A couple months ago I reviewed Hornitos Plata Tequila, and it was almost really good, but just a little off. Some people had recommended I try Hornitos Black Barrel, one of their añejo offerings, instead. Well, I recently decided to give it a try because I was looking at making some tequila old fashioneds.
If you’re looking for information regarding the history of Hornitos Tequila, check out our review on their blanco tequila. If not, I’m going to jump right into some of the basics of tequila añejo and then review Hornitos Black Barrel neat and in an Old Fashioned.
Hornitos Black Barrel Overview
- Spirit: Tequila Añejo
- Owned By: Beam Suntory
- Distilled By: La Perseverancia
- Aged: 18 months – Triple Aged
- ABV: 40%, 80 proof
- Mashbill: 100% Blue Weber Agave
- Price: $30-35
Hornitos Black Barrel costs about $30 to $35 at most liquor stores, but of course this is subject to location and individual store.
Hornitos, like all real Tequilas, uses Blue Weber Agave as it’s the only ingredient allowed in the distillation process. Up to 1% of the liquid volume can be sweeteners, flavorings, and other additives, though. Tequila brands do not have to disclose whether or not they use additives so long as it is 1% or less.
How Long is Tequila Añejo Aged for?
Añejo, a Spanish word for old, is an age statement for tequilas. Añejo means that the tequila has been aged between one and three years in either American oak or European Oak. There’s also blanco, reposado, and extra añejo. The age statements for each are as follows:
- Blanco: unaged
- Reposado: 2 months to 364 days
- Añejo: 1 year to 3 years
- Extra Añejo: 3+ years
Hornitos Black Barrel Aging
Hornitos Black Barrel is aged for 18 months, but differs from Hornitos Añejo in that it is triple aged – it spends time in 3 different oak barrels.
For the first 12 months, Hornitos Black Barrel is aged in American oak, turning the tequila into an añejo expression. But that’s not where it stops. It spends an additional 4 months in deep charred oak barrels and finishes with 2 months in specially toasted barrels.
Hornitos Black Barrel Tasting Notes
Alright, we’ve covered the basics. Let’s find out if Hornitos Black Barrel is good. Is it worth the extra $10 over Hornitos Plata, or blanco? Time to pour myself a glass.
Nose: Potent agave sweetness, green and black pepper, fairly herbal. Vanilla and oak make a much stronger appearance after breathing for a minute.
Palate: A creamy vanilla covers the flavors at first, but as it dissipates, more of the tequila flavors come in. Herbal citrus notes, more green pepper than any black, spicy pepper.
Finish: There was some oak on the nose, a touch on the palate, but the oak char really comes in on the finish. A little bit of pepper adds some slight spice to the finish.
I had Hornitos Black Barrel a couple of days ago, and I wasn’t a huge fan. The issue was that I drank it after having a couple glasses of nice bourbon. In comparison, Hornitos Black Barrel was too light and thin, with an alcohol punch, too.
However, now that I’m sitting down reviewing it as my first drink of the day, it’s much better.
The nose is a full of those classic tequila notes and classic bourbon notes. The palate starts with creamy vanilla and moves to the tequila notes – agave, citrus, and herbal. The finish has some pepper, but it disappears quickly. Charred oak sticks around for a lengthy finish.
Hornitos Black Barrel is a very good budget añejo tequila.
Hornitos Black Barrel Old Fashioned
I take shots of tequila, make margaritas, palomas, tequila sodas… all of that and more, using tequila blanco.
When it comes to añejo tequila, I sip it neat or make an old fashioned. Typically, I’d use bourbon or rye, but an aged tequila makes a very nice cocktail, too. Let’s find out how Hornitos Black Barrel does.
Hornitos’ website has their own Old Fashioned recipe using Amaro liqueur, but we’re going to stick with the classic.
- 2 oz Hornitos Black Barrel
- .5 oz water
- 1/2 sugar cube
- 2 dashes angostura bitters
- 2 dashes orange bitters
This is a good tequila old fashioned right here. There’s enough of your classic vanilla and oak that you get from barrel aging, and then citrus and agave come in for a nice sweet finish.
Hornitos Black Barrel Summary
For ~$30, this is a really good budget añejo tequila. If you’re looking for a decent sipping tequila, or a tequila to make some nicer cocktails, you might want to look for a tequila añejo.
This isn’t to say that blanco tequila can’t be sipped, but I’m a whiskey drinker, and I like what oak barrels and bourbon barrels do to a spirit.
Hornitos Black Barrel isn’t the best aged tequila out there, but for the price, it’s definitely a bottle to consider buying.