Don Julio González died in 2012 and with his passing the industry lost one of its revered innovators and most respected tequileros. Few men have contributed more to the tradecraft of making tequila than Don Julio.
Don Julio tequila is grown in the Los Altos region which has an ideal microclimate and soil composition for cultivating blue agaves. After harvesting, the mature plants are taken to the distillery where they are steam baked in brick ovens for three days. Once cooled, the agaves are shredded and the extracted juice is transferred to fermentation tanks. Don Julio González's own proprietary, all-natural strain of yeast is used to precipitate fermentation. The fermented wash—called mosto—is then double-distilled in La Primavera's pot stills.
Don Julio Blanco is bottled fresh and unadulterated right out the still. The 80-proof tequila has crystalline clarity, a medium-weight body and a lively citrus, spice and black pepper palate.
Silver tequila enthusiasts will genuinely appreciate Espolón Blanco 100% Agave Tequila. Bottled directly from the still, it is a lively spirit with crystalline clarity, a lightweight body and a generous fruity, floral and spicy bouquet. The palate is a fresh, exuberant offering of peppery and spicy flavors that gradually fade to a warm, satisfying finish. It possesses every quality you look for in a great blanco—and a little bit more.
Espolón Tequila is crafted at Destiladora San Nicholas (NOM 1440) through state of the art technology and traditional tequila making techniques. The agaves used in production are cultivated in the estate's rich red soil. After harvesting, the plants are steam baked in stainless steel autoclaves to express their sugar-rich juice. The juice is transferred to a vat where it is allowed to slowly ferment over the course of 18-20 hours. Master distiller Cirilo Oropeza then double distills the fermented wash in stainless steel continuous stills. The entire production and bottling process takes place on the estate. The range is bottled at 40% alcohol by volume (80 proof) and produced without any added chemicals, flavorings or artificial coloring. Espolón Reposado 100% Agave Tequila is aged for 6 months in small American white oak barrels. The reposado has a rich golden hue and a wafting bouquet of fruit, vanilla beans and warm caramel. Its lush, medium-weight body delivers a savory palate of spices, dried herbs and roasted peppers. The finish is long, dry and herbaceous.
America's fascination with tequilas can be traced back to the early '50s when Hollywood icons Bing Crosby and Phil Harris imported Herradura into the States making it the first tequila puro available in the U.S. To this day the distinguished brand remains one of the category's preeminent brands. Founded in 1870, Tequila Herradura is among only a handful of distillers that produce nothing but 100% agave tequila. Every stage of its production takes place on the Herradura Estate—Hacienda San José del Refugio—in the lowlands of Amatitán. Herradura crafts its tequila using many of the same techniques perfected more than a century ago. Mature, estate-grown blue agaves are baked in clay ovens and then slowly fermented with wild airborne yeasts. Herradura tequilas are double-distilled in large, stainless steel alembic stills and aged in both American and French oak barrels. Herradura Blanco is an excellent example of what great distillers are capable of achieving with a few alembic stills and an estate full of mature blue agaves. It has a straw-colored hue, which is the result of it being aged in oak for 45 days. The tequila has a velvety medium-weight body and a cinnamon, dried herbs and orange peel nose and quickly bathes the palate with spicy, peppery flavors before tapering to an herbal, medium length finish. It makes a marvelous introduction to the joys of sipping silver tequila.
Produced in Jalisco at the Sauza distillery, La Perseverancia, the super-premium Tres Generaciones Plata owes much of its vibrancy and extraordinary character to how it's made. To create the lightest, most brilliant spirit possible, Sauza's maestro tequilero passes the silver tequila through a traditional pot still for a third distillation, after which it is bottled within 24 hours. Its inherent attributes are readily apparent and genuinely something special.
Tres Generaciones Plata is a marvelous entree into the pleasures of silver tequila. It has brilliant clarity, a sleek, feather-weight body and a pronounced bouquet of citrus and spice aromas. The tequila glides over the palate without a trace of heat or harshness and then slowly builds in intensity, revealing layers of spicy, peppery flavor. The finish is lingering and flavorful.
Tres Generaciones Plata is best appreciated in a snifter. However, that shouldn't imply the tequila isn't ready for some fun. It enjoys scores of applications behind the bar and is a fabulous choice for Margaritas served straight up in elegant cocktail glasses.