Tag Archives: Mexico

Dazed & Diffused: More on the Diffuser in Tequila Production

We briefly tackled the diffuser controversy earlier in 2014 with The Diffusor in Tequila Production: Are They Cheating? and in Craft Tequila–WTF Does THAT Mean? Part 2  where we featured our Craft Tequila Gauntlet to help you make better buying decisions when seeking quality craft tequilas.

 Here, Tequila Aficionado Media delves deeper…

What’s Not on The Menu

The Pastry War's stance on diffuser produced tequila and mezcal., We briefly tackled the diffuser controversy earlier in 2014 with The Diffusor in Tequila Production: Are They Cheating?, diffuser, diffusor, difuser, difusor

The Pastry War’s stance on diffuser produced tequila and mezcal.

On the wall of The Pastry War, a world renowned mezcalería and restaurant in the heart of Houston, TX, this chalkboard message proudly explains why owners, outspoken agave advocates Bobby Heugel and Alba Huerta, staunchly refuse to serve tequilas and mezcals produced with a diffuser.

In their view, it’s a battle between traditional methods of tequila [and mezcal] production which yields “delicious tequila [or mezcal],” versus more cost-conscious methods adopted by distilleries that produce “a shitty version of tequila [or mezcal].”

Let’s look more closely at this cursed contraption.

WTH Is It?

Mirriam-Webster’s online dictionary diffuser definition–

“a device for reducing the velocity and increasing the static pressure of a fluid passing through a system.”

Diffuser, by its own definition, denotes watering, stripping, deflecting or softening down the finished product, whether it be light, air, or agua miel, what will eventually be distilled into tequila.

Using only hot water and sulfuric acid to extract up to 98%-99% of the sugars from raw, uncooked agave, the resultant tequila, as described by noted agave lover, Fortaleza tequila brand ambassador and blogger, Khyrs Maxwell, in his detailed instructional post, There May Be Too Much Agave in Your Tequila or Mezcal  tastes like…

“…what I would consider to have a chemical/medicinal taste–sometimes slight, sometimes overbearing flavor profile that always seems to overshadow the beauty of the agave.”  

He further states that it “tastes very much like vodka” and has coined the term “AgaVodka.”

Lastly, Maxwell warns…

“So if you come across a tequila or mezcal made with a difusor, the only way that there can be “notes of cooked agave” is by adding that flavor during the finishing process.  They can add “notes of cooked agave?”  Why, yes.  Yes they can…I’ve seen and smelled the additive.  It does exist.”

Maxwell’s statement above excludes the use of authorized additives to blanco (unaged) tequila, of course.

As of December 2012, such practices have been outlawed by the CRT in its normas (rules and regulations governing the production of tequila).  It remains to be seen how well it will be enforced, however, so your pricey, Fruit Loop scented blanco may still be safe for a year or two until inventories are depleted.

Spanish diffuser manufacturer, Tomsa Destil, offers a closer look at the mega-masher and its process, which seem to go hand-in-hand with column distillation.

The site mentions that they have installed 12 diffusers for use in agave processing, but makes no mention of their clients, nor if sulfuric acid to extract sugars from agave is also needed.

Tomsa Destil diffuser., Diffusor in Tequila

Tomsa Destil diffuser.

The Stigma

While controversy swirls around the use of a diffuser, most educated tequila aficionados understand that it is not illegal to do so.  In fact, its application was accepted by the CRT some time ago.

As we mentioned in item #5 of our Craft Tequila Gauntlet, diffuser use by a distillery is a closely guarded secret even though it is a fairly large piece of machinery to try to hide.  There is a stigma attached to it, with most distilleries that have one completely denying that any of their star brands are processed with it.

While most of the Tequila Industry’s heavy hitters are known to possess diffusers, many also own regular shredders, autoclaves and even stone ovens.  Ask any major brand owner whose tequila is produced at these maquiladoras (large production facilities that churn out juice for contracted brands) whether they are a by-product of a diffuser, and they vehemently deny it.

#AskRuben

Ruben Aceves, Casa Herradura, Diffusor in Tequila

Ruben Aceves, Casa Herradura.

 

In the Twitter thread attached to The Diffusor in Tequila Production: Are They Cheating? it was revealed that Casa Herradura had used a diffuser from 2001-2010.

The historic tequila maker initially implemented the super shredder during the last great agave crisis of the late 90s.  Years later, it was taken to task by an organized group of key concerned mixologists and tequila supporters who refused to use Herradura in their cocktails or to include it in their bar menus due to a drastic change in its original flavor profile and quality.  Herradura finally succumbed and stopped using it for that label.

Vintage Casa Herradura, logo, Diffusor in Tequila

In the following screen captures of a Twitter chat from May 1, 2014, Ruben Aceves, Casa Herradura’s Director of International Brand Development, admits that the diffuser is now only used for their Antiguo, El Jimador, and Pepe Lopez brands.

 

Twitter chat #AskRuben.

More Twitter chat. #AskRuben

 

Aceves had previously come clean to spirits writer, Emma Janzen in her article for The Statesman here.

In Khrys Maxwell’s aforementioned blog, he lists tequila producers known to employ diffusers.  Tequila Aficionado also includes this list on every updated NOM List for your convenience.

Nevertheless, one of those distilleries mentioned in Maxwell’s list boldly refuses to hide behind a veil of secrecy–

Destilería Leyros (NOM 1489).

In Defense Of Diffusers

Destilería Leyros, producers of their flagship brand, Tequila Don Fermin and many others, bills itself as a model for modern and efficient tequila making.

It was proudly represented that way even in the wildly popular Spanish language telenovela Destilando Amor, where it stood in for the then fictional Destilería Montalvo.

 

Enrique Legorreta Carranco, one of the owners of Leyros, agreed to answer some of our questions and to try to help dispel the myths and mysteries surrounding the diffuser.

Controversy

“I am aware about the controversy of using difusor [Spanish spelling] in the tequila process.  Here are some key factors and benefits of the process in order to be firm with the press:

“In fact, there is nothing to hide and we are willing to receive tequila bloggers, media or people from Tequila Aficionado in order to know first hand this innovative and ecological process.”

Process

“The difusor extracts the agave juice first of all, followed by the cooking of the agave juice to extract the agave sugars.  This cooked agave juice is called the agua miel.  In traditional process they first cooked the agave followed by the agave juice extraction.  We obviously need to cook the agave juice in order to get its sugars in order to be able to be fermentated (biological process where sugar turns into alcohol).”

Flavor

[We’ll note that Sr. Legorreta took issue with the portrayal of the tastes and essences of tequilas produced with a diffuser as described by some bloggers, believing them to be too subjective.]

“This process gives to the taster a more herbal, clean and citric experience.  Also this process is more efficient and as a result gives a tequila with better standards in methanol, aldehydes and other compounds not desired because at high levels produces hangovers.”

 

Traditional Process vs. Modern Technology

“We respect a lot [the] traditional process.  The only thing we believe is that the consumer has the last word to choose between one tequila flavor from another.
“There are people that prefer the traditional strong flavor from tequila.  Other people are preferring tequilas [that are] more pure, citric with subtle notes of fresh agave like if you are smelling [the] agave and [the] land.”

