Herradura Tasting Notes

Herradura

Herradura is a tequila distiller located in Amatitán, Jalisco, Mexico. It was formally founded in 1870 by Félix López and the business remained in the family for over 125 years. Not a bad legacy to still have one could say! So how did it all come about for us all to enjoy?

After beginning with Félix López, who began as the distillery administrator under then owners Josefa Salazar and her sons, López took over the distillery and agave fields in 1870 and registered it as a tequila producer under the name of Hacienda San José del Refugio. Félix López married Carmen Rosales and they had two children, Aurelio and María de Jesús. The couple modernized the production of tequila at the hacienda, building a facility that remained in use until 1963. López died in 1878 and Rosales took over the business along with her brother Ambrosio Rosales and his wife Elisa Gomez Cuervo. Later, the business was inherited by Aurelio López.

The construction of railroads in the late 19th century allowed for easier shipping to other parts of Mexico and increased tequila’s popularity in the country. By this time the hacienda’s tequila was well-known, with Aurelio giving it the name of Herradura. The name, which means horseshoe in Spanish, is a said to have come from the finding of a horseshoe on the hacienda property. Stories vary but the one told by the company’s website says that it was found in the early 1900’s by Aurelio, while inspecting the agave fields. It gleamed like gold and the horseshoe was kept for luck, naming the tequila after it. In the 1920’s the Cristero War broke out, with both Aurelio and his sister María de Jesus as sympathizers. At one point, government troops surrounded the hacienda but the siblings were able to escape. However, Aurelio never returned again.

The hacienda passed into the hand of Aurelio’s cousin David Rosales, who kept the tequila 100% agave despite the trend towards blending to cut costs. In 1928, he registered the Herradura brand in Mexico City with a horseshoe as its logo. The hacienda and the Herradura brand remained in the family for over a century. In the 1960’s, the old factory was shut down in favour of a new one, but kept as a museum. During this time, Herradura Añejo was introduced with Reposado introduced in 1974. In 1994, el Jimador was introduced and became the #1 seller in Mexico.

So how is Herradura created?

Herradura begins with the harvest of 100% blue agave plants after 7 to 10 years of growth. After slicing off the green outer leaves, it leaves the large agave ‘piñas’. The piñas are brought in from the fields, cut in half and placed within the traditional ovens made of bricks and stone. The piñas are then steamed for up to 26 hours before being crushed to extract the juice and poured into open tanks.

Natural wild air-borne yeasts growing on agave plants and citrus trees living at the distillery are used in the Casa Herradura fermentation process. The juice will remain between four and seven days in the tanks before being distilled. Herradura uses slow distillation, a tradition not often practiced these days, meaning heating the liquid at slightly lower temperatures. There are two distillations; the first takes 3 ½ hours, and the second takes 5 hours.

Herradura is one of México’s largest barrel holders, using only oak barrels imported from Kentucky to mature their tequila. Herradura is aged longer than it needs to by law, but does it make any difference? Well below, I give to you my tasting notes on the range –

Herradura Plata – 40%

Aged for forty days. Very soft and clean with cooked agave notes on the nose. Soft on the palate too with slight flavours of the wood coming through. Lingers whilst it creates a mouth-watering finish.

Herradura Reposado – 40%

Aged for 11 months. Soft on the nose with delicate dry wood and spice aromas. Developing spice on the palate with sweet vanilla and hints of powdered cinnamon. Short.

Herradura Añejo – 40%

Aged for two years. Intense oak with nut aromas coming through. Incredibly smooth on the palate with sweet fruit flavours coming through. Rather creamy with a long finish.

A fantastic range of tequila, with the extra ageing creating something a little bit special. Great on their own or over ice, or maybe one of these –

The Hacienda Fizz
The Hacienda Fizz

The Hacienda Fizz

Glass –

Highball

Ingredients –

50 ml Herradura Plata
10 ml Fresh lemon juice
15 ml Herradura Agave Syrup
2 Dashes of Fee Brothers Orange Bitters
Sparkling water

Method –

Add all ingredients except the water to a hi-ball glass filled with ice and stir thoroughly. Top up with the sparkling water, garnish with a slice of lemon.

Have to love a versatile product! One to definitely stock in your drinks cabinet, or indeed if you ever see any of the range in your local bar. Worth a go.

