Best Blanco Tequilas: Outsider-Approved

by Shannon Terry

Tequila that has not been aged in a barrel.

Also commonly known as silver, plata, or white, Blanco is the purest expression of Tequila, as it does not take on any flavors from the barrel. Master distillers refer to Blanco as “the essence of tequila,” as it has the most agave-forward taste. Whether shaken, stirred, or sipped on its own, Blanco tequila is the most consumed expression and is the foundation of your tequila stock.

Outsider seeks out additive-free products when possible, which is non-negotiable when selecting a blanco. Mexico’s Tequila Regulatory Council (CRT) permits additives in Tequila if they do not exceed 1% of total volume; however, tequila brands are not required to disclose additive use on the label. The team behind Tequila Matchmaker launched a “Verified Additive Free” program for tequila brands and distilleries in July 2020 and is an accurate guide to which brands and expressions represent Tequila in its truest form.

Choosing the right blanco is a personal decision based on taste profile. Outsider has selected a handful of blancos that are additive-free, distilled by masters, and hold the highest ratings by aficionados. Avoid all mass-produced and celebrity-hyped tequilas, and find a few that meet your aroma, taste preferences, and budget. Authentic blancos will up your cocktail game, pair perfectly with a splash of soda or juice, and are complex enough even for sipping.

Restaurants and bars generally follow consumer trends toward mass-marketed tequila, so it is not always easy to find high-quality and clean blancos. We’ve reviewed the following, and all pass the test. Depending on your taste profile, you will have a favorite, but these are all winners, and with scarcity, it is best to know as many great blancos as possible:

The Best of the Best Blanco Tequilas

Based on quality and price, these Blanco tequilas are highly recommended and should be staples in your collection. The ranking is only that of personal preference with a full explanation listed below.

Outsider will continue to add to and update this list.

Tequila G4 Blanco

Rating: 92 | Additive Free
Value Rating: 5-stars
NOM: 1579
MSRP: $44
Instagram: @G4Tequilas
The name G4 stands for Four Generations of tequila mastery. Third-generation master tequilero Felipe Camarena, and his sons’ honor traditions started in 1937 while innovating and crafting near-perfect, sustainable tequila that is natural and additive-free. Agava from the high lands, natural spring, and rainwater are combined, twice distilled in copper pots, and rested in stainless tanks for oxygenation leading to a smooth product. “I’m not in the business of making fancy bottles. I’m in the business of making great tequila,” notes Camarena.  Both statements are true as it relates to G4’s blanco.
Tasting Notes: Incredibly smooth with a great balance of agave-forward tastes and soft earth, minerals, and citrus notes. A hint of pepper. 
Recommendation: G4’s Blanco is one of our favorites and arguably our no. 1 recommendation. This traditional Blanco is a high-quality tequila a great value, and is more available than many of the comps. It is great for a summer sip or a great-tasting fresh cocktail. We highly recommend it be a staple in your stock.  When you see it on the shelves, pick up a bottle and immediately call a friend.

Fortaleza Blanco

Rating: 92 | Additive Free
Value Rating: 5-stars
NOM: 1493
MSRP: $48.00
Instagram: @destilerialafortaleza
Fortaleza is made in small batches using old-world techniques. Cooked in a brick oven, crushed with an old-fashion tahona, fermented in wood tanks and twice distilled in small copper pots. While inefficient, this process speaks to the tequila’s extraordinary quality. The hand-blown bottles and hand-painted corks are stunning and wonderfully showcase this amazing tequila.
Tasting Notes: Aromas of cooked agave and hints of citrus and pepper. Tastes of rich cooked agave, olive, butter, pepper, and a hint of spice. Finish starts smooth and opens up with some heat and pepper.
Recommendation: Fortaleza is a 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 true rustic and authentic blanco that is complex, but still easy to drink should stockpile this one.

Cascahuin Tahona Blanco

Rating: 92 | Additive Free
Value Rating: 4-stars
NOM: 1123
MSRP: $80
Instagram: @cascahuin
From a family-owned distiller founded in 1904, this Blanco is created with old-world techniques. The best agave, slow roasting in stone ovens, a traditional stone tahona, deep well water, and cooper pot distillation.
Tasting Note: 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 Blanco if you didn’t tell us.
Recommendation: One of our favorite Blancos and one the smoothest higher proof (84 proof / 42% ABV) we’ve tasted. Cooked agave and minerality are evident with a clean and smooth finish. Highly recommend it for sipping, and it would be great in a margarita.

Volans Blanco

Rating: 92 | Additive Free
Value Rating: 4-stars
NOM: 1579
MSRP: $47-70
Instagram: @volanstequila
Volans is another masterpiece by Felipe Camarena of NOM 1579 Destileria El Pandillo and owned and managed by Lonnie Allen, Chad Allen, and Cristina Allen, proprietors of the Three Rivers Ranch in Warm River Idaho. Volans is made from fully mature Blue Weber agave and is a mix of three sources of water – rainwater, 450 ft deep well water, and spring water. G4 only uses two sources.
Tasting Notes: This Blanco is bursting with agave and has a well-balanced profile of mineralality, butter, and a hint of smoke and citrus.
Recommendation: Overall, this is a perfect sipping Blanco that balances flavor complexities and is easy to sip. If you enjoy sipping Blancos, you should add this to your collection. Arguably, our favorite Blanco sipper.

