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A strong woman in search of perfection
The role of the master distiller is to supervise all the production and maturing processes and to ensure the quality of the final product. A good master distiller is utterly crucial for the creation of a high quality spirit. There are only two female master distillers specialized in premium tequila across the globe, and we are particularly proud that one of them is part of our Padre family. But that is absolutely not the only reason why we are proud of Erika.
Erika is the cousin of Adriana, whose love story with the Austria HP Eder marked the very beginning of Padre Tequila. She has always played a key role in our Padre family – with her tremendous positivity and her incredible strength, Erika is a real inspiration for us all, although her life has been anything but easy.
Fate hit her hard, not just once. When she was in her early twenties, Erika suffered a terrible car accident in which 17 of her bones were fractured, including her hip. She almost lost one of her legs in this accident, but she never lost her high spirits and her optimism. After months of recovery and rehabilitation, Erika slowly got back on her feet. The subsequent years were marked by operations and chronic pain, but also by the love and support from her friends and family. It took time, but thanks to her strong willpower and the help of her loved ones, Erika managed to overcome all the obstacles and to find a way back into life.
All these years, Erika never complained. Not even when, a few years ago, she was diagnosed with cancer. On the contrary: she accepted what life had in store for her and, once again, her resilience and unbroken will to live helped her overcome this challenge. Everything she has been through has only made her stronger. Erika is the kind of person that still tries to make others smile even though she is in pain herself. She just has this special gift to always make the best of things, and she has this incredible talent when it comes to the creation of tequila. Padre Azul wouldn’t be what it is today were it not for her dedication, her attention to detail and her unmistakable sense of quality.
Padre Azul is grown in the valleys of Amatitán in Jalisco, Mexico, close to the town Tequila. This region has been chosen wisely: the soil is volcanic, porous and retains humidity, while also being more alkaline and containing less iron and more basalt than the highlands. Furthermore, the water quality in the valleys of Amatitán is better than that from standard wells, which grants its region-specific flavor.
Last but not least, the microclimate of this area is very arid, therefore our Blue Weber Agave is much dryer and has more fiber than those grown in other regions. Thanks to these particularities, the valley agaves develop citrus and earthy aromas, which contributes to the unique character of our premium tequila.
It is important that the agave has just the right amount of time to grow: enough to produce valuable sugars for the natural fermentation and to develop specific flavors and aromas, whilst not too much that the final flavors of the tequila might become vinegary.
We let our agaves grow between 8 and 10 years; this guarantees very good organoleptic characteristics in each of our batches. Here our Jimadores play a crucial role. Jimadores are Mexican farmers specialized in the cultivation of the Blue Agave. They know exactly when it’s time for the jima, the harvest of the agaves, and how to cut them properly: very close to the heart, as the leaves or thorns also influence the taste of the tequila.
For one liter of Padre Azul premium tequila we process no less than 10 kilos of agave.
The cooking is done in mamposterías, traditional Mexican ovens made of masonry. First, the agaves are steamed for 24 to 48 hours. Then we make use of the residual heat and add 24 hours more.
The oven is hand-made using volcanic soil and sand that help to keep the steam from escaping and can withstand high temperatures. The doors are secured to prevent them from bursting under pressure.
It is important to clarify that an autoclave can do this process in 5 or 6 hours, however the slow cooking of our agave gives much more flavor to our high-quality tequila. It’s like using a clay pot on a slow fire instead of a pressure cooker – the clay pot will always produce better results. You see, the most important ingredient for our premium tequila truly is time.
The fermentation is possibly the heart of our distillery. Why? Because our fermentation is strictly spontaneous. That means we do not use artificial yeasts of any kind – only naturally occurring yeasts. For this reason, the whole process depends on the climatic conditions during the natural fermentation: it can take between 72 and 96 hours until it is complete. With artificial yeasts this process could be done in less than 24 hours, but we are not in a hurry, are we? The yeasts that are most commonly used are unique to tequila, however there are some factories that use these yeasts for wine or bread.
The most important ingredient for outstanding tequila is TIME
This process is exclusive to the tequila categories reposado and añejo, whereas the category blanco will be bottled straight away after its double distillation. In order to be classified as reposado, a tequila has to mature for at least 2 months; for the category añejo, the minimum is 12 months. Again, we give it a little more time: Padre Azul Reposado ages for at least 8 months, and Padre Azul Añejo for at least 18 months.
The esterification which takes place during the aging process adds color, aroma, body and character to the spirit, which is why the oak barrels are so important for Padre tequila.
We let our premium tequila mature in hand-selected used American bourbon barrels, all of them toasted to medium. The smoky oak wood adds wonderful tertiary aromas and gives our tequila its characteristic flavors such as vanilla, cinnamon, caramel and chocolate while not overpowering the original taste of the agave, the distinct taste of pure tequila. It’s all about finding the right balance – it’s an art! And this art requires a gifted artist, a master distiller, who has the knowledge and skills to ensure perfection in every single production step. At Padre Azul, this artist is Erika Sangeado.
The leather jacket with lacing is a tribute to the Mexican “Lucha Libre” wrestling masks and is a tribute to “El Santo”, the most famous luchador in Mexico.
“Azul” refers to the “blue” Weber agave, from which tequila is made, and the name “Padre” does not mean the father, but quotes a popular Mexican saying: “que padre,” an expression of cheerful excitement, meaning “how fantastic” or “how wonderful”.
Padre azul bottles are topped with a 270-gram solid metal skull, paying homage to Dia de los Muertos and eternal friendship.
You won’t find any compromises in the design of the unusual “Padre azul” bottle. Only the best is good enough for Padre azul, outside and in. The handmade bottle is inspired by Mexican heritage and culture. One important aspect of Mexican culture that fascinated Austrian HP Eder and his compadres was how much tradition and relationships with family and friends were valued, and he wanted to capture that on the bottle.