The Meaning of “Reposado” Tequila

A guide to the meaning of this aged tequila type

With the rising popularity of tequila, it’s useful to understand its different types and terminology.

two salt rimmed tequila shots with lime slices

One term that often appears on tequila labels is “reposado,” which might be unfamiliar to those new to the world of this flavorful spirit. Reposado, translating to “rested” in English, refers to a specific type of tequila aged for a certain amount of time that impacts its flavors, aromas, and color.

Tequila is traditionally classified into categories based on its aging process, which determines its characteristics and flavors.

Reposado tequila spends between two months and up to one year aging, typically in American whiskey or oak barrels. This process imparts notes of vanilla, caramel, and oak, giving reposado a smoother finish compared to its younger counterpart, blanco tequila.

By exploring the meaning of reposado, tequila enthusiasts can appreciate the subtleties and complexities of this aged spirit.

This knowledge can enhance their enjoyment when tasting and choosing between the different varieties of tequila available in the market today.

What is Reposado

Reposado is a Spanish term that translates to “rested.”

In the context of alcoholic beverages, particularly tequila and mezcal, reposado refers to a specific aging process.

The spirits are aged for a minimum of two months but not more than one year in oak barrels. This aging time allows the drink to develop unique flavor profiles and a distinctive appearance when compared to its non-aged counterparts, such as blanco tequila.

The primary reason for resting tequila in oak barrels is to mellow its taste and impart additional flavors.

As reposado tequila ages inside the barrel, it absorbs the flavors from the wood, often resulting in enhanced notes of caramel, honey, vanilla, cinnamon, or even dried chocolate.

This process not only refines the taste of the tequila, but it also creates a smoother, more balanced drinking experience for the consumer.

Typically, the barrels used to age reposado tequila are American whiskey barrels or French oak barrels. These barrels impart complex flavors and characteristics to the tequila, depending on the type of wood, the previous contents of the barrel, and the duration of the aging process.

When choosing reposado tequila, it is essential to recognize the differences in taste and appearance from other classifications, such as blanco, añejo, or extra añejo.

Reposado tequila is known for its blend of bold blanco flavors combined with the added depth and nuances gained through the relatively short aging process.

Tequila Production and Aging

Tequila, a popular spirit made from the agave plant, undergoes a specific production process with various stages, including fermentation and distillation, as well as aging.

preparing the agave leaves

In this section we will discuss this process.

Fermentation and Distillation

The initial steps of tequila production involve the harvesting of mature agave plants, which are then cooked to release their sugars. The extracted juice, called “aguamiel,” is collected and fermented, usually in stainless steel tanks or wooden vats.

Following fermentation, the agave liquid is distilled at least twice to ensure purity and to create the base tequila known as Blanco or Silver tequila. Distillation typically occurs in copper pot stills, although some producers use stainless steel, which can affect the flavor profile.

Aging Process

Once the Blanco tequila is produced, it can be aged further to create Reposado tequilas.

Reposado is aged in wooden barrels or tanks for a period of 2 to 12 months, often using American oak casks previously containing whiskey.

The aging process allows the tequila to interact with the wood, imparting additional flavors and complexity, such as caramel and vanilla notes. As the tequila mellows over time, it adopts a golden hue, distinguishing it visually from its unaged counterpart.

Overall, Reposado tequila offers a deeper, more nuanced flavor profile compared to Blanco tequila, making it a popular choice for both sipping and use in mixed drinks.

Comparing Reposado with Other Tequila Classes

Reposado tequila is a popular type of tequila that distinguishes itself from other classes by its aging process and distinct flavor profile.

Reposado tequila fits nicely between the fresh, agave-focused flavors of blanco tequila and the deeper, more complex profiles of añejo and extra añejo tequilas.

Reposado tequila’s unique characteristics make it a versatile choice for both sipping and mixing in cocktails, ensuring it remains a staple in the world of tequila.

In this section, we will compare reposado with other tequila classes, including blanco, añejo, and extra añejo.


Blanco tequila, also known as silver or white tequila, is a clear spirit that is typically unaged or aged for a very short period of time.

Unlike reposado, blanco tequila often has a more straightforward, agave-forward flavor profile. While reposado tequila is aged for a minimum of 60 days in oak barrels, blanco tequila is either not aged at all or aged for less than 60 days.


Añejo tequila takes the aging process a step further than reposado, as it is aged for a minimum of one year in oak barrels.

Three glasses of tequila and lime on a dark background in the bar

This longer aging process imparts a richer, deeper flavor to the tequila, with notes of caramel, chocolate, and spices that aren’t as pronounced in reposado.

