Had a wonderful chance to escape the polar vortex in late February and explore a number of Tequila producers. Make no mistake, the production of Tequila is just as involved, complex, scientific, creative and artistic as the production of every other world class spirit we have the good luck of enjoying. The broad purpose of the trip was to explore the varied distilleries involved in the production of the Arte NOM series of releases that are the brainchild of Jake Lustig of Haas Imports. Just like Armagnac, Cognac and Calvados are expressions of place and materials, Arte NOM strives to differentiate based on the expression of the distiller. Each distillery in Mexico is assigned a number by the Tequila Regulatory Council (CRT) that certifies the distillery’s compliance with the Official Mexican Standard of Tequila (NOM), with defined rules about appelation, ingredients, production, and more.
First stop was Destiladora El Paraiso (NOM 1580) located in the Rancho Sagrado Corazon de Jesus outside of Jesus Maria to see what is behind Arte NOM 1580 Blanco. Like most distilleries in Jalisco, Paraiso produces Tequila for a number of brands available in and out of Mexico.
In this case, Herencia Mexicana and Oro Azul are brands you might know. The process begins with Weber Agave Azul (blue agave) grown on the ranch, one of the highest in Los Altos (the Highlands) at over 6000 feet above sea level. The soil in this area is extremely rich in iron, as well as other minerals, and beautiful in its distinctive red.