Educational Resources | Mar. 25, 2021

Tequila Tasting Wheel

A quick search online for flavor wheels” reveals hundreds, if not thousands, of examples from all across the food and beverage world. Team Education & Mixology worked with Patrón and leaders in the beverage tasting and evaluation industry to develop what we hope is an accessible, useful tasting wheel specifically designed for Tequila. Our tasting wheel was built to be useful to a variety of tasters, from the complete novice learning about Tequila for the first time, to tequila experts engaged in in-depth tasting and discussion. 

At its core, a tasting wheel should be a tool to help people identify flavor and aroma notes while tasting, but we also wanted to build a tasting wheel that was supportive and inclusive. It should be a secret weapon, not a hurdle to overcome, and as such we wanted the wheel to not require that the user be an established expert to find it helpful. We’ve all felt that pang of inadequacy when peers are pulling out obscure technical terms or conjuring multi-sensory allegories during a tasting, and we’re having trouble putting our finger on what we’re tasting. The Tasting wheel is there when you can’t quite attach a name to a smell, offering up suggestions to hopefully help you get past that block.

The words on the wheel aren’t random: they were pulled from tasting notes from literally thousands of tequila tastings, including those from hundreds of specially trained spirit tasters. These tasting notes were aggregated, ranked by incidence rate, and grouped in the attempt to build a concise yet varied list. We strove to include inputs from tasters from different backgrounds and locations, but we acknowledge our own imperfection, and that we bring our own biases and privilege to this process: we hope to continue to gather additional data from tasters and to continue to improve it.

The words’ placement on the wheel is also intentional. First off, the wheel is meant to be used from the inside out: at the center we start with broad categories, which are broken into sub categories, and finally, specific tasting notes. Generally the tasting wheel is organized according to weight, with light, ethereal notes at the top, and deeper, heavier, richer notes lower down. Our hope is that the wheel offers a bit of the experience of browsing in a library or a bookstore (remember those?!): by looking at the aromas and flavors near to one that you identify, you may discover others for which you may not have been expressly looking. 

The Tequila Tasting Wheel seeks to provide a useful tool for tasting Tequila and participating in Tequila-focused education, giving participants from novice to expert alike a shared vocabulary to use in discussion.


Interested in giving it a try? 

Download your own copy of the Tequila Tasting Wheel!

Download Tequila Tasting Wheel