JALISCO LOWLANDS: Most of the agave used in tequila is grown in the state of Jalisco, in or around the city of Tequila and a few others like Amatitán. Here the volcanic soil imparts a spicier and earthy quality as in the finish of 1) Herradura Reposado ($50), or the small batch 2) Casa Dragones Joven ($275). Lowlands tequila usually has more citrus notes.
Jalisco Highlands: Because this region gets less rain than the lowlands, and the solid red clay soil makes the agave roots work harder to get down to water, the plant gathers a lot of minerals. The result is a richer product high in natural sugar like 3) Avión Reposado ($55), with its fruit notes of pear and peach.
Tamaulipas and Guanajuato: A small amount of agave is grown in the states bordering Jalisco, like Guanajuato, where you'll find similar conditions. From there, 4) Corralejo Reposado ($30) is a standout, with ripe agave, a bright honey finish and mint notes. Tamaulipas is closer to the Gulf of Mexico, which can affect the aging process and impart a salty, sea quality to the agave. The result can be tropical and spicy, as in the butterscotch nose and banana-peel heat of 5) Chinaco Reposado. ($50).