- NOM 1443 – Grupo Industrial Tequilero de los Altos de Jalisco, S.A. de C.V.
- Agave comes from ranches owned by Jose Pilar Contreras (“Don Pilar”) near the town of San Jose de Gracia in the highlands of Jalisco.
- Cooked in autoclaves for 24 hours; left to cool for an additional 24 hours.
- Fermented using the “Mozart method” (baroque music played during 7 to 10-day fermentation process).
- Affordably priced at $28-$33 a bottle.
- Kosher certified.
- Tasted April 2011 using a Riedel tequila glass.
Sitting in my Riedel glass, Don Pilar blanco seems to sparkle. The body seems slightly thicker than other tequilas. Closing my eyes to assess the aroma, I am instantly transported to a tropical island, as pineapple and subtle mango dominate the nose. It’s backed with a lightly floral baked agave and offers just a hint of peppercorn. Matching the refreshing scent, this blanco is clean and crisp on the palate. It has a slightly oily entry that coats the tongue evenly with sweet, subtle agave flavor. If someone were to ask me what a highlands tequila tastes like, Don Pilar Blanco is a great example: fruity and floral. Unlike some highlands tequilas, however, it isn’t too sweet. The sweetness isn’t tempered by bitterness, but is instead grounded with some nice earthy tones, specifically green bell pepper. Don Pilar Blanco boasts a wonderfully creamy finish with an orange zest aftertaste.
Cocktail Note and Recipe: While Don Pilar Blanco is a perfect sipper for blanco fans – it’s crisp character just begs to be sipped on a hot day – the affordable price point and full body makes it an excellent blanco for cocktails. (You had better not pollute this tequila with anything but fresh, natural ingredients!) The flavors of Don Pilar inspired me to create this (it doesn’t have a name, I just call it my Don Pilar Margarita):
- 2 oz Don Pilar blanco
- 1/4 oz Agave Nectar (I used the Tres Agaves brand)
- 1/4 oz Combier
- 1 freshly squeezed lime
- squeeze of orange
- orange peel
- Twist a small strip of orange peel over a martini glass and drop it inside the glass.
- Combine all other ingredients into a cocktail shaker half-filled with ice.
- Give it a good 10 shakes – not too hard or fast unless you want your cocktail watery – and strain into the glass.
Rating: 9.0 – Highly Recommended
More about Tequila Don Pilar
Taking a different path than most tequila brands, Tequila Don Pilar was until recently only available as an affordable añejo. It quickly became a well-respected and popular brand, especially in Northern California (where the añejo can be found in area Costco stores for $28.99, elsewhere for $35-$45.) Don Pilar, a former field worker turned restraunteur and entrepreneur, takes a hands-on approach to his tequila, supervising harvesting and production. A portrait of Don Pilar at his current age appears on the añejo bottles, and a young portrait appears on the new blanco.
The tequila is truly a family business. Don Pilar’s son, Juan, is the brand ambassador for the tequila. He tells me that the agave all comes from his father’s ranches near the town of San Jose de Gracia, which Juan tells me “is in the highlands [of Jalisco], 6,000 feet above sea level, in the middle of the ‘Golden Triangle’ of tequila production—between the towns of Arandas, Atotonilco and Tepatitlan.” Each agave used in the tequila is hand-selected. “It must be 8-to-10 years old,” says Juan. “Young or diseased plants are not used. We also take the extra step of removing the plant’s bitter roots – cogollos.”
Another distinguishing factor about Don Pilar is that it is fermented using the “Mozart Method,” a technique based upon the research of Dr. Masaru Emoto, a Japanese scientist who focuses on the healing qualities of water. Juan explains that in the Mozart Method, “Baroque music, specifically Vivaldi’s ‘Four Seasons,’ is played during the fermentation process to optimize the sugar conversion. The basic theory or rationale is that yeast, being a living organism, reacts to audio stimuli, and the fermentation process improves even more so with a highly-cultured, sophisticated work of art like the ‘Four Seasons.’”
If you can’t find Don Pilar Blanco in your area, it is also available for purchase online.
Disclosure statement:This item was solicited for review. Products are reviewed with objectivity and professionalism wherever and however they were acquired.