In honor of “National Tequila Day”, we thought we would take a moment and talk about the process of actually tasting it. In our opinion, there are two ways to taste it: 1) the scary complicated way, and 2) our method, which is designed to be low-stress and high-fun.

You may have read tequila reviews on our site and thought about doing tastings at home and thought, “where do I start?” We admit we were intimidated by the potential complexity of tastings at first, given the amount of detailed charts, graphs and literature on the subject. Take, for instance, Ian Chadwick’s Tequila Tasting Wheel (adapted from the Wine Aroma Wheel) that lists over 100 flavor profiles, including “green olives”, “strawberry jam”, “soapy”, “fishy”, “ethanol”, and my personal favorite “wet wool/wet dog.”

I’ve tried a lot of tequilas at this point and I’ve never detected any of those flavors, but what do I know? In fact, Grover and I were talking about this last night and the only thing we’re certain we do know is if we think a tequila is good or not. So, we started thinking about what makes a tequila “good” or “not good” (in our humble opinions) and broke down our tasting notes to encompass the areas that we evaluate when making this decision.

This is what we came up with:

Nose or aroma — This gives you a first hint of what the tequila will taste like. Is it pungent, or subtle and sweet? Do you get a whiff of vanilla, or is it a blast of agave?

Taste — This should cover what the tequila tastes and feels like when it first hits your tongue. Is it smooth and caramely, or an explosion of alcohol? (Keep in mind that you should take an initial sip to get your palate used to the flavor before you really start determining the taste on the second sip.)

Finish — How does the flavor end at the back of your throat? Does it melt away in a continuation of the front, or does it go out in a spicy, long finish?

Finally, we take into account characteristics, such as if the tequila is smooth, sweet, or spicy, and its price point. Each person will have a different opinion on what they like, of course, so our job is simply to note the characteristics and let you decide for yourself.

The next time you taste something new at home, try writing down what you think of the nose, taste and finish, and any other characteristics that you think make it good or not good in your opinion. Hopefully, this will make for an informative and low-stress tasting!

Next up: Partida Añejo review using our non-patented tasting method!