Since I started Drinks Enthusiast, my love of tequila has grown. Being able to try many a different brand and different styles, I’ve come to appreciate them more as I look into their history and methods. One brand in particular though I’ve been chasing for a while. For over a year I’ve been told by many that this is one of the best tequilas around, so without further-a-do, lets take a look at Siete Leguas.
Based in Atotonilco el Alto in Jalisco, Mexico, the inspiration for Siete Leguas came in the form of revolutionary Pancho Villa and his famed horse, who galloped “7 Leguas” or 21 miles. One of his many followers was Don Ignacio Gonzalez Vargas, and with devotion, named his tequila after Pancho Villa’s horse. Today the Gonzalez de Anda family and its 7 members continue their fathers, Don Ignacio Gonzalez Vargas’ legacy with one of the traditional methods of creating tequila. 7 Leguas is still one of the oldest Mexican distilleries and is still family owned and operated, starting out in the mid forties with two distilleries making two juices. These two, Centenario and La Vencedora established in 1946 and 1952 respectively, would later be combined.
7 Leguas starts out in the fields full of 100% Blue Tequilana Weber Agave plants. Once the pencas (the leaves) are cut off, exposing the piñas, they are taken to be examined. Once verified to be correct for use, they are split and placed within masonry ovens where they are slowly cooked. Once a dark brown, they are taken to a traditional stone mill named a Tahona, driven by mules that grind the cooked piñas to extract the agave. The agave is then fermented, then distilled three times in traditional copper pot stills. Once distilled, it is then aged within white oak barrels depending on the variation needed.
The Tequila Siete Leguas distillery was responsible for producing the ‘original’ Patrón tequila brand, and brand rights were sold to St. Maarten Spirits, owners John Paul DeJoria and Martin Crowley in 1989. As the brand grew, 7 Leguas were no longer able to keep up with production, and Patron built a new distillery and moved all production in 2002.
To have 7 Leguas as unique, the Official Mexican Norm (Or NOM – government certification for standards meaning no two plants have the same number) has been 1120 since their inception. Since Patron moved their production, their NOM is now 1492.
Looking away from this, how does 7 Leguas fare? Well below, I give to you my tasting notes on their core range –
Siete Leguas Blanco – 40%
A slight sharpness on the nose, with light, fragrant agave scent. Sharp on the palate that softens. Lots of agave, pepper and slight vanilla flavours blend well to create a long finish.
Siete Leguas Reposado – 38%
Aged for 8 months. Light notes of vanilla with some citrus and short hits of pepper on the nose. Vegetal flavours on the palate, with some hits of oak and caramel coming through. Produces a warm finish with a slight spice and dry end.
Siete Leguas Añejo – 38%
Aged for 24 months. Sweet agave on the nose with spice following slowly. A creamy texture on the palate, with a light nut offering. Flavours of oak come through on a warm finish.
A great range to savour on its own or over a couple of cubes of ice. I personally wouldn’t add this to any mixer, or indeed a cocktail, but there is one man out there who has added 7 Leguas to the famous PDT in New York * –
45 ml 7 Leguas Reposado
30 ml Anthony Nappa Wines Spezia Gewurztraminer
15 ml Pierre Ferrand Dry Curacao
7.5 oz Amaro Averna
2 dashes Bittermen’s Hellfire Bitters
Dried chile de arbol, as garnish
Stir over ice and strain into a chilled cocktail coupette. Add the garnish.
Siette Leguas can be found commonly in London town, although it is making its way around the UK. Being a premium tequila, you’ll most likely find this in the best tequila haunts around, or indeed your own drinks cabinet. And if you see the rare five year aged D’Antaño, give me a call and save me a slice.
* A recipe by Payman Bahmani, PDT, New York
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