 

Environment

Reiterating what was demonstrated in the videos above, Sr. Legorreta explains…
“A difusor process uses less than 50% of energy, and less than 60% of water used in traditional processes to produce same quantities of liters.  Additional to this [at the] Leyros Distillery we recycle the bagasse that we get in the last phase of the difusor.  All this with our completely self-sufficient green boiler is fueled with bagasse from our own mill.”

 

About That Stigma…

“About why many distilleries denied they have a difusor, I can guess without knowing a reason from first hand–that is because traditional process with ovens sounds more romantic than the technology of a difusor.”
“In fact, a lot of distilleries focus their marketing efforts around traditional processes.  I guess this is working.  If not, I [suppose] they would be focusing more in the tasting notes of the final product.”
Indeed, Destilería Leyros’ website and videos play on the romance using a smattering of phrases as, “It tastes like countryside, like fire in your blood,” and “Like a passionate kiss, the Taste of Mexico.”

A New Style

In much the same manner as importers, brand owners, and maestro tequileros defend

Don Fermin barrel room at Destilería Leyros.

Don Fermin barrel room at Destilería Leyros.

(and advertise in their marketing materials!) the use of additives in their aged tequilas (“finished and polished”), Sr. Legorreta asserts that juice made with a diffuser is simply another style of tequila.

“The essence of tequila is the agave, and both processes distill agave, just in different ways.  There are some people that love traditions [and] there are others that like to innovate and improve things.”
Just as Leyros’ website and videos “invites you to taste and compare, and then let your palate decide which tequila you’d rather raise in a toast,” Sr. Legorreta concludes:
“At the end of the day, or the end of the history, [it] is the consumer [who] chooses their tequila without a bias in the information.”
Some Truths to Consider

The Leyros videos above claim to use machinery as a way to “considerably reduce the risk of injury” to the people on their workforce.  Yet, as Maxwell points out…

“Not only is the difusor a way to pump out product, it also uses a very small labor force.  As more distilleries use the difusor, there will be less jobs available to those, who for hundreds of years,  have built towns and created families by working in the agave distillate industry.  So what happens to the unemployed?  …do they leave for the US to become illegal immigrants?  Or do they work for the narcos?”

At the risk of being redundant, it bears repeating what noted agave ethno-botanist, Ana Valenzuela said about the diffuser here

Shredder.

Shredder.

 

“…to prohibit the use of diffusers (in hydrolysis of agave juices) that takes the “soul” (the flavor of baked agave) out of our native distillates, singular in the world for its complexities of aromas and flavors.”

In conclusion, if current figures are correct, exports of tequila rose 16% to US$568 million in the first six months of 2014, compared to the same period last year.  It is expected that China will import 10 million liters of tequila in the next 5 years.

Where will Mexico find enough agave to serve their thirsty customers?

Mezcaleros de Oaxaca protestan.

Mezcaleros de Oaxaca protestan.

These guys know where.

Turning A Blind Eye

On September 4, 2014, dozens of mezcaleros (mezcal producers) dumped 200 liters of mezcal onto the streets of Oaxaca City in protest for their government’s lack of support against tequileros from Jalisco who are allegedly raiding tons of espadín and other maguey (agave), the prime ingredient in mezcal, to produce tequila.

In the process, say Maestros del Mezcal Tradiciónal del Estado de Oaxaca (a trade association) 15 of the 32 varieties of maguey native to Oaxaca are in danger of becoming extinct.

Don’t Say We Didn’t Warn You

Without maguey there is no mezcal or tequila.

Without maguey there is no mezcal or tequila.

Thanks to these transnational maguey marauders, the burgeoning mezcal industry’s days are numbered, it seems.

If indeed a diffuser strips away the agave’s regional characteristics leaving behind a more citric, vodka-like, cookie cutter flavor profile that easily lends itself to clandestine adulteration, over distillation and multiple barrel blendings, then what’s to keep these pirate tequileros from pilfering agave from outside the requisite growing states and using a diffuser to crank out “tequila?”

These days, filling orders to emerging world markets is more important than the blatant disregard for the Denomination of Origin.

Jessica’s Journey Interrupted Due to Hurricane Odile

I must interrupt my epic tequila journey with news of  Hurricane Odile

By Jessica Arent

 

villaAnyone that knows me knows Cabo San Lucas is my home away from home. I find myself worrisome and agitated as I await word of the many I call “family” and “friend” who are unaccounted for and unreachable. Since Sunday night I have found myself turning over and over with concern, as the Hurricane ravaged beautiful Los Cabos, Mexico.

Last Saturday, Cabo San Lucas, and San Jose Del Cabo were tranquil trendy hotspots for getaway weekends and sun seekers. The entire Baja Peninsula is a thriving, luxury destination for those who seek an experience beyond the expected.

VWdealerCabo San Lucas is the place where earth, sea, and sky meet, where the sunset is spectacular and the fun in the sun never ends. It is home to celebrities and expats alike.  Cabo San Lucas, the corridor of the Peninsula, and San Jose Del Cabo are, in my opinion, the most beautiful destinations in the northern hemisphere.

Luxury golf courses, resorts, and spas line the Sea Of Cortez.  Each more spectacular and luxurious than the next, creating beachfront path of luxury all the way up the peninsula from San Jose to Cabo San Lucas.  You’ll find luxury shopping malls and art galleries, $25,000 per night villas and hotel rooms costing thousands per night.  Los Cabos has a world reputation for service and extraordinary experiences.  Cruise line passengers rub elbows with the rich and famous here. Cabo San Lucas, Mexico, is the place to go to drench yourself in fun and sun. This was the place I planned to call “home” as early as next year, where I wanted to lay my head for the next twenty years.

Tourists, Mexico Military PlaneBut that was last week.

Today, Baja has been ravaged by Hurricane Odile, one of the most powerful hurricanes recorded in the history of the peninsula, a Category 4. At 10:45MST Hurricane Odile made landfall on the Baja Peninsula leaving destruction likened only to that of Hurricane Katrina.

Cabo San Lucas sits at “Land’s End”, at the tip of Mexico’s Baja, where the Sea of Cortez meets the Pacific Ocean. At the other side of the peninsula lies San Jose Del Cabo, on the edge of the Sea of Cortez and home to the locals who work in the shops, stores, hotels, restaurants, taxis, and other vendors and providers that make Cabo San Lucas the hot Mexican destination it is. It is San Jose Del Cabo that appears by all accounts to have been the hardest hit by this devastating act of nature.

temp shelterCNN is filtering images of entire barrios flattened. The hotels along the beachfront are shown with ceilings falling in and pools washing out into the sea. Tourists stacked up in stairwells in hotels and resorts were photographed riding out the storm.

playa grande hotelThere is looting and desperation in the aftermath. 600 guests are reportedly trapped within the compound of the RIU Resort, surrounded by flood waters, with no drinking water and limited food supplies. Grocery stores lie collapsed. Roads, highways, and the International Airport are flooded with debris. The FAA is stating no operations before October 10, 2014.   Military planes have been engaged to evacuate some of the 30,000 tourists trapped in Los Cabos, flying them to Mazatlán and Guadalajara to get home.

rstaurantCabo is in truth a third world community. Water is not pumped into homes and is trucked in and stored in “pilas” or wells. It is difficult for the water companies to bypass the destruction of the roads to get water to the community. Add to this a peninsula-wide power outage that has hotels running on generators and homes without electricity in sweltering heat.  As if all of this weren’t enough, there is the threat of another hurricane forming with a path that could have it making landfall on the same exact path as Odile.