© David Marsland and Drinks Enthusiast 2013. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog/sites author and owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to David Marsland and Drinks Enthusiast with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

el Jimador Tasting Notes

el Jimador

‘el Jimador was created in 1994 to pay tribute to Casa Herradura’s expert ‘Jimadors’, the harvesters of the agave plant, whose job requires the great skill of identifying when the agave is ready.’

What better reason to create a tequila! * Casa Herradura was created in 1870 and is the original distillery where el Jimador is produced in Amatitán, Jalisco, México. The name Herradura came from Aurelio Lopez Rosales, a young man who grew up working at Hacienda San Jose del Refugio (which would later become Casa Herradura) where the tequila made there helped provide for the people. According to locals, one day Aurelio was out inspecting the agave fields when he saw the glint of gold on the dusty ground in the distance. When he picked up the gleaming object, he found that it was simply a horseshoe that had caught the sunlight at the perfect angle. It may not have been gold, but the horseshoe is a symbol of luck. And Spanish for “horseshoe” is Herradura. So, as the story goes, the distillery was named Casa Herradura.

In 1994, Casa Herradura created a tequila inspired by the people who live and work at the hacienda and named it el Jimador. Its wide appeal made it the number one selling tequila in México just five years after the first bottle was produced.

So how is el Jimador created?

Production of all el Jimador tequilas begins in the agave fields where the blue Weber agave plant grows. When the agave has matured enough to be harvested, a process that usually takes approximately 10 years, the workers known as Jimadors slice off the leaves to get to the piñas. The Jimadors bring the piñas in from the fields, chop them up one-by-one and strategically stack the pieces inside traditional ovens made of brick and stone, each holding 45 tons of agave. The piñas are steamed for 24 hours, then cooled before being crushed in huge mills to extract the juices.

The juice, known as ‘mosto’, is transferred to open-air tanks where natural, air-borne yeasts from agave plants and citrus trees located on the hacienda, spark the fermentation process. After fermentation, the juice is distilled two separate times and rested in white oak barrels. Mexican government standards define Blanco as being aged no more than 2 months; Reposado as being aged a minimum of 2 months in oak barrels; and Añejo aged a minimum of 12 months.

So how does the nod to one of the most important part of the tequila process fare? Well below, I give to you my tasting notes –

el Jimador Blanco – 38%

Toasted agave notes on the nose with a smooth, roasted flavour on the palate. Slightly dry but clean with hints of fresh citrus. Short.

el Jimador Reposado – 38%

Fresh cooked agave on the nose with soft hints of vanilla following. Very smooth on the palate with a hint of dry spice immediate. The spice develops into a dry finish, with hints of wood and malt coming through.

el Jimador Añejo – 38%

Aged for a year in toasted white oak barrels. Subtle oak notes with vanilla slowly making an appearance on the nose. Smooth on the palate with the wood flavours more dominant. Mouth-watering, yet dry on the lingering finish.

A great set enjoyed neat or over ice. The Blanco also goes well with one of these –

el Jimador Elderflower Paloma
el Jimador Elderflower Paloma

el Jimador Elderflower Paloma

Glass –

Highball

Ingredients –

35 ml el Jimador Blanco
15ml Elderflower cordial
Lemonade
1 Lime

Method –

Add the el Jimador and elderflower cordial to a hi-ball glass, top up with lemonade and a squeeze of lime. Stir. Add a couple of lime wedges as a garnish.

The el Jimador can be found in most bars in the UK, and is a perfect addition to many a cocktail, as well as being enjoyed neat or over ice. Also one to have in your drinks cabinet for a no-nonsense tequila. Hats off.

* History taken from the el Jimador website. Subtle changes have been made for narrative purposes only.

© David Marsland and Drinks Enthusiast 2013. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog/sites author and owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to David Marsland and Drinks Enthusiast with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

Ron Santa Teresa Tasting Notes

Santa Teresa

When you look at a brand, do you look into the history of it? Does it sway you when your thinking of a purchase? Most probably not, and there’s nothing wrong with that to be fair. If you look into some brands, it will give you an idea of what you’re purchasing though. Usually if you see a brand that has been part of the same family for generations, you’ll be looking at a good quality spirit. Most whiskies and gin have stood the test of time by being handed down between generations of family, and the sales show.
But on the other end of the spectrum, some of the newer brands have been created due to passion and dedication from individuals, and can stand up against the older brands so to speak. When it comes down to this, it’s more trial and error, or going off recommendations. This is what i do. Give you an insight into the world of spirits and show you, not tell you, what to drink. One I’m going to showcase to you today is a rum that comes under the tag of being a part of generations – Ron Santa Teresa.

