Outsider has researched and tasted more than a hundred expressions this year with an emphasis on additive-free and authentic traditionally-produced tequila.
Every tequila on the Outsider Approved list is excellent and high quality. You will like some more than others because everyone’s taste profile is different. The more Outsider Approved brands you know, the better because they are not always easy to find.
We are not influencers and do not receive compensation for these recommendations. Our recommendations are 100% independent and solely our opinions. Your list may differ, and that is okay.
We avoid special, small-batch lots in most cases. There are some great tequilas not listed, but this list is primarily tequilas we feel you can find. We are also highly skeptical of highly commercialized brands and celebrity tequilas. In most cases, we find these commercialized tequilas are loaded with additives, pale in quality, and significantly more expensive.
Outsider Approved Perfect Lineup
There are so many great brands and expressions beyond our Outsider Approved Perfect Flight. The following are all great tequilas and have our stamp of approval. Happy hunting!
Blanco tequila has not been aged in a barrel, making it the purest expression of tequila, Master distillers refer to it as “the essence of tequila,” as it has the most agave-forward flavors. These are the Outsider-Approved best tequila blancos:
Tequila G4 Blanco
Third-generation master tequilero Felipe Camarena created the highest-quality tequila at the best value combo of any tequila we’ve ever tasted. This additive-free, agave-forward blanco with soft earth, minerals, citrus notes, and a hint of pepper can be both sipped and the foundation of any cocktail.
Learn more about the entire G4 Collection here.
With more than 125 years of history in the tequila industry (the Sauza family), Fortaleza is a small batch and true aficionado’s tequila. Renowned aficionado and Tequila Matchmaker founder Grover Sanschargrin calls it “probably the best blanco on the planet.” Those looking for a truly rustic and authentic blanco that is complex, but still easy to drink should stockpile this one.
A little more difficult to find, but we highly recommend Fortaleza Blanco (Still Strength) $60. This 92-proof blanco is an all-time great on our list of favorite blancos. Agave, pepper, citrus and so smooth for a higher proof. Would likely be our highest-rated blanco if it was easy to get.
Cascahuin Tahona Blanco
From a family-owned distiller founded in 1904, this blanco is created with old-world techniques. Loads of cooked agave on the nose and the palette. Minerality jumps out with a hint of pepper and citrus. Incredibly smooth finish, and we wouldn’t know this is a higher-proof (84 proof / 42% ABV) blanco if you didn’t tell us. Despite its high price for a blanco, we highly recommend it for sipping, and it would be great in a margarita.
If it were easier to get, we would rank it even higher. This contract brand, created by Felipe Camarena of NOM 1579 Destileria El Pandillo, uses three different water sources (G4 uses only two). Bursting with agave and has a well-balanced profile of minerality, butter, and a hint of smoke and citrus Volans is a perfect sipping blanco that balances flavor complexities and is incredibly smooth.
Siete Lequas Blanco
Agave forward with definite oily/mineral notes and texture. Smooth and buttery with light pepper and fruit. Not overly complex, but loaded with flavor. One of the favorites of the tequila aficionado community, Siete Leguas is a traditional blanco, more available than most additive-free tequilas, and is a solid value typically under $50.00. Highly recommend and serves as a benchmark for which other blancos can be judged.
Lalo Tequila Blanco
Launched by Eduardo Gonzalez, grandson of Don Julio Gonzalez, who started the tequila brand Don Julio in 1942, Lalo is a contract brand headquartered in Austin, Texas. Only in blanco, Lalo is easy to drink, delicious and clean in aroma and taste.
Los Dos Tequila Blanco
Los Dos is a contract brand originating from NOM 1414 by tequila master distiller Sergio Cruz. The label was the first in the tequila world to gain approval to claim no additives on the bottle. Agave forward with minerals, cinnamon, and pepper. Some fruit but not overly sweet. Recommended to those looking for a clean and smooth drinking blanco rather than an old-school, rustic, traditional blanco.
Reposado tequila is translated as “rested” and is aged in oak barrels for at least 2 months and up to 12 months. It serves a mix of agave-forwarded flavors with a hint of oakiness from the barrel.