Mitsubishi motorsCabo is home to many Canadian and American expats. Multi-million dollar homes are what usually come to mind when one references the destination. We think of swaying palm trees and $1000 per night luxury hotel rooms, palatial villas in gated communities, Jennifer Aniston beach sightings, and George Clooney and Mike Shanahan with homes in the prestigious beachfront golf course communities that have security gates that are better armed than the White House. While these people may have the money to cover the losses of such devastation, locals aren’t as fortunate.

Today my heart breaks while I pace, watch, and wait for a sign that those I love are safe and cared for. Today isn’t about tequila, it’s about my Mexico and her people. While the rest of Mexico celebrated Independence Day, Los Cabos and many of us who love the destination found ourselves trying to understand what to do next.

McDonaldsLos Cabos has her work cut out for her. It will take a long time for her to recover and longer still if Tropical Storm Polo becomes a hurricane and follows Odile’s path.

Today I write out of love for a country, the people, and the community I hold so dear.

marina2Today my tequila tastes of tears.

Having done some research, I was able to gather updates from my relationships at the resorts in Los Cabos, with regard to the staff, resort guests, and reservations:

 Fiesta Americana Grand Los Cabos

“9/16/14 – Due to Hurricane Odile, reservations at the Fiesta Americana Grand Los Cabos All Inclusive Golf & Spa are temporarily suspended from September 15th to 22nd. We would be happy to offer you other beach and vacations destinations during this time period.”

Villa Group – Villa del Arco, Villa la Estancia and Villa del Palmar

marina1“9/15/14 – Thank you all for your support and concern for our guests and coworkers in our Cabo Hotels. We are glad to report only minimal damages, and thankfully everyone is ok. Our three Resorts remain a safe environment for everyone, with basic electric power (supplied by our generator) and water on the facilities. One of our restaurants is fully operating and providing all the meals needed. The airport is not functioning and Cabo San Lucas is damaged. However, The worst part is over so there’s no need to worry.”

RIU Santa Fe and Riu Palace Cabo San Lucas

marina“Hurricane Odile: Update, Monday 12:00 CST 9/15/14 Riu Santa Fe Hotel and Riu Palace Cabo San Lucas Hotel have been strongly impacted by the passing of Hurricane Odile over Cabo San Lucas last night. Fortunately, all of our employees and guests are fine, and we have only suffered some damage to the properties. As a precaution, the authorities of Baja California have decided to cut electrical service, which is in addition to the suspension of the water supply due to the heavy rains. All of this is greatly hindering the efforts of our hotel staff who are working tirelessly and doing as much as possible to accommodate and care for our guests. At the moment, communication with the destination is complicated, but the authorities are already at work reestablishing all services. We appreciate your understanding and will continue to keep you informed. Update Tuesday, 9/16/14 – Communication with Los Cabos is still difficult because the telephone lines are down. We have been in touch with our colleagues, who have told us once again that everyone is fine, and they have given us the following information:

main road1 Hotel employees. We have 150 staff at the Hotel Riu Santa Fe and 120 at the Riu Palace Cabo San Lucas. Some employees left the premises yesterday to check whether their families were safe, despite the danger involved in travelling at the moment due to the floods. Many of them have returned to the hotels and others, who were not present when the hurricane hit, have joined their colleagues in looking after guests and in cleaning tasks. It is necessary to bear in mind that rooms are dispersed over large areas and that reaching each room is not an easy task.

Food and drink. At present there is both water and food for the hotel guests. With the support of the Civil Protection service, all measures are being taken to re-establish supply over the coming hours and days.

hyatt hotelAdditional teams on the way: Our Operations, Technical Services, Food and Beverage, Cleaning and general support teams are ready to leave from our hotels in Vallarta, Mazatlán and Guadalajara. They are just waiting for San José Airport to open so they can travel.

RIU is in constant contact with the local authorities and Civil Protection service. They are the experts on the ground, and are working to re-establish normality.

We appreciate your understanding during this difficult time for guests, the destination, the hotels, and all the staff working there.”

Starwood Resorts – Westin Los Cabos and Sheraton Hacienda del Mar

maan palace san Jose resort“9/15/14 – Due to Hurricane Odile, which came ashore at Los Cabos in Baja California on Sunday and Monday, September 14-15, The Westin Los Cabos Resort & Spa, and the Sheraton Hacienda del Mar Golf Resort & Spa have sustained damage, and are unable to accept any new guests at this time.  It is too soon to determine when the hotels will be fully operational, but it is not expected until at least October 31. Although the hotels are unable to welcome you during your planned stay, please know our team would be more than happy to help you make alternate arrangements. Starwood will also support any guests that would like to cancel their existing reservations by waiving all change or cancellation penalties for arrivals in the months of September and October. We look forward to welcoming you to The Westin Los Cabos and Sheraton Hacienda del Mar in the near future, and appreciate your understanding of the changes due to the recent hurricane.”

Sandos Finisterra Los Cabos

Hotel floodedMonday, 9/15/14 – In reference to the devastating news of the impact of Hurricane Odile last night, we wish, first and foremost, to confirm that the guests of Sandos Finisterra are safe and have access to basic services at the moment. We will share as much detail as possible once again as soon as possible.”

“UPDATE: Our staff is continuing to work with guests and local authorities to ensure the safety and comfort of those on the property. Guests who are currently on the Sandos Finisterra property will not be charged from this day forward. The hotel is no longer accepting reservations and all guests who are booked to arrive from today until Oct. 1, 2014 may change their reservations at no additional charge or be relocated to one of our other Mexican properties. For reservations made through an agency or wholesaler please contact them and they will provide you with the necessary information.”

“UPDATE: 9/16/14 – After the first 24 hours, there are still problems with power supplies as well as phone lines and internet connections so, unfortunately, it is not possible to talk to the hotel directly in this moment. Despite so, we can confirm that all the guests at the hotel are our priority. They all are safe and being taken care of and we are working hard together with the authorities and suppliers to recover the communications and supplies as soon as possible. At this moment, due to the communication problems, it is difficult to get official updates about the situation. As soon as we have more information about the evacuation plans we will share the news here.”

Secrets Puerto Los Cabos

debris2“9/15/14 – We would like to update you on the status of Hurricane Odile which has passed through the Los Cabos region. We are pleased to announce that all guests on property are safe and secure. Resort executive staff members are currently assessing the damage and will be providing a report later today. We will be updating you with the confirmed details as soon as we receive the information. The Los Cabos International Airport remains closed until further notice. If you have questions or concerns outside of the storm damage or airport closure, please your travel agent or tour operator We will continue to remain in close communication and will update you with further confirmed details. As always, thank you for your support.”

Additional AMResorts Update (Secrets Marquis Los Cabos, Zoëtry Casa del Mar Los Cabos, and Dreams Los Cabos in the immediate area…

“9/15/14 – We would like to update you on the condition of the Los Cabos region due to Hurricane Odile. As we have previously communicated, all guests on property are safe and sound. We are continuing to assess the status of the resorts as well as working to receive updated information from public authorities regarding infrastructure. Our communication lines are extremely limited at this time but we will be in touch once we have additional news to share.”

