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Tequila Tasting

Contrary to how most people drink Tequila (in a shot with lime), a good tequila is meant to be sipped and enjoyed. Much like other liquors such as whiskey and cognac, Tequila has a great history and depth of variety and qualities. Learning to appreciate a good tequila bottle is one of the most enjoyable experiences as it has great depth and is easy to enjoy

Below is a terrific introductory article where you can learn the basics and how to get started. You can help grow our learning community by contributing your knowledge to the article. Just click on the edit tab in the wiki article below.

Use the white subtabs above to navigate the other Tequila tasting resources. We have a tequila tasting forum where you can get your questions & doubts answered, a page with tasting how-to videos, a page with the best handpicked links to other sites, and a page with the best Tequila books and products.

Good Luck and Have Fun!
Duncan Davis


The Process 

The actual process of tasting tequila consists of four simple steps which are otherwise known as the four S process of tasting tequila.

Seeing – The color of the tequila will be viewed and examined against a white backdrop. The glass will have to be turned in the opposite direction. The color of the tequila should be saturated in case it belongs to the Reposado and the Anejo variety. The Blanco variety will appear as completely clear when it is examined against a white background. No deposits or sediments can be found in this form of tequila.

Swirling – The tequila will have to be swirled in the right manner inside its glass in order to enjoy the unique and exotic fragrance or aroma of the spirit. The actual taste of tequila will be derived from these fragrances and aromas. The aroma will have to be enjoyed and understood clearly during the process of tasting tequila.

Sipping – The first sip of the tequila should contain a sizeable amount of the spirit. The drink should cover the complete surface of the mouth of the person and it can be moved around all the parts of the mouth in a manner similar to moving mouthwash around the mouth. The feeling which is experienced on taking the first taste of the tequila will have to be understood with clarity. The taste which is experienced will sometimes be thin and acidic while a rich and smooth flavor will be experienced in certain instances. A complete feeling of warmth will engulf all parts of the mouth after it has been touched by tequila.

Savoring – The tequila which is being sampled at the tequila tasting party will have to be moved around all the parts of the mouth in a manner which is similar to gargling the mouth with mouthwash. The mouth of every human being has four basic kinds of taste buds which include salty, bitter, sweet and acidic. Any flavor which cannot be included under these four categories will be interpreted by the brain in the form of a fragrance or aroma which will be felt by the retro nasal passage which is present at the back of your throat. The act of gargling or chewing the tequila or spirit will help in making all the volatile elements, disappear. This can prove to be beneficial in the long run.

Evaluation - After the people who have gathered for the tequila tasting party have actually finished sampling and tasting the tequila, they will have to perform an evaluation of the tequila which has been tasted by them. The results of their evaluation can be divided into three main categories which involve the visual, the olfactory and the gustative features.

The score for the visual aspect can be valued up to a maximum of 30 points. The person should examine the clarity and purity of the liquid. The degree or tone of the amber of the spirit will also have to be evaluated. The color will sometimes be completely clear and transparent while in some other cases it will be slightly translucent. The color of the tequila will usually depend on the amount of time which has been devoted to the process of aging of the tequila inside wooden barrels similar to those which are used for the aging of wine. The intensity and the brightness of the tequila will have to be compared to all the other kinds of tequila.

The olfactory features will also have to be evaluated and given a maximum of 30 points. The fragrances and aromas which are received from the tequila will be the deciding factor while evaluating the olfactory features of the tequila. Well-prepared and well aged tequila will have an aroma which is the perfect combination of the fragrances of wood, flowers, fruits, spices and citric acids. A proper mixture of all these blends and fragrances will help in preparing the right kind of tequila which will have the perfect taste as well as fragrance and aroma.

The gustative features command more importance when compared to the visual features and the olfactory features. The evaluation of these gustative features will involve a maximum of 40 points. The taste which is experienced on the tongue of the person who has tasted the tequila will be evaluated under this category. This taste is one of the most important features which have to be evaluated during the course of the tequila tasting.

The depth or intensity of the taste will have to be experienced clearly along with the delicacy in order to provide a fair evaluation of the tequila. The actual experience of the taste of tequila can be felt by tasting the tequila in long sips as well as short sips. The liquid should be allowed to stay on the surface of the tongue for a certain amount of time before it has been gulped down and digested. The texture of the spirit will also have to be examined and experienced clearly in order to determine as to whether it is rough or smooth. The tone of the texture will also have to be determined in order to find out if it is sour or bitter and whether the tones are wood, vanilla or anise.