Siete Leguas Blanco

Rating: 90 | Additive Free
Value Rating: 5-stars
NOM: 1120
MSRP: $50
Instagram: @tequilasieteleguas
Siete Leguas means seven leagues and was the name of Pancho Villa’s favorite house. It also is the distance a man can travel on a horse (21 miles) in one day. From the beginning in 1952, Siete Laguas has remained family-owned and operated, focused on traditional practices and the highest quality tequila. It has two distilleries located 150 yards apart and grow their own agaves in fields nearby. Siete Leguas is best known for producing the original Patron tequila, from 1988 to 2002. Patron later opened their own distillery, as Siete Leguas couldn’t keep up with demand. That hasn’t stopped the family from continuing to produce great tequila.
Tasting Notes: Agave forward with definite oily/mineral notes and texture. Smooth and buttery with light pepper and fruit. Not overly complex, but loaded with flavor.
Recommendation: One of the favorites of the tequila aficionado community, Siete Leguas is a traditional Blanco, more available than most additive free tequilas and a sold value typically found under $50.00. Highly recommend and serves as a benchmark for which other Blancos can be judged.

Lalo Tequila Blanco

Rating: 89 | Additive Free
Value Rating: 4-stars
NOM: 1468
MSRP: $46.99
Instagram: @lalospirits
The brand was launched by Eduardo Gonzalez, grandson of Don Julio Gonzalez, who started the tequila brand Don Julio in 1942. Distilled by Group Tequilero Mexico, Lalo is a contract brand headquartered in Austin, Texas. Lalo uses matured agaves (6-7 years), slow cooked for up to 32 hours in stone brick ovens, roller-mill maceration, open air fermentation with champagne yeast, twice distilled and oxygenated and cold filter for a smooth finish.
Tasting Notes: Agave on the nose and smooth on the palate with pepper, and a hint of smoke and citrus.
Recommendation: Not the most complex Blanco, but easy drinking, delicious and clean on aroma and taste. A solid tequila that is expected to become more available in the future. This is one of our go to recommendation for sipping on the rocks or in a cocktail.

Los Dos Tequila Blanco

Rating: 88 | Additive Free
Value Rating: 4-stars
NOM: 1414
MSRP: $44-$50
Instagram: @losdostequila
Another strong tequila from NOM 1414 by master distiller Sergio Cruz. Champagne yeast, fermented in stainless tanks with classical music. Twice distilled in copper pots, then rested for six weeks in stainless tanks for a smooth finish. The label was the first in the tequila world to gain approval to claim no additives on the bottle.
Tasting Notes: Agave forward with minerals, cinnamon, and pepper. Some fruit but not overly sweet. Very clean, with an incredibly smooth finish.
Recommendation: Would recommend it to a friend looking for a clean and smooth drinking Blanco. Not an old-school, rustic, traditional Blanco. A solid go-to and a value in this price range. Lot #1 was more complex and complete than Lot #2, and Lot #3 is expected to take on more of the Lot #1 profile.

Wild Common Tequila Blanco

Rating: NR | Additive Free
NOM: 1123
MSRP: $70
Tasting Notes: & Recommendation: Waiting to review.

What to buy if you want to drink or mix with Blanco and must settle

Admittedly, the most premium, best Blanco tequilas can sometimes be hard to find — especially at restaurants. Sometimes we have to settle, and the Codigo 1530 and Don Julio Blanco serve a purpose and are solid selections.

  1. Codigo 1530 (NOM 1616) $45.00 – 50.00
    Backed by Country music legend George Strait, Codigo was co-founded by Crocs footwear executive Ron Snyder. Cooked from an autoclave and fermented with baking yeast, Codigo 1530 is the only “celebrity tequila” that is confirmed additive-free by Tequila Matchmaker. Codigo 1530 has some agave-forward taste and aroma but has a definite pepper and alcohol profile. Because of its distilling process and no additives, it’s hot and rough. The flavor is good, but this is not a sipping Blanco at all, and we recommend that you only use it in cocktails.
  2. Don Julio Blanco (NOM 1449) $40.00 – $50.00
    Cost aside — should be priced at $10.00 cheaper, but strangely we all pay up for the name brands. Don Julio Blanco is a solid product and is suitable for making cocktails. Yes, it is loaded with additives and over-priced for the lack of quality. Still, this famous brand has a loyal following. Aside from its heavy alcohol taste profile, Don Julio Blanco performs well in most blind taste tests — solid agave forward, pepper, and citrus. It can be a go-to for cocktails, but the heavy alcohol profile places it well below our similarly priced Outsider Best of the Best Blancos list. Overall, mix it but never sip it and buy it only when you have to.

What NEVER to buy

We’ve all been there. Assuming high prices mean higher quality. That is certainly not the case with tequila. The best Blanco tequilas are not overly-priced, nor do they come in extravagant bottles. See Outsider’s list of Tequila Brands to avoid.