  Hilton Los Cabos

debris3“9/15/14 – All guests and team members are reported safe. Due to the effects of Hurricane Odile, Hilton Los Cabos Beach & Golf Resort is closed to arrivals at this time. The hotel is not accepting existing or new reservations until a definitive assessment of the damage is complete. Our immediate priority is to care for our guests and team members, and we are doing everything we can to minimize the effect on them. We’ll post more information as it becomes available. Thanks for your prayers and good wishes.”

“UPDATE 9/16/14 – All guests and team members at Hilton Los Cabos Beach & Golf Resort have been accounted for and are reported safe. At this early stage, we do not have a definitive assessment of the damage. Our immediate priority is to care for our guests and team members and we are doing everything we can to minimize the effect on them. Currently, our team is assisting guests, providing meals and water, and trying to keep them as comfortable as possible. The hotel continues working with the local authorities and our tourism partners in the area. As a reminder, the Los Cabos airport remains closed until further notice. At this time, the hotel is closed to arrivals and no longer accepting reservations. The safety and security of our guests and team members are of paramount importance and Hilton Los Cabos Beach & Golf Resort makes every effort to ensure that all practices and standards are in line with strict safety regulations. In anticipation of the storm, the hotel immediately implemented its hurricane preparedness plan and emergency procedures. These are difficult times, not just for us, but for everyone affected by the current situation.   NOTE: Guests with existing reservations should contact their travel provider.” 

Pueblo Bonito Resorts 

debris1“9/15/14 – Thank you for all your good wishes and prayers. We would like to inform you that all guests and team members at the Pueblo Bonito Resorts are reported safe. Hurricane Odile has damaged some parts of our hotels but no structural damage was caused. We are working hard to help our guests and cleaning up any damages to restore services as soon as possible. Please stay tuned and we will keep you posted as more information comes available.”
“UPDATE: 9/16/14 – Hello all! We want to let you know that we are working very hard to determine a time frame as to when our Cabo San Lucas hotels will be fully operational again. At this point, however, it is too soon to officially establish this time frame. For those of you who have reservations for this week, we recommend you that reschedule your stay for later dates. Please make changes to your reservation by contacting the channel through which the reservation was booked. If you have reservations for September 22nd or after, please stay tuned and we will continue to update you through posts on our site.

Many of you have noticed that you have not able to reach anyone in the destination today. Unfortunately, the telephone and WIFI services have been down throughout Cabo today, but we would like to assure you that all of our guests are safe and sound, and all are being provided with food.

Regarding the airports, a definite date has not been announced for the Cabo International airport (SJD) to reopen, but cleancabocurrent advice from airlines indicate that it may reopen around September 22nd for arrivals. Local news is reporting that, according to the Secretary of Tourism, the airport’s two terminals were damaged but the airport is operable. The smaller Cabo San Lucas airport (CSL or MMSL) is not operable and is reported to be closed until October 10th.

In the meantime, the Federal Government of Mexico has announced that there will be an air bridge to evacuate tourists and residents from Los Cabos. The Tourism Ministry has announced that the National Defense ministry, the Mexican Navy, and the Communication & Transport ministry will all be involved in the evacuation process. We will keep you informed as more information becomes available.

Lastly, for those of you who have shown concern about the locals, we have reports from emergency officials in Baja California that 135 people have been treated for minor injuries from flying glass or falling objects, but fortunately, there were no serious injuries or deaths. We sincerely appreciate your warm words of concern for all of our coworkers and guests, and we thank you for your understanding and your patience as we work to restore our services and operations. Please continue to check here for more updates.”

Capella Pedregal

Cell Tower down9/15/14 – Capella Pedregal is currently completing its assessment on the effects of Hurricane Odile.

One&Only Palmilla

“9/15/14 – Guests of One&Only Palmilla were evacuated ahead of the storm and no guests were at the resort when Hurricane Odile hit the area. While it is too early to give a complete assessment, our dedicated team is working diligently to assess damage in order to determine when the resort will reopen. We will provide updates as they become available. We are in the process of contacting guests with bookings immediately impacted.”

Casa Dorada Los Cabos

“Casa Dorada would like to send express heartfelt comparison for all those affected by the recent Hurricane to hit Cabo – We were very lucky and all of our guests and staff are safe, we feel very blessed.”

Solmar Resorts – Solmar Resort, Playa Grande Beach Resort & Grand Solmar

central San jose Del Cabo“Thank you all for your support, thoughts and prayers. Please know that our priority remains the safety and comfort of all our guests throughout the Solmar collection. Hotel management is currently surveying and assessing the damage to all properties. We will share more information once we have it but rest assured that Solmar will continue to provide the best service possible to the guests that remain with us during this time through our dedicated staff & management team.”

Hacienda Encantada and Marina Fiesta

cardealer“9/15/14 – We wanted to provide you with an update on the current status at the hotels due to the aftermath of Hurricane Odile. Everyone at the hotels – employees and guests – are all safe. Due to the Hurricane that hit last night, some damage has been reported at the hotel. Our first, and of course immediate priority, is to ensure that all guests and valued employees remain safe. We will be conducting a full assessment on-site and will continue to keep you all updated in the coming days. Thank you for all of your well wishes and continued thoughts.”

Las Ventanas al Paraiso

“Hurricane Odile was the strongest hurricane on record to make landfall on the Baja California peninsula, and in its aftermath, we are currently reviewing the damage it caused. This will take time, as it is still raining and the storm has not fully cleared the region. Until we can fully assess the damage and ensure the resort’s overall safety, Las Ventanas will remain closed. All guests were transferred to San Diego, a safe distance from the storm’s path, before Hurricane Odile hit Baja. We will provide updates as they become available.”

Barcelo Grand Faro

cars“We are glad to announce all guests on property are safe and secure, every safety action was taken on the right place on the right moment, and we will provide a report later on for further guests who had already reserved with us for the following days. Communications are still poor by this moment but we trust this will be fixed on the following days. Los Cabos International airport will remain closed until further notice. If you have questions or concerns outside of the storm damage or airport closure, please your travel agent or tour operator. Thanks for all your support.”

When considering the magnitude of hurricane and the experiences of so many enduring this devastating storm, we should recognize the teams at the resorts for the management of their emergency services in ensuring the safety of the resort guests and staff.  Thanks to Caboholics as well, which has been a wealth of information.

As of this writing, Cerritos Tequila, their signature resort and beach lie on El Cerritos Beach, has not reported on the safety of those on the property or whether the resort saw any damage. It is my greatest hope that those who call Cerritos Beach home are safe and sound.

If you would like to help, donations of clothing and food as well as financial assistance can be managed through the following TRUSTED organizations:

cellU.S. Consulate The U.S. Consular Agency in Los Cabos, Mexico is located at the Shoppes at Palmilla local 221-B, Transpeninsular Highway Km 27.5, San José del Cabo. If you are a U.S. citizen in need of urgent assistance, the emergency number for the U.S. Embassy/Consulate is (619) 692-2154 (dialing from the U.S. 011-52 + phone number). See the U.S. Consulate Hurricane Odile page for more information. Visit  Smart Traveler Enrollment Program to register your name with the State Dept. for future travel.

The State Department has established a crisis hotline to respond to inquiries about current conditions and loved ones visiting Los Cabos. If you require assistance personally, or wish to inquire on behalf of a friend or family member, please use the following.

