The best way to learn about any type of spirit is to do side-by-side tastings of different styles. With tequila, start with a blanco, then progress toward a reposado and on to anejos, moving from youngest to oldest.

“When I come across someone who says ‘I don’t like tequila,’ I think, you haven’t taken the time,” says Jose Cuervo brand ambassador Rene Valdez. “Do a tequila flight, and you’re able to experience and do the tasting through different expressions and find something you’d enjoy, and be able to appreciate the complexities that each expression will bring.”

It’s easier to pick out tasting notes with wine because the common fruit profiles are things that people are familiar with. It’s harder with tequila, Valdez says, because not many people are accustomed to the taste of cooked agave. Since tequilas vary so much in flavor and aroma, there are no hard-and-fast tasting rules, but there are a few common traits you’ll find. Blancos tend toward the peppery side, with citrus, agave and herbs being the focal point. Reposados take on the presence of the wood, and you’ll start to detect oak and vanilla, perhaps olive. With anejos and extra anejos, the wood is more assertive, and common traits tend to be cinnamon, caramel, chocolate, and coffee. You might even detect banana, avocado or dry nuts.