Although both reposado and añejo tequilas can be sipped neat or used in cocktails, añejo tequila is generally perceived as a more sophisticated choice, often reserved for sipping.

Extra Añejo

Extra añejo tequila is the most mature of the tequila categories, with an aging process of at least three years in oak barrels.

This prolonged aging period imparts an even more complex and refined flavor profile to the tequila compared to reposado and añejo tequilas. Characterized by deep, rich, and oaky flavors, extra añejo tequilas are typically more expensive and are often consumed as a sipping spirit or used in high-end cocktails.

Tasting Reposado

The serving method chosen should reflect the individual’s taste preferences and the specific reposado tequila being sampled.

bartender placing shots of tequila onto a tray

Different brands and expressions may offer a unique balance of flavors, aromas, and mouthfeel.

Flavor Profile

Reposado tequila, which means “rested,” is aged in barrels for at least two months, but typically less than a year, resulting in a more complex flavor profile compared to its blanco counterpart.

Often aged in American oak casks previously used for whiskey, reposado tequila exhibits a dark golden hue, and its taste is a harmonious blend of the base tequila’s classic flavors and the characteristics absorbed from the barrel.

The flavor profile of reposado tequila typically includes notes of caramel and honey, accompanied by a warm, toasty finish.

Additionally, one can expect to taste the tequila’s original citrus and spice notes complemented by hints of chocolate, chili, cinnamon, and vanilla, adding layers of complexity to the spirit.

Serving Suggestions

When serving reposado tequila, there are several options to choose from, depending on the drinker’s preference and the specific tequila being sampled.

Some popular serving suggestions include:

  • Neat: For those who want to appreciate the tequila’s aroma, flavor and smoothness, sipping it neat at room temperature is the most appropriate option.
  • Chilled: Slightly chilling the tequila in a shaker or refrigerator can mellow its taste and make it easier for drinkers to enjoy its various flavors and nuances.
  • Cocktails: Reposado tequila works excellently in cocktails, adding a depth of flavor to classic recipes such as margaritas, palomas, and tequila sunrises.

Reposado tequila, a popular option for sipping and cocktails, offers a diverse mix of flavors and aromatics.

These tequilas are aged in oak barrels for a few months, up to a year, imparting distinct characteristics. Here are some top-rated Reposado brands to consider for your next tequila experience.

  • Azuñia Reposado: An organic, 100% Blue Weber agave tequila aged in American oak barrels up to eight months. Known for its smooth, vanilla finish, it works well neat or in cocktails like a tequila mule.
  • ArteNom 1414 Reposado Tequila: Highly praised for its taste and quality, this Reposado offers a balance of agave, oak, and barrel spices that creates a delightful sipping experience.
  • Casamigos Reposado: Co-founded by George Clooney, this brand has gained popularity for its vanilla and caramel notes. The tequila is aged for seven months in American white oak barrels before bottling.
  • Clase Azul Reposado: Known for its artistic ceramic bottles, this high-quality tequila imparts baking spices, cooked agave, and toasted oak flavors, making it a luxurious option for sipping or cocktails.
  • Don Julio Reposado Tequila: A well-rounded choice, this Reposado is aged for eight months in American white oak barrels, giving it a light amber hue and flavors of citrus, cooked agave, and vanilla.
  • Herradura Reposado Tequila: Aged for 11 months in American white oak barrels, this tequila offers a mix of sweet and spicy flavors, with hints of cinnamon, dried fruit, and oak.

When selecting a Reposado tequila, it’s essential to consider your flavor preferences and desired price range. With numerous options available, there’s a Reposado tequila to suit every palate and occasion.


In conclusion, reposado is a Spanish term that translates to “rested,” and is used predominantly in the context of tequila and mezcal production.

Reposado tequila is aged between two months and one year in oak barrels, typically American whiskey barrels or French oak.

The aging process imparts a unique flavor and appearance to reposado tequila compared to its blanco counterpart, which is bottled immediately or shortly after the distillation process.

Reposado tequila offers a balanced profile, harmoniously combining the freshness of blanco tequila with the more complex, smoother aged characteristics of añejo tequila.

Blanco, reposado, and añejo tequilas cater to different palates and preferences, boasting unique flavors and aging processes.

When enjoying reposado tequila, allow it to rest for a few minutes before consumption. This simple practice can enhance the flavor and experience, giving you the opportunity to appreciate the subtleties and complexities that reposado tequila has to offer.

Please drink responsibly, be fully accountable with your alcohol consumption, and show others respect.

Written by Lauren McKenna

Lauren is a soon to be Temple University graduate. Her love of travel has introduced her to food and drinks from all over the world. She provides MyBartender with a global view of all things alcohol.

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