From the U.S. & Canada: 1-888-407-4747

From Overseas: 1 202-501-4444

Email: OdileEmergencyUSC@state.gov

 

**ALASKA AIRLINES ADVISORY;

AirportUPDATE 1:30 p.m. Tuesday, Sept. 16:

Alaska Airlines has extended its flexible travel policy for customers with tickets in or out of Los Cabos that were purchased on or before Sept. 14 for travel Sept. 14-30. Change fees and difference in fare will be waived if new travel is booked in the same cabin, and customers may choose to travel in or out of Los Cabos, Puerto Vallarta, Mazatlan, Manzanillo or Ixtapa-Zihuatanejo. Travel must be completed on or before Nov. 5, 2014. Tickets must be exchanged or refunded by Nov. 5, 2014.   www.alaskaair.com

 

DONATIONS THAT ARE DESPERATELY NEEDED!!!!

barrioSmall first aid kits, flash lights and batteries, plastic tarps, Bottled water, clothes, shoes, blankets, can food, small coolers, duct tape, pet food, hand can opener, lighters, towels, work gloves, duffle bags, kitchen accessories like paper plates, cups, utensils, garbage bags, protein bars, paper towels, toilet paper, bar soap, shampoo – Please try the following links for the shipment and donations –

https://www.youcaring.com/Cabo

https://bisbeesconservationfund.org/Donate/CaboRelief

http://www.ligamac.org/index.php/support-us/donate-now

 

Los Cabos International Airport Update!!

Grupo Aeroportuario del Pacífico, S.A.B. de C.V. (NYSE:PAC)(BMV:GAP) (“the Company” or “GAP”) informs that the Mexican Bureau of Civil Aviation (DGAC), the Mexican aeronautical authority, has issued a NOTAM (Notice to Airmen), in which it has instructed Los Cabos International Airport (SJD)(“the Airport”), that from the date of the issuance of the NOTAM until October 8, 2014, to operate solely for official, humanitarian aid and rescue flights, as well as general aviation operations.

While the NOTAM is in force, GAP will dedicate all of its efforts in preparing the Airport for the re-opening of commercial operations, which are essential for rebuilding the region’s economy. The first phase, thereof, will involve the basic re-opening of the terminals as per the aeronautical authority’s guidelines.

The Company carried out essential tasks to clear the flight areas and the aprons, immediately after Hurricane Odile moved through the area, in order to receive aid and facilitate the necessary evacuation; this was completed in the 12 hours following the hurricane. GAP, in conjunction with the federal and state authorities, airlines and hotels focused its resources to the evacuation of visitors and residents from Monday, September 15 to Friday, September 19, evacuating nearly 25 thousand passengers with the use of an air bridge provided by national and international airlines; approximately 480 such air operations took place.

The tasks that are scheduled to initiate as per the issuance of this NOTAM, consists of debris removal and recovery of the facilities, the terminal buildings and the equipment in order to re-commence basic services by the date indicated by DGAC. The full recovery of the facilities will take place gradually, beginning on the date of the NOTAM, and is expected to be completed prior to November 25, 2014.

The Company reaffirms its commitment to the federal government, the aeronautical authority and the government of State of Baja California Sur to re-establish airport services as required by the resident community and the development of tourism in the region.

 

 

jessica arent, jessica's journey, mexico, tequila, tequila aficionadoAbout Jessica Arent

Jessica Arent has spent her career steeped in the Hispanic culture. Passionate about the Latin culture and experiencing roles that have taken her from television to digital marketing throughout the United States and Mexico, Jessica’s passion for Mexico runs in her blood. An accomplished writer, Mexico is where her heart lives and is the focus of her work and writing.  Specializing in marketing Hispanic based products and services, Jessica will tell you there are few people in the world or places she has traveled, from Asia to Europe and in between, who compare to the Mexican culture.  Building websites such as ALL ABOUT MEXICO and fostering the marketing endeavors of a number of tequila products, to name a few, Jessica sets out to inspire the world around her, one person, one relationship at a time, to know and understand the culture she calls home.  Jessica is a partner at Intermountain Media, LLC, the Communications and Media Director of Terra Energy Resources Corp, and shares other travel and tequila adventures on her blog, Jessica’s Mexico.

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New Tequila NOM List (Dated 26Aug2014)

don fulanoThe Tequila NOM List

Each of our tequila NOM Lists contains the names and information of current brands as well as those that have previously appeared on NOM lists but have since been dropped by the CRT. Pinpointing your treasure bottles has never been easier! Please understand that this list is not a comprehensive list of every tequila brand ever made. We make every effort to be sure it is as accurate as possible from the time we at Tequila Aficionado Media began publishing our lists in 2013.

Click to download the format of your choice:

[wpdm_file id=14]

[wpdm_file id=13]

 

About Our Tequila NOM List

Mariachi Nuevo Tecalitlan, embajador, sip award, tequilaClick on any RED link within the NOM list to see the Tequila Aficionado articles and reviews on that brand. *Color Coding*

  • Brands highlighted in Green are recent additions (see comment on Excel spreadsheet for first shown date)
  • Brands highlighted in Red did not appear on the current list (see comment on Excel spreadsheet for last shown date)
  • Brands highlighted in Blue are suspected of using a diffusor in production.

 

 

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Jessica’s Journey – Epic Marketing or Sauza History Lesson?

Epic Marketing or Sauza History Lesson?

You Be the Judge

Part 3 in Jessica’s Epic Journey

By Jessica Arent, Tequila Aficionado Contributor

Sauza History, tequila, jessica arent, tequila aficionado, la cofradia, jaime sauza, cuervo, distillery, wine, dobecq, brandyMy second day in Mexico was focused on the product and team brainstorming for a market launch. Believe me when I say Mel Gibson’s character in “What Women Want” wasn’t so far off in the process of branding and advertising. Total immersion into the product to help identify the audience, and the creativity necessary to capture the attention of the targeted audience can be taxing, especially when the tasting begins before the first cappuccino.

I walked into the meeting feeling the weight of travel, the mess of humidity, and trying to pull myself together. Guadalajara has a humid climate and the morning had already proven challenging with the struggle to tame my ever-frizzing hair. If you have ever attempted to straighten and smooth naturally curly hair in humid climates you know this can be an exercise in futility and frustrating endeavor, and yet we still attempt the battle. It tends to leave you irritable and makes for a difficult start to the day…until there was tequila? For breakfast? No way!!!

Several unmarked bottles sat on the table along with dozens of glasses.

And so the work day began, with a flute of 5-year Anejo in one hand and a double cappuccino in the other. . .

While I will not bore you with the details of the work day and the brainstorming that went into it, I will say that I felt like I consumed more tequila on this day than I have in all my years of drinking! 5-year, Plata, Reposado, 7-year…

Glass after glass, note after note…

It’s a tough job, but someone has to do it.

What?! It’s work!!

