The Tequilana Blue Weber Agave used for Don Rico Tequila is cultivated from fields in both the highland and lowland regions of Jalisco, Mexico. The blending of these plants results in a more consistent flavor that incorporates the complexities of both regions.
At the fields, a seasoned jimador uses a “coa” (harvesting tool) to cut the “pencas” (leaves) from the piña, or the heart of the agave. The agave is harvested at full maturity around seven years after planting to allow the ripest piñas to be cooked.
The piñas are transported to the distillery where they are cleaned and cut. The “cogollo” (stem or bud) is removed to prevent any of its bitterness to affect the taste of the agave. The cut agave is loaded into a brick oven and slow cooked for 48 hours using water vapor or steam.
The ovens are turned off to allow the temperature to reduce for another 24 hours. The cooking process converts the starch in the agave to sugar.
The cooked agave is loaded onto a roller mill where it is crushed and the juices extracted from the fiber.
The fiber is ultimately recycled as organic compost when planting new agave in the fields.
Water is added to the extracted juice and the mixture is rested in open fermentation tanks where a proprietary natural agave yeast is added to begin the fermentation process for at least 72 hours. Fermentation converts the sugar to alcohol, which yields a unique flavor and aroma profile that contains approximately 4-5% alcohol, otherwise known as “mosto”.
The mosto is put through the distillation process in stainless tank stills with copper coils where the alcohol is separated from the mosto. The resulting juice is known as Ordinary. This is not tequila yet. Ordinary juice is then distilled a second time and we end up with Tequila that is 55% alcohol by volume.
A simple filtration is done to remove any impurities from the Tequila and it is ready to be bottled as a Blanco. However, some of the Tequila is then rested or aged in oak barrels to create the expressions of Reposado, Añejo and Extra Añejo.
Don Rico Reposado is rested for three months in whiskey oak barrels, which gives it the taste of sweet, cooked agave, with a hint of caramel and vanilla. You might also notice a whisper of citrus and pepper notes.
Don Rico Añejo is aged first in American oak bourbon barrels for three months and then transferred to French oak Cabernet barrels for an additional ten months. The flavor is a sophisticated and velvety sweet, cooked agave with a softness of caramel with vanilla and hints of red berries and citrus. The reddish copper hue of this expression is very distinctive.
Don Rico Tequila is a simple, yet complex flavor and aroma profile of three ingredients (agave, water and yeast) and no additives. It is our hope to stimulate your senses every time you enjoy Don Rico.