Highland agave tends to grow larger and mature more slowly thereby producing sweeter, fruity tequila; though many say the flavor can be reminiscent of "wet cement", Lowland agave is usually drier. rounder and has more earthy, vegetal and woody flavors.
This is the Blue Agave spirit in its purest form. It is clear and typically un- aged. where the true flavors and the intensity of the agave are present, as well as the natural sweetness. It can be bottled directly after distillation, or stored in stainless steel tanks to settle for up to 4 weeks. There are some Blanco products that are aged for up to 2 months to provide a smoother or "Suave" spirit.
A Reposado Tequila is the first stage of "rested and aged". The tequila is aged in wood barrels or storage tanks between 2 months and 11 months. The spirit takes on a golden hue and the taste becomes a good balance between the Agave and wood flavors. Many different types of wood barrels are used for aging, with the most common being American or French oak.
After aging for at least one year, tequila can then be classified as an "Arielo". The distillers are required to age Anejo Tequila in barrels that do not exceed 600 liters This aging process darkens the tequila to an amber color, and the flavor becomes smoother, richer, and more complex. Anejo tequilas are also referred to as "aged" and "extra-aged".
A new classification added in the summer of 2006, labeled any tequila aged more than 3 years, an "Extra Afiejon, Following the same rule as an "Anejo", the distillers must age the spirit in barrels or containers with a maximum capacity of 600 liters. With this extended amount of aging, the tequila becomes much darker, more of a mahogany color. Extra Arlejo tequilas are also referred to as "ultra-aged".
Mezcal (also spelled mescal) is a related distilled spirit, and is the older form of the name for all tequila. Mezcal has its own magic and mystery. It retains its traditions as a "people's drink" made in tiny operations that have hardly changed over the intervening centuries. Slow to modernize. family run, tiny output, mezcal is still at the heart and soul of ancient Mexico and her traditions. Mezcal s main characteristic is a smokey "campfire" nose and taste, very similar to scotch.