The truth is, while an extraordinary team, the incredible opportunity to work side by side with Jaime Sauza, and garner some of his knowledge and the rich family history that is his in the world of tequila, was without a doubt an incredible experience, and it was exactly this way that I spent the work day, collaborating with this extraordinary man…

Sauza History

Sauza History, tequila, jessica arent, tequila aficionado, la cofradia, jaime sauza, cuervo, distillery, wine, dobecq, brandyOriginally considered “Mexican Moonshine”, the poor man’s drink, Don Cenobio Sauza recognized opportunity early on(“Don” makes you think of the Godfather, doesn’t it?) In 1873 Don Cenobio Sauza founded Sauza Tequila at “La Perseverancia” distillery. He was the first distiller to call the spirit produced from the blue agave plant “tequila”, and the first to export the drink to the United States.

The Story goes like this….

Don Cenobio Sauza was born on a farm in Jalisco, Mexico. He was the third child of Hilario Sauza and Doña Margarita Madrigal Navarro. He worked on his father’s farm along with his siblings Adelaida, Juana, Fernanda, Luis and Herminia until he was sixteen. In 1858 Cenobio traveled to Tequila to visit his cousin Ramon Corona Madrigal. Enamored with the countryside and the rich soil, Cenobio settled in Tequila and got a job working at the distillery of José Antonio Gómez Cuervo. There he learned how to farm agave and distill mezcal-tequila.

Cenobio began to export mezcal-tequila from Tequila to other parts of the country. In 1870, no longer content to just sell, Sauza leased the “La Gallardeña” distillery from Lazaro Gallardo. Sauza saw great success, and three years later, on September 1, 1873 , purchased the “La Antigua Cruz” (The Old Cross) distillery (the oldest registered tequila distillery, founded in 1805 by José Maria Castañeda) from Don Felix Lopez. The transaction equated to 5,000 pesos and he promptly renamed it “La Perseverancia” (Perseverance).The former employee of Cuervo had successfully founded Sauza Tequila and become one of Cuervo’s great rivals.

In 1873 Sauza was the first to export tequila to the United States; crossing through the border at El Paso del Norte (present day Ciudad Juarez) carrying three casks and six jugs of his mezcal-tequila. This was the beginning of the export market for tequila.

The arrival of the railroad in Tequila, Jalisco, increased Sauza’s business and in 1889 he purchased the “La Gallardeña” distillery from Lazaro Gallardo. That same year he purchased the “Hacienda de San Martin de las Cañas”. This became Sauza’s headquarters and was simply known as “La Hacienda Cenobio”. Here he planted more than 2 million agave and started producing an estimated 800 casks of tequila per year. He purchased and sold thirteen more distilleries and numerous fields of agave, always working at least three at a time in order to remain the leader in tequila production and sales. Don Cenobio is credited with determining that the blue agave was the best agave for tequila in the 1890. Obviously the rest followed suit.

Sauza History, tequila, jessica arent, tequila aficionado, la cofradia, jaime sauza, cuervo, distillery, wine, dobecq, brandyDon Cenobio’s son, Don Eladio Sauza, was born in Tequila in 1883. At age 20 Eladio moved to Tecolotlan to take charge of his father’s distillery, “La Hacienda La Labor”. It was there that he learned the business of producing and selling tequila. Later, he moved to Mazatlán, a major port in the Northeastern part of Mexico, to establish a Sauza Tequila distribution center in order to increase exportation.

Upon Don Cenobio’s death in 1909, Eladio returned to Guadalajara to mourn his father and to take control of the Sauza Tequila Empire. Shortly thereafter, the Mexican Revolution threatened to expropriate Eladio’s business and farmland. During the Revolution, Eladio rallied patriotic sentiment and helped to establish tequila as the official spirit of Mexico.

Eladio modernized and expanded the family business by opening branches in Monterrey and Mexico City, as well as a concession in Spain. When Don Eladio Sauza died at the age of 63 on July 22, 1946, he left the Sauza Tequila business to his firstborn son, Francisco Javier Sauza

The Third Generation is Born

Sauza History, tequila, jessica arent, tequila aficionado, la cofradia, jaime sauza, cuervo, distillery, wine, dobecq, brandyFrancisco Javier Sauza was born in Tecolotlan, Mexico on December 8, 1903 to Don Eladio Sauza and Doña Silveria Mora Enriquez. Francisco Javier Sauza, like his father, was raised on tequila, and in the family tradition of his father and his grandfather he too grew to become part of the family legacy.

When Javier Sauza took over Tequila Sauza, shortly before his father’s death in 1946, he began at once to change the image of tequila from a “drink of the campesinos” to a refined spirit of the upper classes. His competitors scoffed when he redesigned the bottles and labels for a more tasteful look and began to age some of the tequila in wooden barrels for a smoother taste and color.  He took his product to fairs and expositions throughout Mexico, the United States, and Europe, and promoted it as “the drink of romance.” He also modernized production and transportation systems and built a bottling plant in Guadalajara.

In 1950, Francisco Javier added the Sauza Hornitos brand to the Sauza family of tequila. In 1963, he created Sauza Conmemorativo, a tequila that commemorated the 90th anniversary of the La Perseverancia distillery.

In 1973, to celebrate 100 years since the founding of the La Perseverancia distillery, Sauza created a specially aged tequila that he presented in a limited edition, green ceramic bottle. He called his creation Tres Generaciones in honor of the three generations that had produced Sauza Tequila: Don Cenobio, Don Eladio and Don Francisco Javier.

Traveling throughout Europe and Asia, Sauza grew concerned about the number of “pseudo-tequilas” being produced. Working with other tequila producers from Jalisco, Francisco lobbied President Jose Lopez Portillo saying, “Tequila is the only one made in the State of Jalisco, Mexico.” On December 9, 1974 the Label of Integrity decree stated that true tequila only came from the State of Jalisco.

Sauza History, tequila, jessica arent, tequila aficionado, la cofradia, jaime sauza, cuervo, distillery, wine, dobecq, brandyFrancisco Javier continued his father and grandfather’s legacy, but in 1988, for personal reasons, he decided to sell the Sauza Tequila business to Mexican brandy producer Pedro Domecq. The tequilas Sauza innovated – Sauza, Hornitos, Tres Generaciones – are still in production. Today Sauza owns about 300 agave plantations and is the second largest tequila manufacturer in the world.

The Fifth Generation

And here I was, spending my day working side by side with Jaime Sauza, the great, great grandson of Cenobio Sauza, getting the education of a lifetime in tequila. It just doesn’t get much better than this.

Or does it?

Well, that’s another segment anyway.

The end of the day had me returning to the hotel to change into cocktail attire for the evening ahead. Still wrestling with the humidity and the unruly mass that was once my hair, I managed to pull myself together (after an ice cold shower and having room service deliver a double espresso) and hustle back to the office for a “roof top CATA”.  Stepping into the elevator I smoothed down my dress, and checked my makeup in the reflection of the doors one last time. As the elevator approached the roof, I could hear a Spanish guitar and the tinkling of glasses.

Then the Doors Opened

Sauza History, tequila, jessica arent, tequila aficionado, la cofradia, jaime sauza, cuervo, distillery, wine, dobecq, brandyI walked into the most elegant setting I could imagine. A pergola covered the rooftop with climbing bougainvillea in vibrant colors. Elegant wicker seating with crisp white linen cushions was strategically placed for lounging and open conversation. Small teak tables, dressed with glowing candle lanterns and aromatic orchids in purples and whites were the centerpieces of the seating arrangements.

