What Makes A Joven Tequila Different From a Blanco?
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What Makes A Joven Tequila Different From a Blanco?

Joven Tequila

Photo: Alex Markow / Stringer

If you’ve ever seen a joven tequila on the shelf, you’ve probably wondered what makes it different from other tequila expressions. Some jovens are crystal clear like a blanco, while others bear the slight tint of a reposado.

In truth, they are usually a combination of the two.

What is A Joven Tequila?

Joven Tequila

Credit: Refugio Ruiz / Stringer

A joven is a tequila blanco that has been blended with aged tequilas like a reposado or an añejo.

This can be a bit confusing since joven translates to ‘young’ in English, when really this tequila is anything but.

Generally, joven tequilas come in one of two varieties.

On the one hand, you’ll find amber-tinted jovens whose hue proudly bears their aged roots. During production, these are created through the straightforward blending of blanco and aged tequilas without the aid of post-processing or filtration.

Alternatively, there are clear joven tequilas whose lack of color is achieved through the increasingly popular method of charcoal filtration. During charcoal filtration, producers expose aged tequilas to activated carbon which removes their whiskey-like tint while still retaining the oaky flavor of their barreling.

In this respect, joven tequilas or not to be confused with cristalino tequilas, which also utilize charcoal filtration. Cristalinos are not blended batches, but fully aged añejos which are filtered for clarity. If you’d like to read more, you can dive into the world of cristalino tequila here.

What does Joven Tequila Taste Like?

The ideal joven can combine the outwardly fruity, floral-centric palate of a blanco with the oak or caramel tinted notes of an aged expression. Results will vary based on how much of each the joven is blended with – generally speaking, a joven’s mix tends more towards blanco than reposado or añejo.

Once you get into charcoal filtration though, things get a bit more controversial. Some claim that filtration dilutes the oaky flavor of aged tequilas, while others will tell you that filtration enhances floral and mineral-leaning undertones. Others will tell you charcoal filtration does little more than clarify the spirit.

Regardless of where your opinions lie, jovens of any variety have a palate uniquely their own.

Who Makes Joven Tequila?

Below is a tour through some of the most notable joven tequila producers on the market.

Casa Dragones Joven

Joven Tequila

Arguably the company that single-handedly popularized the charcoal filtered joven trend, Casa Dragones is an ultra-premium tequila brand recommended by Vogue, Epicurious and Oprah alike.

Their flagship joven is a blend of blanco and American oak rested añejo tequila. Though Casa Dragones has gone on to sell those blanco and añejo expressions individually, they are undeniably most famous for their joven, particularly given that it was the only expression that they produced for their first five years of operation.

Casa Dragones’ bright, citrus palate has been a hit among critics, but it should be noted that its “ultra-premium” status is accompanied by a hefty $300 price tag.

Find Casa Dragones Joven at Reserve Bar.

Casa Noble Tequila Joven

Joven Tequila

If you’re looking for a joven which actually looks like an aged tequila, Casa Noble Joven has proved a popular pick. Co-owned by rock legend Carlos Santana, Casa Noble makes its potent 51 abv, thrice -distilled joven from a mix of blanco and six week aged reposado.

Hints of vanilla, mint and lemon are accompanied by a musty barrel-aged flavor and a notably high ABV. If you want to try it for yourself, Casa Noble Joven retails for $73.

Find Casa Noble Tequila Joven at Reserve Bar.

Suave Joven

Joven Tequila

Suave Tequila is a newcomer to the industry with a fascinating pitch for their joven. Suave Joven alleges to be a five part mix of blanco, one-month aged reposado, nine-month aged reposado, añejo and extra añejo tequilas.

In many ways, Suave Joven advertises itself as the final frontier of joven tequilas. Its palate, which juggles flavors of cinammon, nutmeg, grapes, cherries and more, is similarly complex. A bottle of this smorgasbord of a tequila will cost $120.

Find Suave Joven at Old Town Tequila.

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