Master Distiller - Erika Sangeado
THE MOST IMPORTANT INGREDIENT FOR AN OUTSTANDING TEQUILA IS TIME.
The characteristics of the earth/soil
Padre azul is grown in the valleys. The earth has more alkaline and less PH, contains less iron and more basalt as opposed to the highlands. Because of the arid temperatures of the area, the agave is much dryer and has more fiber. There are volcanic soils in the valleys. The water quality in the valleys is better than standard wells, which adds a unique flavor specific to the region. That’s why the valley agave develop citrus and earthy aromas.
It is important that the plant reaches its maturity thus obtaining more sugars for fermentation. Specific flavors and aromas are developed. If it is too ripe, the final flavors of tequila can be vinegary. Our wait is between 8 to 10 years. This guarantees better organoleptic characteristics in each of our batches. Here our jimadores are important because they know exactly when to harvest the agaves. At the time of the jima, the cut must be very close to the pineapple, the leaves or thorns also influence the taste of tequila.
The “cooking“ is done in masonry – “mampostería”, which is a traditional oven, that steams between 24 and 48 hours, then continues cooking with the remaining residual heat. The oven is artisanally handmade using volcanic soil and sand that serve to keep the steam from escaping and can withstand high temperatures. The doors are secured to prevent them from bursting under pressure. It is very important to clarify that an autoclave can do this process in 5 or 6 hours, however the slow cooking of our agave (minimum 24 hours cooking and 24 hours resting) gives us much more flavor in our tequila. It’s is like using a pressure cooker vs. a claypot on a slow fire, any kind of slow cooking will produce more flavor.
Our fermentation is strictly spontaneous, i.e. we do not use artificial yeasts of any kind – only naturaly-occuring yeasts are used. The climate has a lot of influence on this process and can take anywhere from 72 to 96 hours. With artificial yeasts this process can be done in less than 24 hours. The yeasts that are most commonly used are unique for tequila, however there are some factories that use these yeasts for wine or bread.
This process is very important. Something that gives our tequila its excellent flavor is the ’cut’ of the process. We remove the heads and tails. The first and last part of the distillation are withdrawn and not used again, leaving only the best portion of tequila to go into the final product. Padre azul uses only the ’heart’ of the process. With details like these, we can proudly say that our tequila is super premium. In some factories the heads and tails are added in the second distillation. This creates more quantity, however the taste is affected by this method. For Padre azul, we distill the agave twice at a reliatively low temperature so that we don’t burn off the sugar. This gives our tequila it’s mellow aftertase.
This process is exclusive for tequila Reposado and Añejo. The esterification adds color, aroma, body, and character to tequila, which is why the old oak barrels are so important. We mature Padre azul in used American bourbon barrels, which imparts flavors such as vanilla, cinnamon, caramel and chocolate. With Padre azul, we take great care of our barrels, which are perfect for toasting and giving us more time to develop our one of a kind flavor. Our “Reposado” ages for at least 8 months, and the “Añejo” at least 18 months.