By Dane Rivera

We are deep into spirits competition season, and the awards and accolades keep rolling out! This is great news for anyone who has ever found themselves at the liquor aisle puzzled about which bottles to buy. If you don’t have a friend who is deep into tequila (I’m hurt, are we not friends?) then spirit competitions, despite their flaws, are a pretty safe bet for recommendations.

What I love about the London Spirits Competition is that in addition to scoring a bunch of great bottles of every type of liquor, they are one of the few spirit-tasting competitions out there to assign a “Tequila of the Year.” I like the organization’s ability to put its foot down and say “this is the best tequila you can buy,” even if I don’t always agree.

This year, the winner of Tequila of the Year is Cierto with their silver-label Reserve Collection Añejo. This is a premium bottle of tequila that’ll cost you north of $200 at most retailers. But does it live up to the hype?

Well, we’ve tasted it, and we have a lot of thoughts on the matter!

Before we get into what this stuff tastes like, here is a little bit about how the London Spirits Competition judges each spirit. The organization gives a score for three categories:

  • Quality, which is assessed based on the appearance, aroma, body, taste and aftertaste of the liquid.
  • Value, how good the quality is for the price.
  • Packaging, which looks at how creative the design is, the quality of the label and the back-bar/store shelf appeal.

The judges are a mix of spirits buyers, consultants and experts, be it fine dining curators, tequila lovers or people in the hospitality industry. You ready to hear our thoughts? Good, let’s drink!


  • ABV: 40%
  • Price: $249

The Tequila

It’s not as if the London Spirits Competition discovered Cierto Reserve, this bottle of añejo has been snagging awards left and right since its release a few years ago. This bottle has garnered over 100 awards, showing up in every prestigious tasting competition worldwide. But still, being awarded the “Tequila of the Year,” by the London Spirits Competition is a big deal, and before we get to the tasting notes, everything points to this being a great bottle on paper.

Cierto Reserve is produced at NOM 1146, the famed Tequileña distillery, home to other great brands like ArteNOM Selección 1146, Tears of Llorona and Don Fulano. It is made from single estate agave that is cooked in a low-pressure autoclave and roller mill extracted, made with natural spring water, fermented in stainless steel tanks and twice distilled through a copper pot.

To reach its añejo state, it is aged for 18 months in French Limousin Oak. It’s also certified additive-free by Tequila Matchmaker, so, this tequila has a lot going for it.

But what does it taste like? Let’s get into it.

Tasting Notes

Nose: A delectable mix of perfectly caramelized agave, wet oak, rich chocolate and warm inviting toffee waft from a pour of this rich liquid.

Palate: At first taste, this presents itself as a mix of butterscotch and vanilla. As it crosses the palate, there are some juicy dark cherry and chocolate notes and a hint of spice that dances on the tongue. 

Finish:The roasted agave appears on the finish, resulting in a surprisingly bright finish for an aged tequila. There is also a long smokey flavor that sticks to the tongue on the aftertaste, which creates a sense of smoothness without tasting muddled like “smooth” tequila often does.

The Bottom Line

I really like this. In fact, it’s astounding. Especially if you love the deep and complex journey of flavors that an añejo provides.

This is luxury tequila at its finest, one of the few bottles over $200 with a liquid that justifies the price. Tequila in this range has a tendency to be all flash, be it great bottle design or a palate-pleasing flavor smoothed out to the point you can’t taste any agave. Cierto Reserve is not that. Sure, it’s smooth, but not to the point where it doesn’t taste like agave.

There are plenty of dessert-like vanilla and caramel tones here to come across as luxurious, while still offering lightness and a bit of that bright agave bite.

Read more atUproxx.com.

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