At the age of 17 in 1942, Don Julio Gonzalez opened his first tequila distillery and his name has been virtually synonymous with luxury, widely available tequila ever since. The name now tags a portfolio of 100% blue agave tequilas with a taste for everyone, from the light sweetness of its Blanco to its caramel 1942 Añejo. The matter of favorites among the line is one of personal choice; some really enjoy the distinct pepper kick of the Real and 1942 while the smooth sipping Añejo is perfect for others.
Don Julio Blanco has a nose filled with tones of caramel and sweet, baked agave, reminiscent of eating agave right out of the ovens. The thickness is surprising in a blanco and it holds a scrumptious caramel flavor straight through to the finish. This crisp tequila is ideal for mixing in any tequila cocktail the mind can imagine.
- Retails for around $50/750 mL bottle
- No aging; bottled immediately
The Reposado tequila produced by Don Julio is a gem of its kind, as it should be considering the master tequilero revolutionized the Reposado category’s production. It has notes of cinnamon and honey with a slightly smoky finish and herbal flavors throughout. Do what you will with this tequila; neat, chilled, mixed, it’s all good here.
- Retails for around $55/750mL bottle
- Aged for 8 months
Thick, fragrant and luscious, Don Julio Añejo is my personal favorite of the brand. It is nothing but sweet and smooth, very brandy-like. The Añejo opens with an essence of oak, rose and sweet agave, with a light entry, is quickly followed by caramel with ever-so-slight chocolate notes that are simultaneously robust and smooth. The finish is warm, long and oaky, as well as being filled with real agave sweetness.
- Retails for around $60/750mL bottle
- Aged for 18 months
The taste of Don Julio 1942 reflects its name in terms of being old, distinguished and refined (although it is not from 1942, just a commemorative bottling). This thick, straw-colored aged tequila is filled with the aroma of cherry, vanilla, and fresh-cut straw to show off its complexity. It tastes of warm oak and cinnamon with a long brown sugar finish blasted by notes of pepper.
- Retails for around $125/750mL bottle
- Aged for at least 2 1/2 years
- Try it in a V.I.C. (Very Important Cocktail)
Real Extra Anejo
Beyond the Anejo, the extra aging of the two tequilas at the top of the line adds some interesting notes, and, accordingly, five years in oak make the experience of Don Julio Real anything but boring. Its nose is filled with oak and herbs with a hint of citrus while the palate wavers between rich dark chocolate-caramel and a peppery note which makes an additional appearance in the finish.
- Retails for around $350/750mL bottle
- Aged for 3 to 5 years
Disclosure: Review samples were provided by the manufacturer.