Unlike other types of tequilas, the Anejo tequila is specifically crafted to be enjoyed and savored all by itself. When most people hear tequila they immediately think of margaritas or the shot they hope that one friend does not order for the group. The Anejo breaks this mold by bringing in robust flavors and smells that are reminiscent of a fine bourbon or cognac.
Anejo literally translates to “aged” which is how this variety of tequila gains the characteristics that make it one of the most sippable liquors in the world.
What Makes Tequila Anejo?
All tequila starts as a Blanco, then how it is aged and distilled determines what classification it ultimately ends up being assigned. To be considered an Anejo, the tequila must be aged between 1 and 3 years. This aging process usually takes place in oak barrels similar or whiskey, bourbon, and cognac. By aging the tequila in this way, the Anejo picks up distinct aromas and flavors that can give each brand its own distinctive taste and smell profile.
What Does Anejo Tequila Taste Like?
Unlike the more popular tequila types, Anejo shines on the taste front. A well-crafted Anejo will be smooth and rich with flavors of caramel, cinnamon, honey, black pepper, and vanilla along with a smokiness. In the mouth, it will taste like a fainter, milder bourbon. But then finishes crisp, without the typical “fire belly” that tends to accompany most bourbons.
Types of Anejo Tequila
While Anejo is a single type of tequila in recent years, it has branched into three subcategories: Anejo, extra Anejo and crystinalo Anejo. We have already discussed Anejo has been aged in oak barrels for one to three years. Extra Anejo tequila is aged for more than three years giving it stronger and sharper flavors. Crystinalo Anejo is an Anejo that then goes through an extra filtration process that removes the color of the liquid, resulting in a completely clear liquor. These tequilas are usually priced at a premium due to the extra process to remove the color.
Our Favorite Anejo Tequlias
Don Julio Anejo Tequila
Coming from a well-respected mid-tier tequila maker, Don Julio Anejo does not disappoint. This Anejo is aged 18 months and boasts hints of vanilla combining fluidly with its agave roots and wood barrel aging. This is a great option for sipping neat or on the rocks.
Known as George Clooney’s tequila, Casamigos was one of if not the first of the “celebrity” tequilas. Casamigos Anejo is distilled nearly twice as long as typical tequila and is aged 14 months before being bottled. It boasts a caramel flavor with hints of vanilla. Read the full Casamigos Anejo review here.
Possibly one of the best-known tequilas brands, Patron has a very solid mid-tier Anejo. Unique to this selection is the combination of triple aging this Anejo in used whiskey barrels, French Oak, and American Oak barrels. This is a great option if you are looking for a decent Anejo with strong name recognition.
Clase Azul Anejo
Good luck finding a Clase Azul Anejo! Almost always sold out even at a $500 price tag. This delicately balanced flavorful Anejo is always among the top of every Anejo afficinado’s wish list. Obviously, this Anejo is not for everyone we suggest reading our full Clase Azul Anejo Review if you have any interest in finding a bottle.
Brugal selects only old bourbon American oak barrels for aging its Anejo. The results are really quite pleasant with the smell of chocolate and flavors of cinnamon and wood that could easily remind you of a good bourbon. Aging it for up to 5 years then distilling it to remove the heavy metals, this Anejo is not likely to leave you dragging the next morning.
Another iconic tequila brand 1800 serves a very respectable and unique mid-tier Anejo. Aged for a minimum of 14 months, exclusively in French Oak barrels, this Anejo delivers big on sippability. Gaining hints of butterscotch with the more traditional vanilla and wood flavors, this is a tequila to be enjoyed in its most pure state. Full review here.
Herraduda Anejo is a lighter option. While it is aged for only 13 months, the process still picks up plenty of flavors of oak and subtle hints of fruits. The second distillation process pulls out some of the colors but preserves the flavors. Read the full Herradura Anejo review.