Tequila Tapatio Reposado
Don Felipe Camarena Hernandez began selling Tapatio Tequila in 1940, but this iconic tequila just made it to the United States in the past few years. Today, Master Distiller Carlos Camarena is carrying on his grandfather’s legacy of producing artisanal, handmade tequila. Outsider loves all of Tapatio’s expression, but the Reposado is perhaps the hidden gem of the tequila industry. Tequila lovers that like the additive-based sweet profile of Casamigos and Clasa Azul will love Tapatio’s blend of agave forward with just the right balance of oak, vanilla, caramel, and pepper. At a great price, availability, and high quality, Tapatio is a workhorse Reposado.
El Tesoro Tequila Reposado
From the same distillery that produces Tequila Tapatio, the El Tesoro brand was launched in 1989 and is owned by Beam Suntory (Jim Beam). El Tesoro is a highlands tequila crafted using the same traditional methods as Tapatio. El Tesoro gets the Beam barrel first, then it is passed on for use in Tequila Tapatio. The reposado spends nine to 11 months in used bourbon barrels creating an oak sweetness that will appeal to bourbon/whiskey drinkers. At a great value, this reposado is readily available and easily one of our favorites.
Siete Leguas Reposado
Using two factories to ensure the most consistent tequila in the industry, Siete Leguas Reposado is aged in used bourbon barrels. It is a very clean-tasting tequila, similar to the blanco, but with a hint of vanilla and oak from the gentle barrel aging. We are fans of the blanco, and also buyers of the reposado.
Fortaleza reposado is the perfect balance of an agave-forward blanco with oak and cinnamon characteristics from lite aging in a barrel. This reposado would be our No. 1 overall choice for making cocktails.
Añejo is aged in barrels for at least a year, and up to three years. The agave-flavor is replaced by the wood barrel’s tasting notes, including oak, fruit and vanilla. The aging process gives this expression it’s classic amber color.
Fortaleza anejo one of the most coveted tequilas in the world and holds a firm spot on our top Outsider Approved list. Because it’s a small-batch, their expressions take different flavor profiles from the various lotes. Aged for 18 months in American oak barrels, the anejo yields an agave forward, oak, vanilla, fruit and pepper profile. Fortaleza anejo (Fortaleza doesn’t offer an extra anejo) is one of our favorite all-time sipping tequilas.
Ocho Tequila Anejo
Ocho is produced in collaboration between Tomas Estes (the man credited with bringing the ﬁrst bottle of Tequila to Europe) and the Camarena family (Tapatio & El Tesoro). Ocho is the first tequila to designate both the year it was produced and the precise field from which the agave was harvested, as is done with fine wines. Ocho is a solid casual sipper with light oak influences (Jim Beam barrels after use in El Tesoro, then Tapatio, then Ocho), is not overly sweet, and has the presence of cooked agave.
Extra Añejo is the newest expression of tequila, as it was established as a new category in 2006. This tequila is aged in barrels for at least 3 years, making it a deeper, richer, more complex version of a classic añejo.
G4 Extra Anejo
Incredibly smooth with a great balance of agave-forward tastes and soft oakiness with vanilla and citrus notes. A small hint of smoke. G4’s Extra Anejo is one of our favorite sipping tequilas at a reasonable price for an XA. It uses older barrels for aging (3 years), allowing for agave forward taste without the oak taking over. This XA is a great sipper during a hot day at the pool or sitting by the fire at night. Probably not your whiskey or bourbon drinker’s tequila, but outstanding balance and not too sweet. An excellent choice for women looking to try an additive-free luxury Extra Anejo sipper.
Tears of Llorona Extra Anejo
Described by many as one of the two best extra anejos in the world, this tequila is the one if you love whiskey, scotch, bourbon, and cognac. Tears of Llorona is handcrafted by Master Distiller German Gonazalez, one of the most celebrated tequileros in the world. From NOM 1146, Tears of Llorona is made from agave from Los Altos. It is crafted from three different barrels for five years – scotch barrels for the dryness, brandy for the sweetness, and sherry for fruitiness. This XA is the ultimate sipper with the perfect balance of oak, vanilla, caramel, and smoke.
Tequila Tapatio Excelencia
Tequila Tapatio Excelencia is “the gold standard for American oak-aged extra-anejos,” according to the Tequila Hombre. A full-bodied XA, Excelencia is aged for five years in bourbon barrels, then rested in glass for ten years (first version). Excelencia offers a complete flavor profile of agave, vanilla, butterscotch, and citrus with heat on the backend. Carlos Camarena is a true artist, producing the XA that all others are judged against.