In one corner stood a bar with dozens of amber colored unmarked bottles.  Mike Vernardo, the master mixologist brought in from Austin, Texas, masterfully created artistic libations, served by four beautiful young Mexican women wearing little black dresses and engaging smiles.

The League of Extraordinary “Tequilans”

Sauza History, Mike Vernardo, tequila, jessica arent, tequila aficionado, la cofradia, jaime sauza, cuervo, distillery, wine, dobecq, brandyOut across the terrace the sun was setting over Guadalajara, in hues of pinks and oranges and purples and the lights of the city slowly came on.  As I looked around I saw the most beautiful people begin to come in to the party. Elegant, sophisticated women of Guadalajara on the arms of distinguished gentlemen, and as I began to mingle, I came to realize every attendee was a part of the process of the production of Tequila. From the General Director of La Cofradia Distillery, and his wife, to the master bottle cap maker, who works in precious metals of gold, silver and copper to make the cap and label of this emerging product, to the glass bottle designer himself, and their respective wives. Every person that walked into this party had some part in the creation of an extraordinary elixir from Tequila. I felt as though I was in a League of Extraordinary “Tequilans”.

Not long into the evening, Jaime arrived with his beautiful wife, and the party really got started. Charismatic and congenial, Jaime began to expound on the notes and virtues of each of the samplings of the evening. Elaborating on the legs, crown and brilliance of each, he offered his insights on comparisons and values. Although this might sound dry to some, Jaime’s communicated his thoughts congenially with a touch of humor and was entertaining and engaging. Who wouldn’t be mesmerized by a man who can conclude a tequila lesson with a course in popping a champagne cork with his glass stem?

Sauza History, tequila, jessica arent, tequila aficionado, la cofradia, jaime sauza, cuervo, distillery, wine, dobecq, brandyIt’s true. . . Jaime is very versatile!

Waiters in white jackets and great big smiles weaved in and out with delicious food pairings that included fresh ceviche in guacamole sauce served in shot glasses, miniature ranchero tacos, and Ahi tartar tostadas.  The menu was created exclusively by Josue Banuelos for the tequilas we tasted that evening. Mike mixed incredibly creative concoctions of epic proportions out of recipes specifically designed around this tequila, and a joyful mood of what could only be described as “success” filled the air.

I think we all knew we were on to something extraordinary, something epic…

This Cinderella turned in her dancing shoes and cocktail dress for pajamas and a nightcap not long before midnight. My nightcap was a special “gift” given to me by my new friend Jaime.  I fell in love with this dream libation after one sip. An unlikely recipe, this “moonshine” (let’s face it, isn’t it really “moonshine” until it has a NOM, label, and is legal the eyes of the CRT?) takes you to Italy and Mexico at the same time in a seamless blend of liquid perfection.

I cannot tell you more yet, but I can tell you it was the perfect finish to my day.

I closed my eyes in anticipation of the next day and the adventure that lay in before me and drifted off to dreamland.


 

Read the continuation of Jessica’s Journey coming soon!

 

jessica Arent, Sauza History, tequila, jessica arent, tequila aficionado, la cofradia, jaime sauza, cuervo, distillery, wine, dobecq, brandyJessica Arent has spent her career steeped in the Hispanic culture. Passionate about the Latin culture and experiencing roles that have taken her from television to digital marketing throughout the United States and Mexico, Jessica’s passion for Mexico runs in her blood. An accomplished writer, Mexico is where her heart lives and is the focus of her work and writing.  Specializing in marketing Hispanic based products and services, Jessica will tell you there are few people in the world or places she has traveled, from Asia to Europe and in between, who compare to the Mexican culture.  Building websites such as ALL ABOUT MEXICO and fostering the marketing endeavors of a number of tequila products, to name a few, Jessica sets out to inspire the world around her, one person, one relationship at a time, to know and understand the culture she calls home.  Jessica is a partner at Intermountain Media, LLC, the Communications and Media Director of Terra Energy Resources Corp, and shares other travel and tequila adventures on her blog, Jessica’s Mexico.

 

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Jessica’s Journey Begins

Jessica’s Journey Begins

By Jessica Arent

Bienvenidos A Guadalajara!

With my itinerary (AKA Dress Code) in hand, and my presentations reviewed for the hundredth time, I arrived in Guadalajara on a very wet and rainy afternoon. Cloud cover obstructed my view on the landing pattern into the airport. Fluent in Spanish, I breezed through customs & immigration, baggage pick up, and found my way out to “Arrivals”.

Greeters en masse. There stood what seemed to be a sea of faces with anticipation, joy, and relief, painted across them as they awaited their parties to emerge from the Baggage Claim.

Men stood there, with every imaginable flower, from Calla Lily’s to Long Stemmed Ecuadoran roses, some single, some in ornate bouquets and arrangements. Women stood with freshly made up faces, and tresses of carefully coiffed hair, and their Sunday best…smiles abundant.

jessica 1Greeting me was Gabriella, the company’s Marketing Director. A long, tall, elegant drink of water, with flowing dark hair to her waist and a lithe frame, I immediately felt “well-travelled-if-not-overdone” and though usually consider myself a stylish woman, I felt frumpy and wilted next to her. Dressed impeccably, she stood there with a sign “Jessica Arent” and a smile to greet me and welcome me to Guadalajara.

The ride to the office seemed to take no time at all, as we hit it off immediately. Telling me a bit about herself, Gabriella, shared with me her family background in the Fashion Industry, her rise in the company under the guidance of her father, her breakout into the Chinese Market, and Introduction into legendary product market launches in both Mexico and China through the family business.  She shared that she was the oldest of ten, and the one upon whom the responsibility was laid when it came to family. She also shared with me how she came to be involved in the team developing this new tequila brand and product we were to spend the next week collaborating on.

As she chattered on, Guadalajara rose up around me, with beautiful architecture, and smart cars everywhere! Guadalajara is the capital and largest city of the Mexican state of Jalisco, one of only a handful of states from which Tequila can be made and called “tequila” (but you knew that, right?), and the seat of the municipality of Guadalajara. The city is located in the central region of Jalisco in the western-pacific area of Mexico. Guadalajara is the cultural center of Mexico, known for culture, and arts, Fashion and trends, it is often called “the Paris of Mexico” and is considered the home of mariachi music, of which there are reminders throughout the city.

file5971303346549Lush and green, I noticed lawn and foliage everywhere. Bougainvillea adorned doorway arches and balconies and palm trees lined the streets. Color and vibrancy was abundant, like an energy the city seemed to possess. We passed aromatic taco stands, with patrons lined up on makeshift counter stools pulled up to food carts. As we traveled through the city, the sky clouded and the heavens opened and the smell of the plants opening to take in the fresh rain permeated the air.

Unlike Mexico City, Guadalajara is on an eco-friendly green movement. Instead of gas guzzling trucks and SUV’s like so many other Mexican destinations, I saw bicycles, Vespa’s, smart cars, people walking, skateboards and rollerblades, and everywhere signs to adopt parcels of parks and land to keep them green.

