HomeSipTequila ReviewsFortaleza Tequila Review: Blanco, Reposado, Añejo and Other Expressions

Fortaleza Tequila Review: Blanco, Reposado, Añejo and Other Expressions

by Lucas Assis
Courtesy, Lucas Assis Youtube

Even though Fortaleza formally launched in 2005, the brand’s roots are really in 1873, when Fortaleza’s great-great-grandfather, Don Cenobio, founded La Perseverancia, his first distillery, in the town of Tequila in 1873. Fun fact: he is also the reason we call “mezcal de tequila” just tequila.

If you find yourself in the town of Tequila, you should definitely consider booking a tour of their distillery. If you’re unfamiliar with Fortaleza or don’t think you’ll be able to schedule a tour of the distillery anytime soon, you can start with my video from my visit back in April of last year. In the meantime, I’ll also tell you about a couple of my favorite Fortaleza expressions so you can bring a taste of them to you. Let’s get started.

Table of Contents:

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Find Fortaleza Near You

Under each expression, we’ve shared a few links where you can find the bottle online (if it is readily available at online sellers). Fortaleza’s website also has lists of where you can find the brand within the US and Mexico:

USA: Bars, Restaurants and Retail Stores with Fortaleza Tequila
Mexico: Barres, Resturantes y Tiendas con Tequila Fortaleza

Now to the expressions…

Classic Fortaleza Expressions

Still Strength

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When I was thinking about what expression to kick this off with, I thought what would be better than the purest form of Fortaleza Tequila, which flows directly from the still to the bottle. What makes this expression so unique is that no water is added to bring the proof down. Fortaleza distills this at 46 abv, which is different from most other distilleries, where it is distilled to around 55 abv and watered down to a desired proof of around 40 abv. 

Fortaleza Blanco

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The same still strength tequila but the proof is brought down to 40 abv with water. Basically, it’s the same delicious tequila with a little bit less of a bite.


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The still strength is rested in American oak for six months before it is brought down to proof with water. All of the barrels Fortaleza uses are re-chipped and re-charred and vary greatly in age. Some are newer while others have been used multiple times. As a result, you may notice that the color and taste of Fortaleza’s aged expressions will always vary from batch to batch. That’s the beauty of it.


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The still strength is aged in American oak for 18 months, and later brought down to proof with water. Same thing goes for all the Añejo barrels: re-chipped and re-charred so all very greatly in age and in the color of the finished tequila.

But you guys know that the real reason I got into this whole thing is because of the awesome stories and histories you learn throughout crafting drinks, so I thought I’d share a cool story about this special expression. 

Lot 43 & 42 A

There has been a lot of speculation around the production of Lot 43 and 42 and if there was an error during the process. Now, the miscalculation has created two of the most popular bottles in Fortaleza history. These lots date back to 2018. Remy Newland, who is one of the most respected figures in the tequila industry, told me the story as she heard it from Khrys Maxwell. Khrys, who worked with Fortaleza as a global ambassador for many years, and Kobe Desmet, who is still a global Fortaleza ambassador. One important note before we get into this story is that Fortaleza has never released an Extra Añejo in their history. 

Back then Fortaleza was already in high demand and I believe they weren’t working the 24/6 schedule they have now. They just didn’t have an Añejo to their standard of aging. The oldest tequila they had was 12 months old, but they were also aging some 50 month Extra Añejo. So, Guillermo decided to use that XA and blend it with some of the Añejo at 12 months to add complexity and depth. An employee was told to add a certain amount of Extra Anejo to the Anejo. She made a mistake at the end and added 63% Extra Añejo. The result ended up being that the lot 42A and 43A are 63% 50-month Extra Añejo and 37% 12 month Añejo. There is no real difference between the 42 and 43 lots. Although 43A did spend some more time in a stainless-steel tank, so there might be some differences between the lots. They were all blended together, but, at the time of bottling, they ran out of bottles, and the stainless steel tank had to be sealed. By the CRT’s standards (The governing body of Tequila), that constitutes a new batch. To wrap things up, that’s why there are two lot names. Now, it’s one of the most sought after Fortaleza bottles. 

More info on Fortaleza’s other special expressions

Fortaleza Lot 100

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For the milestone of the 100th batch, Fortaleza changed its recipe a bit.

Fortaleza has always used valley agaves, which are known for their minerality, boldness, and herbal notes. But for the Lot 100, they used highland agaves, which are known for the floral and fruit-forward notes. For the first time, they also distilled the Tequila to 80 proof (or 40 abv). No water is added. This produced a beautifully creamy, fruit-forward blend, but it is still a mineral and bold tequila. One of my favorites of all time.

Agaves de la Villa or Lote #20-S

The Fortaleza distillery sits on a beautiful property filled with blue weber agaves. This expression was the first time that Fortaleza used agaves grown on their very own land. It still features the usual still-strength tequila we know and love but with the special touch of using their own agaves.

Winter Blend 2019

The winter blends is a great project led by Stefano Francavilla and Kobe Desmet, where the two blended different barrels and created some amazing tequila with the heart and soul of Fortaleza. It comes out during winter, hence the name Winter Blend. The 2019 edition of the winter blend is their classic reposado rested in American oak barrels for 6 months and another reposado rested in French oak for 10 months.

Winter Blend 2020

The 2020 was a blend of three different barrels. For starters, they used an American oak barrel that had previously held beer for 12 months and added their still-strength Blanco and rested it in that barrel for 6 months. They also reused the French oak barrels that were used for the Winter Blend in 2019 and rested it for another six months. Finally, they used their famous “regular” American oak reposado that had rested for six months. When all three of the barrels were blended together, it created the masterpiece known as the Winter Blend 2020.

Winter Blend 21

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This blend was a little different from 2019 and 2020. They used French oak barrels that had previously held Marsala wine, which is a fortified wine from Sicily. (Stefano is Italian so there’s a tie in there). They filled the barrels with the still-strength Blanco, rested that for two months, emptied the barrels, and refilled it again with the still-strength Blanco. That time, it rested for four months. After emptying that barrel, they repeat the process once more by refilling the barrel again with the still-strength and let it rest for another four months. Basically, this means the blend rested for a total of ten months with three different refills. Once all of that was blended together, it was also blended with their regular reposado in American oak.

Winter Blend 2022

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For this one, Stefano and Kobe got a hold of Hungarian oak barrels that previously held Tokaji wine. At first, the Hungarian oak barrels were filled with their still-strength Blanco for six months, then emptied out and refilled again with the still-strength Blanco, where it rested for five months. They also used a French oak barrel that previously held Oloroso sherry. They once again filled the barrel with their still-strength Blanco, rested it for six months, then emptied it out and refilled it again with the still-strength Blanco for five months. Those four barrels were blended together and blended with their regular reposado in American oak. The proof was later brought down to around 43 abv, which created the final product referred to as the Winter Blend 2022.

Lucas Assis
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