: Warm finish with an essence of nuts/dried fruit and caramel apple
Don Julio Añejo
It's the smoothest tequila Mexican liquor rich and vegetal with vanilla and caramel taste. Its estate-grown spirit brand is called tequila vintage. The alcohol content in this liquor is 38%, and a 750 ml bottle costs 62.99 USD.
There are regular offers with free delivery, and you can place an order anytime through the distributor or retailer contacts. When you pour it into a glass, you get the smell of sweet caramel, which is soon replaced by a clean vegetal aroma. This spirit is light with a gingery and peppery taste. It's best taken neat on a snifter or just on the rocks.
- Aging: 18 months
- Aroma: A fresh blend of grapefruit, mandarin citrus and lime with a touch of caramel
- Taste: Has expressions of cooked agave, oak-infused butterscotch and wild honey
- Finish: Lightly spiced bright finish with wild honey essence
Don Julio 70 Añejo Claro Tequila
The name comes from the culmination of 70 years of knowledge, expertise, and innovation in good quality tequila production. It was named during its anniversary even though it had taken time to reach distributors, retailers, and bars. This spirit stays for 18 months in American-oak barrels and there-after distilled carefully to extract crisp agave flavor.
It's smooth, clear, and light with a citrus taste and a smooth finish using vanilla, honey, and toasted oak. Alcohol volume content in this spirit is 40%. The distillation process bleaches the brown barrel-aged liquor resulting in a vodka-like white color.
- Aging: 18 months & charcoal filtered
- Aroma: Crisp with traditional hints of Añejo
- Taste: Smooth, with highlights of vanilla, toasted oak and honey
- Finish: Lingering hints of oak and a clean, warm finish
Don Julio 1942
A bottle of Don Julio 1942 has a vanilla taste with caramelized baked agave aroma and is named after Don Julio's first-year production.
A bottle of 750 ml costs 153.99 USD and that is relatively expensive for most people. It is aged 2 ½ years in small batches made with 100 percent blue weber agave. The production takes place in the highlands of Jalisco, Mexico's fertile land where agave is grown.
It contains 38 percent Alcohol and is bottled in 700ml and 1.75 liters bottles.
- Aging: 2.5 years
- Aroma: Rich caramel and chocolate
- Taste: Warm oak, vanilla and roasted agave
- Finish: Rich vanilla and lingering oak
Don Julio Real-Extra Añejo
La Primavera distillery also produces this form of tequila. The production process involves cooking the blue weber agave in a brick oven and its juice extracted using a roller. It’s is then double-distilled in stainless steel and aged for 3-5 years in oak barrels of 600 liters.
You can use any wood, but Bourbon barrels are mostly preferred. Real extract Añejo tequila contains 40% alcohol and is bottled in a wrapped silver agave leaves decanter style bottle. This type of tequila is also known as Ultra-aged. Don Julio Real extract Añejo is one of the extracts in the global market that costs 390 USD. It has an exquisite taste with a smooth and high-quality flavor complemented with a rich aroma.
- Aging: 3-5 years
- Aroma: Mature, with gentle hints of sweet, cooked agave and citrus
- Taste: Vanilla flavors layered with chocolate, caramel, and almond undertones
- Finish: Lingering vanilla impressions and a hint of oak that gives it a warm, sensuous finish
Reposado Double Cask Tequila
Don Julio Reposado Double Cask Tequila is finished in casks used in the production of Buchanan’s blended scotch whisky. This results in a beautiful flavor with honeyed notes of agave.
- Aging: 8 months + 1 month finish in scotch whisky casks
- Aroma: Mild vanilla and tropical fruits with peaty notes
- Taste: Pome fruits and honeyed notes of agave
- Finish: Spicy and peaty
Reposado Private Cask Tequila
Don Julio Reposado Private Cask Tequila is aged for 10 months in a single cask, that the master distiller selects by hand. It has a nuanced flavor, varying from one barrel to another. It is bottled at 85.4 proof, and is perfect for those who sip responsibly.
- Aging: 10 months
- Aroma: Caramel and tangerine notes
- Taste: Subtle oak notes
- Finish: Smooth and spicy finish
Reposado Double Cask Tequila Lagavulin Aged Edition
Master Distiller Enrique de Colsa collaborated with the Lagavulin Distillery Manager, Colin Gordon, to create this limited edition. It is an innovative tequila that is inspired by the creative spirit of Don Julio González. It is a rich and nuanced expression of the traditional Reposado, finished in casks which previously held Lagavulin Islay Single Malt Scotch Whisky.
- Aging: 8 months + 2 weeks finished in Lagavulin scotch whisky casks
- Aroma: Warming wood-fire smoked agave
- Taste: Carmelized agave with undertones of toast oak, rich sherry, and smoky peat; top-noted with a hint of fig and a touch of spiced orange rind.
- Finish: Warming hints of cinnamon
Why Don Julio Tequila?
While it's not the most expensive tequila brand, it is definitely top shelf. You'll get value for your money, considering the premium quality of the ingredients. The small batch process makes the effort that goes into each bottle makes it worth your money.