The origins of Ron Santa Teresa date back to the end of the 18th Century when a gentleman named Martin de Tovar received the title of Count of Tovar and the Royal Charter for the lands of Tovar from King Charles III of Spain – the birth place of Ron Santa Teresa. 1796 saw the Hacienda Santa Teresa founded by the Count of Tovar in the valleys of Aragua. At the beginning of the 19th Century, wheat, indigo, coffee and sugar were grown in the valley, resulting in a sugar mill being built in 1810 and a still to distill aguardiente.

The Venezuelan Independence War crashed a negative effect on the economy and ruined the lands of Hacienda Santa Teresa. 1821 saw General Jose Francisco Bermudez defeat the Royalist troops to end the war. 9 years later, German born Gustav Julius Vollmer married Panchita Rioas y Palacos who was the niece of General Jose Felix Ribas inherited parts of the Santa Teresa land and started revitalising the valley to its prosperous ways. Gustav Julius Vollmer Ribas bought Hacienda Santa Teresa in 1885 and by the middle of the 19th Century, aguardiente from sugar cane were being produced. In 1909, Santa Teresa was registered as the first Ron de Venezuela brand.

The son of Gustav and Panchita, Gustavo Julio Vollmer brought the first tractor to Venezuela in 1913 to transport the sugar cane to the mill from the fields. Four years later, rum barrels were being transported by truck from the Hacienda to the El Consejo train station. Electric motors were installed in the mill in 1936 and followed by a large-scale rum production in 1936. 1955 saw Alberto Vollmer Herrera bring the Vollmer family into the modern age by incorporating Santa Teresa into a public company. 1978 saw Santa Teresa have the most up-to-date molasses distillery in Latin America.

How does Santa Teresa come about?

After harvesting the sugar cane, it is crushed before fermented by adding yeast in a continuous or pot still small batch method. Santa Teresa combine both when creating their range. After distillation in column stills, water is added from Santa Teresa springs and then stored in oak barrels for at least 2 years according to Venezuelan law.

So how is the Santa Teresa portfolio? Well below, I give to you my tasting notes on each –

Santa Teresa Añejo Gran Reserva – 40%

Aged in oak for up to 5 years. Sweet notes of fruit on the nose that carries onto the palate. Slightly sharp as it develops with hints of dry wood coming through. Creates a long finish.

Santa Teresa Ron Selecto – 40%

Blend of rums aged for between 3 and 9 years. Heavy vanilla on the nose with hints of damp wood slicing through near the end. Slightly sweet on the palate but becomes silky with the vanilla mellowing on a long, mouth-watering finish.

Santa Teresa 1796 Ron Antiguo de Solera – 40%

Blend of rums, vatted using the solera system, aged between 8 and 12 years of age. After blending it is aged for a further year in bourbon barrels. A good mixture of dry and fresh fruits on the nose, with a slight honey note coming through near the end. Incredibly smooth on the palate, almost silky, with hints of dry wood and leather. The honey is more noticeable creating a warm finish.

Santa Teresa Rhum Orange Liqueur – 40%

Made with 2-year-old Santa Teresa. Light and fruity with fresh oranges present on the nose. Sweet notes of rich orange with hints of chocolate come though on the palate. A little dry on the long finish, but kicks of freshness linger.

Santa Teresa Arakú Coffee Liqueur – 28%

Made with coffee and rum which is aged for 2 years in white American oak barrels. Creamy coffee on the nose with a slight sweetness following. Lots of sweet notes but lightens out as it develops on the palate. Well-balanced with roasted coffee mixing with vanilla to create a moorish finish.

A fantastic range, with both the Rhum Orange, Arakú coffee, 1796 and Ron Selecto standing out for me. The Añejo Gran Reserva would be perfect in one of these though –

Angels Share
Angels Share

Angel’s Share

Glass –

Rocks

Ingredients –

40 ml Añejo Gran Reserva
3/4 Chopped lime
1/4 Chopped orange
1 Tablespoon of sugar

Method –

Add the fruit and sugar to the rocks glass and muddle. Add rum, crushed ice and churn. Cap with crushed ice and garnish with orange wedge.

Refreshing! A great range of rums to indulge yourself upon, and there frequenting more and more bars as well as your local retailer. The 1796 is up there as one of the best sipping rums in my opinion, I’d recommend not to pass up if you ever come across.

© David Marsland and Drinks Enthusiast 2013. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog/sites author and owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to David Marsland and Drinks Enthusiast with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.