Features to be watched during tequila tasting

Flavor and aroma – The exact feelings and emotions which are experienced at the time of the tequila tasting will have to be noted down in a descriptive manner. The clarity of the tequila will have to be ensured before the results of the evaluation have been noted down and evaluated. Certain kinds of tequila could prove to be defective since there could be problems in the quality of the vinegar. In certain cases, the tequila might be a little musty if the quality of the cork is not good enough. If the process of oxidation has not been performed properly, the taste of the tequila might not prove to be satisfactory.

Weight and texture – The weight of the tequila will have to be examined carefully in order to find out whether it is light or crisp and the texture will also have to be examined as to whether it is rough or smooth.

Temperature and spice – The level of spice or sweetness in the tequila will have to be determined and evaluated in the proper manner.

Total balance – Tequila which has been prepared and aged in the right manner will have the right combination of elements which are present in the right proportion and they will be able to harmonize with each other in the right manner. Sometimes the fragrance of the oak barrel which has been used for aging the tequila will blend completely into the taste of the tequila. This could result in the tequila having a severe dose of pepper in it and the alcohol content in the tequila might also increase.

Lifetime of the taste – The single and most important feature which will vouch for the quality of the tequila is the amount of time for which the taste of the tequila will linger in the mouth of the person. Sometimes the taste of the tequila will completely vanish and disappear soon after it has entered the mouth of the person. The main reason for this would be that the spirit has not been concentrated in the right manner at the time of preparation and the ingredients were not of the most superior quality. The taste of good quality tequila will continue to be felt in the mouth for 20-30 seconds and sometimes even for a longer time period.

Apparatus required for tequila tasting

The right kind of jigger and glass constitute the apparatus which is needed in order to conduct the process of tequila tasting in the right manner so that the right kind of evaluation of the tequila can also be done. The measuring jigger is used so that the right amount of tequila can be measured and used at that time of the tequila tasting event. A quarter ounce of every kind of tequila will have to be measured in the measuring jigger and used for the purposes of tequila tasting.

At least three brands of tequila will be tasted and tested at every tequila tasting event. A half ounce of each kind of tequila will constitute one normal regular drink. The small bowl of the jigger can be used in order to measure out the minimum possible quantity. This will also ensure that people who are attending the tequila tasting event are drinking within their responsible limits.

The glasses which are used during the tequila tasting event are also extremely important and they should be selected carefully. The size as well as the shape of the glasses will have an impact on the taste as well as the fragrance and aroma of the tequila which is being tasted. The most superior quality glasses which are used for tequila tasting have been manufactured by the Germans.

Riedel crystal glasses are always the recommended option which should be used during a tequila tasting event. These glasses have an extremely long stem and the shape of these glasses is similar to that of fresh wine glasses. They provide a streak of style and elegance for every tequila tasting event. When the glasses used for tequila tasting are crystal clear, it will help the person in evaluating the purity as well as the clarity of the spirit in a proper manner.

Planning and preparation for a tequila tasting event

The first and most important step which needs to be conducted during the process of planning a tequila tasting event is the selection of the right kind of tequila which will be made available during the course of the event. The tequila should be made using the most superior quality ingredients. When people first arrive at the tequila tasting event, they will first take a shot of tequila using the shot glass. The taste of the tequila should be such that people will put away the shot glass and pick up a tequila tasting glass which will enable them to enjoy and savor the taste of the tequila which has been made available to them.

Apart from serving the right kinds of drinks and tequila at the tequila tasting event, it is also imperative to serve the right kind of food at such an event. The food which is being served should complement the drinks and spirits which are being served. The tequila which is served will sometimes have a taste which is similar to that of vanilla, spices and other flavors and this could be due to the fact that the tequila has been stored in oak barrels for a long period of time for the purposes of aging.

The most common foods which are served during a tequila tasting event include chilies and jalapeno peppers which will provide the right element of spice which should be felt while tasting the tequilas. A person who has a lot of experience in the field of tequila tasting will have his own special menu which he would like to use during the course of any tequila tasting event. The tequila chili and the tequila shrimp are some of the most common food items which are served during the course of a tequila tasting event. The pineapple tequila salsa and the tequila lime thin steak are also some of the famous items which are served during a tequila tasting event.

The right kind of music will help in creating the right kind of atmosphere during a tequila tasting event. Soothing jazz is usually the most preferred music option which is used during a tequila tasting program. Some people prefer to use a sultry R&B mix for a tequila tasting program. Most people prefer to engage the services of local musicians for such events.