Sherry Bodega Visit: Bodegas Osborne
Cocktail Menu: Red Medicine in Los Angeles

Tequila Distillery Visit: Herradura

In November I visited seven tequila distilleries in Mexico. Here are some pictures and notes from my visit to theHerradura distillery in the town of Amatitan.

Stacks of agave tequila herradura distillery_tn
(Here they split the agave in two before baking.)

Fermentation tanks tequila herradura distillery_tn
(The magic of Herradura is that it ferments naturally- no yeast is added.)

Barrel aging tequila herradura distillery_tn
(Sleeping tequila.)

  • Agave grows for 7-10 years before harvesting
  • Jimadors work for 6 hours a day and harvest about 120 plants
  • They use clay/brick ovens, each one holding about 48 tons
  • Agave cooks for 26 hours then cools for 24
  • They use a rollermill to shred the agave after cooking, then a diffuser to get out the last bits of sugar
  • The fermentation takes about 4 days
  • The first distillation takes 3 hours, the second 6
  • They use stainless steel stills
  • They don't move the barrels around, refill them where they are. Use same barrels for about 10 years before replacing
  • Between Herradura, El Jimador, and Antiguo, all of which are 100% agave products, they say the only difference is the amount of aging and the percent of alcohol. [That's not quite true, here is a chart that spells out the differences.]
  • They age in all new American oak barrels. 
  • The reposado is aged for 11 months

Comments

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Jared HIrsch

Herradura blanco is slightly golden in color. I'm assuming that it's aged for a few days first before bottling. Does the mean that antiguo blanco is slightly aged as well, where as Jimador is un-aged? I'm going to line them up tonight at Colibri and have a taste.

Camper English

Actually heradura offers two vblancos- the blanco suave is aged for less than two months and is slightly colored. Because of the huge difference in price and flavor in the antiguo line I'm actually a little unconvinced in their claim that they're all the same except for aging and alcohol. I've also wanted to line them all up and compare price to taste.

Jared Hirsch

At the moment the only one we are missing is the Antiguo Reposado. We were a little too busy to do the line up last night, I'm going to try again tonight. I did notice that all of the bottles are listed at 40% abv. I know that tequila in Mexico is usually bottled at 38%. Did you notice different percentages there, or are they referring to the cask strength that they then water down?

Camper English

Oh hey, I totally forgot that they sent me a chart showing the differences in the products:

http://www.alcademics.com/2009/12/new-booze-antiguo-tequila-from-herradura.html

It's not just age: filtration and aeration are factors as well.

Jared Hirsch

wow. now that's a chart. I want one of those for every one of our 300 bottles.

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