The George Straight original tequila comes with a hefty price tag that is completely justified. This Anejo has an interesting twist…almost no distinguishable aroma, then blasts with some of the fullest flavors you will find in any Anejo. This is achieved by aging exclusively in Napa Cabernet French White Oak barrels. This is a great option for a bourbon fan. Here is our full Codigo 1530 Anejo review.
Cincoro Anejo is designed to be a high-end Anejo that delivers on its expectation. Cincoro takes a page out of the whiskey playbook by blending two agave types into this single Anejo. Aged for24-28 months it gains butterscotch, fig, and dark chocolate flavors while smelling of dried fruits. Serving this Anejo will leave your guests impressed.
Casa Dragones Anejo
A different type of blended Anejo, Casa Dranones uses only new American Oak and new French Oak barrels to age their Anejo. The result is a sipping tequila that delivers high on taste with a strong nose. It is exceptionally packaged in an exquisite black bottle that looks exceptional.
Kendal Jenner’s Tequila 818 has an Anejo variety. This small-batch Anejo tequila produces a complex flavor palate back by one of the biggest social media stars on the planet. Carmel, vanilla, and hints of almond all help to distinguish this as more than a “celebrity tequila”. For those who aren’t fans of an anejo, the 818 Blanco Tequila is a good entry point.
A great value buy for what this Anejo provides. Milagro Anejo delivers a light aroma and delicate and clean flavors of vanilla, agave, and just a hint of fruitness. This is a great starter Anejo because of its lighter flavor profile and exceptionally clean finish.
Recommended Drinking Method of Anejo Tequila
While everyone is entitled and encouraged to enjoy spirits in the way and fashion that they like best; generally Anejo is considered a sipping drink. Pour a small amount of your room temperature Anejo in a short, wide opening glass (classic tumbler) and sip either straight or on the rocks.
Cocktails Recipes With Anejo Tequila
- 3 parts Anejo Tequila
- 1 part Sweet Vermouth
- 2 dashes Bitters
- Lemon Peel (optional)
Serve in a tumbler (over ice optional) with just a light stir.
Good Morning New Orleans
- 2 ounces Anejo Tequila
- 1 ounce coconut puree
- 1 ounce Pineapple Juice
- 0.5 ounces Passion Fruit Puree
- Chinese Five Spice
- Pineapple Wedge (optional)
Blend with ice until smooth. Serve in Hurricane glass.
- 1½ oz. Añejo tequila
- ½ oz. Grand Marnier
- ¾ oz. agave syrup
- 6-8 fresh mint leaves
- 4 lemon wedges
- Garnish: fresh mint sprig
Combine all ingredients in a shaker with ice. Shake, strain into a rocks glass packed with crushed ice, and garnish.
How To Store Anejo Tequila
Once you have opened a bottle of Anejo it is important to understand how to store it to best preserve its robustness and flavor. A good Anejo should be bottled with a removable cork. Simply recork your bottle and store it in a safe location that maintains room temperature. There is no need to find a dark place or use space in a wine cooler.
The use of a decanter is perfectly suitable as well, assuming that the decanter does form a good seal to preserve the aromas and flavors.
Frequently Asked Questions
How long is Anejo tequila aged?
In order for a tequila to be considered Anejo, it must age between one and three years. This extra aging is what gives the Anejo its robust flavors.
What does Anejo mean in tequila?
For tequila to be honored with the name of Anejo it must be aged for one to three years, typically in oak barrels.
Which is better anejo or resperado?
Anejo and reposado tequilas have very different uses, therefore which is better depends on how you intend to use the tequila. If you are looking for tequila for a margarita, a Reposado will suit you better. However, if you want a drink to sip, possibly over ice, an Anejo will suit you better.
What is Anejo tequila best for?
Anejo tequila is best enjoyed as a sipping drink out of a tumbler. Neat or over ice is a matter of personal preference.
How many calories in Anejo tequila?
Like with most 80 proof hard liquors, Anejo tequila contains 110 calories per 1.5 ounces serving.
How to drink anejo?
Anejo tequila is a sipping liquor. It is best when served in tumbler either neat or over large ice cubes.