Añejo is the next stage of aged tequila, stuff that’s been in repose from one to three years. It also has to be aged in small batches (in barrels of 600 liters or less) to receive the añejo designation. Añejo tequila picks up even more flavor notes from the barrel, and a darker amber coloring. These are the kind of tequilas that get talked about like bourbon, with notes of honey, oak, and vanilla, alongside roasted agave.
It’s also a category that lends itself to experimentation, and Don Julio has taken full advantage of that, producing three variants in the añejo class. There’s Añejo, which is aged for 18 months in American white oak; Don Julio 1942, aged two and a half years, and named for the year founder Don Julio González began his tequila making journey; and Don Julio 70, the world’s first añejo claro variety—created in 2012 to commemorate the brand’s 70th anniversary. Developed over a seven-year period by Master Distiller Enrique De Colsa, Don Julio 70 is aged for 18 months, then charcoal filtered—a process that strips away some of the typical añejo notes of toasted wood while restoring the fresh, vegetal flavors found in Don Julio Blanco. The result is a clear añejo—though the color change was not the primary objective—that combines the best of the blanco and añejo flavor profiles.