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10 Affordable Tequilas That Taste Expensive

While some bottles of tequila can fetch hundreds of dollars, you don't need to shell out a ton of cash for some of the highest-quality bottles.
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With a rich history steeped in tradition, tequila is a popular Mexican spirit that's an essential ingredient in so many beloved cocktails, from margaritas to palomas to ranch water.

However, the world of tequila can often feel exclusive, with some bottles boasting hefty price tags in the hundreds that can deter the casual drinker. Luckily, you don't need to shell out huge chunks of change to experience all that this artisanal spirit has to offer. In fact, it's possible to find high-quality tequilas without breaking the bank, and we did just that with these 10 affordable bottles under $35 that received some of the highest ratings from expert judges like Wine Enthusiast and Tasting Panel.

Understanding why tequila can be expensive requires a closer look at the meticulous and lengthy tequila-making process. According to The Tequila Regulatory Council (CRT), making tequila is a long process that is done in a small region in Mexico. It begins by growing blue Weber agave, a plant that can take up to 10 years to mature to the "tequila-ready" phase. The agave is then hand-harvested, after which it goes through an intricate fermentation and distillation process that can take up to two weeks. Some tequilas take it a step further where they go through an aging process in oak barrels that spans years.

The affordable tequilas featured on this list garnered some of the highest ratings from professionals, namely Tasting Panel and Wine Enthusiast. These experts evaluate the quality of liquors based on various factors, including aroma, flavor, and body. To make our list, the tequila had to earn 90 points or more, which reviewers consider "Outstanding to superior."

So why not make your next round with one of these best tequilas on a budget? Here are 10 affordable tequilas that taste expensive, according to experts.

Familia Camarena Reposado Tequila, $27.99

Familia Camarena Reposado Tequila
Familia Camarena

This reposado tequila (reposado means 'aged') tied for first place on the entire list with a Tasting Panel score of 94/100. This tequila is aged in oak barrels for 60 days and has notes of vanilla, caramel, orange peel, as well as peppermint. The tasting panel explained that it has "Silky, delicate notes of peppermint and spiced coffee consort with a progression of mid-palate flavors as mocha and peach tones expand, emboldened and lustrous, toward the finish."

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Familia Camarena Silver Tequila, $27.99

Familia Camarena Silver Tequila
Familia Camarena

Tied for first place, this silver tequila has simply been distilled, not aged. (Silver tequila may also be referred to as "Blanco.") Its flavor contains fresh herbs and citrus. Expert tasters noted that the "finish is clean with a spot of minerality: almost like tasting a raindrop."

Cazadores Blanco Tequila, $29.99

Cazadores Blanco Tequila

Next on the list is another blanco (or unaged) tequila that was given a 93/100 score by Wine Enthusiast. With notes of citrus and herbs, it's hailed for its pure agave taste.

"Brisk, clean, and herbaceous, this Tequila is almost reminiscent of gin," the experts noted. "The aroma has a spicy edge, plus hints of mint and dill, while the minty palate finishes with vanilla-coconut sweetness and mild baking-spice tingle. Versatile for a wide range of cocktails."

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JAJA Blanco Tequila, $29.99

JAJA Blanco Tequila
JAJA Tequila

This Blanco tequila is the 2021 San Francisco World Spirits Competition Gold Medal Winner, and it earned a score of 93/100 by the Tasting Panel. It is triple distilled, with notes of black pepper and citrus.

Experts explain that this tequila is "scented like an herb garden with a touch of Himalayan salt and lime, this small-production (100% agave azul), non-aged tequila has a zippy taste profile. The salinity lingers amidst just-ripe agave and vanilla bean on the path to a focused finish."

Espanita Blanco Tequila, $29.99

Espanita Blanco Tequila
Espanita Tequila

With a score of 93/100 by the Tasting Panel and 90/100 by the Wine Enthusiast, this Blanco tequila has more focus on sweetness–think marzipan and chocolate mint.

"Aromas of white peppered sweet agave, vanilla, and ginger. On the palate, a bright prickle of black pepper on lime and agave is followed by musky vanilla," experts said. "White flower petals go creamy midway, preceding an earthy, herbal finish."

Jose Cuervo Tradicional Reposado Tequila, $31.99

Jose Cuervo Tradicional Reposado Tequila
Jose Cuervo

This reposado (an aged tequila) comes from the famed brand Jose Cuervo. It earned a score of 92/100 by the Wine Enthusiast. Noted for its light straw color, it has warm and spicy oak notes.

"A solid cocktail choice, this 100% agave Tequila has rich, rounded vanilla and zingy peppery notes followed by a dry cocoa accent on the finish," experts say. "The bottle is a stunner, with its yellow, red, and black Day of the Dead graphic that's meant to be frozen to bring out additional thermochromic details. (It's a bit of overkill—the bottle is plenty eye-catching at room temperature.)"

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Dulce Vida Organic Blanco Tequila, $33.99

Dulce Vida Organic Blanco Tequila
Dulce Vida Spirits

This blanco tequila smells of citrus but has a spicy kick, and earned a score of 92/100 by the Tasting Panel.

"Soft, earthy nose; silky smooth with bright agave flavors; lively with a smoky, juicy style; rich, balanced, and intense; handcrafted in small batches from 100% blue agave," said experts.

Cazadores Reposado Tequila, $29.99

Cazadores Reposado Tequila

This aged tequila has also won a couple of awards–it earned the Silver Medal at the 2012 & 2014 San Francisco World Spirits Competition. It also scored 91/100 by the Wine Enthusiast.

"Floral, lightly honeyed aromas lead the way," experts explained. "The palate echoes that floral freshness, veering to a zesty midpalate with a hint of tomato, then finishing with light vanilla and black pepper tones."

Pueblo Viejo Reposado Tequila, $26.99

Pueblo Viejo Reposado Tequila
Pueblo Viejo

This aged tequila has a slightly deeper color (described as "golden-green"), and packs notes of citrus, butter, and ripened fruit. It earned a rating of 91/100 by the Wine Enthusiast.

"The rose-gold tinge and luscious vanilla scent entice on the nose," experts said. "The palate is vanilla-forward, brushed with almond and coconut, then finishes with a lemony, gingery burst."

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El Tequileno Reposado Tequila, $25.99

El Tequileno Reposado Tequila
El Tequileno

Rounding out the list is another aged tequila that scored a 91/100 by the Wine Enthusiast. It spent 90 days in an oak barrel, and boasts strong notes of vanilla.

"Bold tomato, lemon peel, and honey lead the nose," experts said about this tequila. "The palate opens on the sweeter side, with coconut, vanilla, and lemon cream leading into a zesty, mouthwatering finish that shows ginger and white pepper heat."