The Don comes to Vegas…Don Julio that is!


by Raul Faria

A few years ago I went on vacation to Cabo San Lucas in Mexico. I went to a lot of bars. A LOT of bars and I would always ask the bartender “Let’s do a shot of Tequila. Whatever you want to drink, we’ll do it together. Your personal favorite Tequila.” You know what every bartender at every bar I went to poured us? Don Julio. It was a little surprising to be honest as I had expected there to be some variation but, nope, all Don Julio. My goal beyond inadvertently being an obnoxious tourist was to find out what bartenders in Cabo would pour for themselves. Would it be super expensive ultra premium tequila in a crystal bottle with a steel bowling ball for a cap, a shotgun shaped glass bottle full of mixto Tequila made especially for the tourist set, would it be some fancy Hollywood/Musician backed tequila, nope, Don Julio each and every time. Since then Don Julio Tequila has been my “go to” choice for Tequila cocktails and shots.

When I saw the opportunity to taste all the Don Julio Tequila line side by side I jumped at the chance. The Don Julio Mentorship Mixer was the first part in their competition where they will challenge us to try and add our own take to an established Tequila cocktail classic. I’ll be posting my entry after the actual competition is determined in March. Remember that tasting anything really is a personal experience so never be afraid to say what you think you taste in any particular spirit, wine, beer, whatever really. Another good tip is to remove any pre conceived ideas about what think its going to taste like and instead focus on your personal experience with what you are tasting at that moment. Here are my notes and impressions on the Don Julio line.

Don Julio Blanco

Aroma– Rich, almost sweet aroma of marshmallow and vanilla. Very similar to a Cachaca.

Taste– Clean with a slight herbal finish. Clean and crisp throughout.

Don Julio Blanco is the base for all the other tequilas they make in their line. This is the heart of their products so any variation is due to barrel aging or filtration processes. I LOVE making Margaritas with Don Julio Blanco, it adds such a livelier, crisper and overall fresher taste than other tequilas I have tried.

Don Julio Reposado

Aroma– Way more calm and “drier” aroma of mild vanilla and slightly herbal notes than in the blanco.

Taste– Very smooth with notes of mild caramel and vanilla with an herbaceous and slightly astringent finish.

Don Julio Reposado spends 8 months in American white oak barrels so that helps calm down those livelier, fresher aromas we picked up in the blanco.

Don Julio Anejo

Aroma– a bit similar to Reposado on the nose with mild spice and notes of brown sugar.

Taste– Very smooth with notes of caramel and vanilla and a body similar to lush water. Don Julio Anejo is aged for 18 months in small batches. This was one of my personal favorites at the tasting. I found it really impressive that a spirit at 40% abv could have body like and show traits of “lush water”. It tasted like a gulp of Evian or Fiji.

Don Julio 70 Anejo Claro

Aroma– strong honey on the nose with vanilla, caramel and a little brown sugar coming though.

Taste– Similar to the Anejo with the lush water but softer spice notes and a bit crisper.

Don Julio 70 makes their Anejo “Claro” by reverse filtering, meaning they take Don Julio Anejo and run it through a carbon filtering process that removes specific flavor traits and leaves behind others that may have been drowned out by the other more forward flavors found in the original Anejo.

Don Julio 1942

Aroma– Spice and vanilla for sure with heat on the nose as well.

Taste– clean and crisp with brown sugar, a little bit of a crème brulee burnt sugar vibe too with an almost whiskey like heat.

Aged for 2.5 years Don Julio 1942 was created for the 60th anniversary of the founding of Don Julio Tequila.

Don Julio REAL

Aroma– Cognac like with rich vanilla and caramel, sweet, slightly herbal and a bit…”airy”. The airy descriptor is what I’m talking about when I say “don’t be afraid to say something weird” lol. I got an aroma of almost like a spring breeze, as corny as that sounds. I’m assuming that may be due to the extensive barrel aging and herbal characteristics of the agave.

Taste– A little touch of that lush water note with a little sweet cinnamon spice.

Here was another all star for me as well. Don Julio REAL is considered an “Extra Anejo” Tequila and is aged between 3-5 years. It also has probably the coolest box ever. It totally does the Linda Carter Wonder Woman spin. Check it out and tell me I’m wrong:)

I’d like to thank Davin Homan from Don Julio, Andrea Jimenez from Diageo and the USBG for putting on the event and also a special shout out to Keegan Gentry and the staff at Heraea at the Palms Hotel and Casino for hosting the event.











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1 Comment(s)

  1. […] that refuses to go along with the status quo. I like Tequila (check out my impressions of the Don Julio line for proof) but I love Mezcal, for all the reasons I just listed. Its got as much flavor and depth […]

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