With no aging, all tequilas come from the still as a clear blanco. However, as these agave distillates are barrel-matured to become reposados, añejos, or extra añejos, they take on ever-deepening hues that run the gamut from pale yellow to deep golden brown, depending upon the length of time they spend in oak and the types of barrels used. However, the just-released crystal-clear Herradura Ultra ($70) may give pause to those connoisseurs who claim they can tell whether a tequila is an añejo (which must be barrel-aged from 1 to 3 years) or an extra añejo (over 3 years old, and often much older) simply by its color, without having to taste it.
To create this surprising spirit, Herradura blends a 25-month-old añejo with its premium Selección Suprema extra añejo, which has been aged for up to 49 months in ex-bourbon barrels. However, after adding a subtle hint of pure agave nectar to this superpremium combination, the distillery strips out the color using a proprietary method of filtration. The result is a clear, 80-proof añejo with top notes of citrus and vanilla overlaying a complex tapestry of caramel, dried fruit, and almonds. Rather than trying to determine what classification Herradura Ultra falls under, aficionados should simply enjoy this crystalline, complex tequila, chilled and straight up. (herradura.com)