What Makes a Premium or Ultra-Premium Tequila?

There is a vast difference between a just-for-fun, party tequila and a high-quality-fun brand such as Avión tequila. But what are those differences? If all tequilas are made using a similar process, and the same Blue Weber agave, what makes tequila ‘premium’? These are questions many consumers are curious about. Here we take a deeper look at what techniques and ingredients are used in the creation of the very finest tequila drinks.
It is important that you know exactly what you are buying when you invest in a high-level product. With this in mind, here is how tequila brands deliver the very best standard of tequila.

Selecting The Agave

Although each tequila is created using the Blue Weber agave, there are some differences between which are used, depending on the product. The very finest tequilas will use blue agave grown at the highest elevations. The higher above sea level the agave is grown, the cooler the temperature is. The result is a more potent and nutrient-rich plant, with stronger minerality.

Man drinking extra an anejo old-fashioned cocktail with avion tequila

Percentage of Agave

You would think that agave drinks like tequila would feature 100% of the plant. This is not always the case. The law states that in order to call a spirit ‘tequila’, it must have at least 51% agave content. Many producers, therefore, will make up the other 49% with sugars and additives. These are often the aspects of tequila that can cause a rather nasty hangover.
Premium tequilas, on the other hand, will usually feature a far higher volume of agave – 100% in most cases. As such, the flavor profile is a much truer representation of tequila. These products have a cleaner finish, and a smoother flavor and, as you may have guessed, don’t leave you feeling down the morning after.

Production Techniques

From a rudimentary point of view, the process of creating tequila is the same no matter how high-level the product may be. Blue agave is selected, and it is cooked, distilled, and aged. There are, however, some changes that are made when creating a bottle of the very best stuff.
The key to improving a tequila’s quality is in the aging process. The finest tequilas are allowed to age anywhere from 3 years to as much as 10 years. During this time the essence and flavor of the barrels seep into the tequila, enhancing its flavors.

The Barrels Used For Aging

The duration of the aging process is not the only aspect of production that can be changed for a better product. Premium tequila can also be improved depending on the type of barrel that drives the flavor. For the most part, American and French white oak barrels are used. Both options are renowned for their ability to impart tannins and colors to the blue agave spirit. The condition of the barrels, however, is also important.
Barrels that have previously housed whiskey and bourbon are preferred for aging, although cognac barrels have also been used for premium tequilas. Some producers may also opt for burnt barrels, to add a smokier flavor as the spirit ages. Another factor in the final flavor is the age of the barrels that are used, with older barrels offering a lifetime of exciting flavors.

Oak barrels storing ultra premium Tequila Avión

Charcoal Distillation

Contrary to what you may think, not all aged premium tequilas have that golden hue you may expect. If you take a product such as our Avion’s Cristalino Reserva, it is in fact as clear as water. This is an incredible spirit used in many of Avión’s cocktails. In order to obtain this kind of result, producers will use charcoal tequila distillation. As the tequila flows through the charcoal it is purified and decolored. This process also strips out impurities from the spirit, leaving an aesthetically beautiful drink with the cleanest of flavors.
Whether you enjoy tequila mixed drinks or smooth sips, we would always recommend that you purchase the highest-quality tequila that you can. Each tequila has its place of course. Yet for us, the premium products offer an elevated and more enjoyable version of Mexico’s famous spirit. Now that you have a clearer idea of how these products are created, why not go out and invest in the experience that an ultra-premium product can deliver?

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