Spirit Of The Week: Don Julio ‘Ultima Reserva II’ Extra Añejo Tequila

Don Julio González’s final agave harvest was used to craft this top-shelf tequila.

(Don Julio)

Just over a decade ago on March 20, 2012, Don Julio González passed away in his home state of Jalisco. The founder and namesake of Tequila Don Julio remains unquestionably one of the titans of the Mexican spirit—launching his efforts in 1942 at the age of 17, then spending four decades experimenting, refining and perfecting his craft from his La Primavera distillery in the highlands of Jalisco. 

To honor their founder, Don Julio Tequila last year released their first Ultima Reserva, an extra añejo sold in highly exclusive numbers (only 4,000 cases) and winning a Silver Medal at the 2022 San Francisco World Spirits Competition along the way. This year to celebrate Día de los Muertos, they follow up with Ultima Reserva II—like the first Reserva also utilizing the final agave harvest González planted in 2006.

The crew at Don Julio are so dedicated to preserving this magical distillation, they incorporated the Solera method to age it, meaning that some of the distillate from that original batch will (theoretically) forever remain in the consistently refilled casks. 

Ultima Reserva II aged for the majority of its 36 months in ex-bourbon oak barrels earning notes of toasted oak, sweet agave and caramel, It then finished in ex-Madeira wine casks to add layers of apricot and orange.  

“It’s been 10 years since the passing of our late founder Don Julio González, and we are proud to honor his legacy by releasing the second bottling of Tequila Don Julio Ultima Reserva,” says Christina Choi, Diageo North America’s Senior Vice President of Tequila.

“This liquid is truly so rare and special that we’re continuing to release Tequila Don Julio Ultima Reserva in highly limited quantities each year, allowing us to preserve Don Julio González’s ultimate legacy as long as possible.”

(Don Julio)

Don Julio Ultima Reserva II comes packaged in a vertical bottle similar to Don Julio 1942, with a beautiful jewel base and sturdy agave-green box. It will be sold in extremely limited amounts at a $500 SRP, but given the recent price spikes for Don Julio 1942, expect sticker price to rise as well. $600

Follow Contributing Spirits Editor Nicolas Stecher on Instagram at @nickstecher and @boozeoftheday.