Not knowing much about Guadalajara, beyond the reputation for rich soils and minerals for agriculture, I learned that Guadalajara has a humid subtropical climate that is quite close to a rainforest climate, featuring dry, warm winters and hot, wet summers. Guadalajara’s climate is influenced by its high altitude and the general seasonality of precipitation patterns in western North America. Although the temperature is warm year-round, and known for the “eternal spring”, Guadalajara has very strong seasonal variation in precipitation. The northward movement of the Inter-Tropical Convergence Zone brings a great deal of rain in the summer months, whereas for the rest of the year, the climate is rather arid. The extra moisture in the wet months moderates the temperatures, resulting in cooler days and nights during this period. My timing? Wet season. It was perfect. With my hair already responding to the 98 degree heat and the rich humidity and taking on a life and mind of its own, kinking madly, I was grateful for the rain cascading down around us.

Driving through this huge city, I came to understand that Guadalajara is built around 5 primary fountains. Had you ever wondered about the traditional Mexican Villages, towns and Pueblo’s that seem to be built around a central plaza and a fountain?  Those fountains were not for architecture, but had a purpose; just as these 5 fountains of Guadalajara.  Fountains were once wells. It was here you came to fill buckets for home water, baths, and cooking.  Accordingly, the five central fountains served each community’s water needs.  Today the Fountains rise up from beautifully landscaped medians that showcase majestic bronze sculptures telling compelling stories of the city’s rich history.

Unlike many colonial cities that maintain their original town plan, in the 1950s Guadalajara underwent a major project that changed the face of the city. Older buildings were razed to allow for wide avenues with new constructions, underground parking lots, and shopping centers. Fortunately, the most beautiful older buildings were left intact.

Jessica 3I was astounded by this incredible city. At the heart of Guadalajara is the cathedral. With its twin pointed towers and central dome, Gabriella shared that it is the most recognizable landmark on the Guadalajara skyline. The Cathedral is surrounded on all four sides by “plazas, an integral part of all community planning in Mexico, as culturally these are the central meeting places for all socializing in Mexican communities.  “Plaza Guadalajara” faces the cathedral. Its central fountain depicts two lions with their paws resting on the trunk of a tree, the city’s coat of arms. To the south is the “Plaza de Armas” with its art nouveau bandstand and matching lampposts. The adjacent “Government Palace” has a lovely baroque facade and a spectacular mural painted by Jose Clemente Orozco in the interior main staircase. To the north of the Cathedral is the “Rotondo de los Jaliscienses Ilustres”. This green space has a central circular monument with seventeen ribbed columns; the statues surrounding it represent Jalisco’s illustrious sons (and one daughter), people from Jalisco who have made notable contributions in arts, science and politics.

Behind the Cathedral is the large “Plaza de la Liberacion”, deriving the name to commemorate Miguel Hidalgo’s abolishment of slavery. A statue of Miguel Hidalgo holding a broken chain commemorates this historical event. The “Teatro Degollado” is at the far east end of the plaza. Guadalajara’s Ballet Folclorico performs here in this beautiful neoclassical building dating to 1856, and Gabriella told me to prepare myself, as this was Sunday’s activity and I was in for the cultural spectacle of a lifetime.

Coming around the back of the theater, I saw a fountain depicting the Guadalajara city founders. The “Plaza Tapatio” begins here and stretches over half a mile to the “Hospicio Cabanas”, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Everywhere I looked were picturesque arcades and promenades, bubbling fountains, charming restored colonial buildings, modern sculptures, and happy people greeting one another with hugs, kisses, or great big smiles. Baby’s clung to mothers, and children ran around in circles chasing one another.

I tilted my head back against the headrest and breathed deeply, while I listened to Gabriella continue on the points of interest as we wound our way to the offices and the rain began to subside.

All too soon we came upon a tall modern office building, and pulled in to park the car and head on upstairs.

We paused at the door for a moment, as the sounds of gregarious conversation floated out to us. She turned to me and asked “Are you ready to meet everyone?” as an endearing smile spread across her face.  Opening the door the room came to a dead halt in all conversation as we walked in, and a roomful of momentary strangers all turned toward me to welcome me. I say “momentary” because Mexican culture speaks to empathy, and engagement and the art of drawing you in, no matter how shy you thought you might be.

One by one, these gentlemen stepped up to me with an outstretched hand, a smile and a kiss on the cheek in greeting. The impressive 27 year old CEO, the distinguished gentleman who clearly had a fascinating story that spread across his face and came through his smile, that was the COO, and the enigmatic and enthusiastic Tequila Maestro. I realized in short order I was among the elite of the Tequila world in Guadalajara. More distinguished and certainly refined than anyone I had met to date in the industry, the first impression of this team of “Tequileros” was nothing short of impressive. Graciousness and Gentility is what came through from this cast of characters in my Epic Tequila Adventure.

Not long after arriving, I was introduced to the “juice”.  There are no words to adequately describe this product line, other than “Epic”.  Introduced by Jaime Villalobos Sauza, of the famed SAUZA TEQUILA FAMILY and proud 5th generation tequila aficionado, the nondescript “milk bottles” were opened one at a time and poured into tasting flutes. We collectively put our glasses to our noses with each sample, rolled our glasses to inspect “legs” and “crowns” and the Brilliance of the liquid in the glass, and one by one we tilted the glasses to our lips and drew in the liquid. Swilling for five seconds, inhaling deeply and swallowing, with a deep exhale, the notes and complexities of the distillations rose up, one after the other, promising a smooth, soft sipping experience and delivering a luxurious libation experience.

jessica 4

Jessica 5Dinner was soon offered by our personal chef, Josue Bañuelos (Now rated “THE WORLDS GREATEST CHEF” by this writer-I ate really well all week and lost weight!).  As we sat down at the table, I took it all in. High above the cobblestone streets of Guadalajara, the pocket doors pulled all the way back so the soft breeze added to the “Al Fresco” mood. The delicately seared Sea Bass with a caper minieure sauce, fresh grilled asparagus with agave honey, and cilantro carrots plated on immaculate Villeroy and Boch White Bone China, the beautiful, carefully selected Reidel glasses, for the Chillean Chardennau chilled to perfection, all finished with a refreshing homemade Fresh Lemon Ice with red and black raspberries and mint; I began to understand the methodology behind the image of the brand. The first impression spoke volumes and the ideas began to formulate in my mind, like the flavors exploding in my mouth, so too were my pistons exploding with ideas!

 

jessica 2Before I knew it, the evening had passed and I found myself on my way to my hotel to check in and settle in the for the night. I regretted emerging from the car, not yet done with the day, eager to see and learn and taste so much more, and dragged myself up to my room.

Unpacked and comfortably settled in to my room, I took a deep contented breath. I called the front desk and in Spanish asked for the wake-up call. I pulled the drapes on the traffic of Guadalajara, and submerged into the dark folds of the room, the breeze blowing the curtains in the window and sleep coming over me. I closed my eyes, eager for the next day to begin.

Read the continuation of Jessica’s Journey coming soon!

 

jessica ArentJessica Arent has spent her career steeped in the Hispanic culture. Passionate about the Latin culture and experiencing roles that have taken her from television to digital marketing throughout the United States and Mexico, Jessica’s passion for Mexico runs in her blood. An accomplished writer, Mexico is where her heart lives and is the focus of her work and writing.  Specializing in marketing Hispanic based products and services, Jessica will tell you there are few people in the world or places she has traveled, from Asia to Europe and in between, who compare to the Mexican culture.  Building websites such as ALL ABOUT MEXICO and fostering the marketing endeavors of a number of tequila products, to name a few, Jessica sets out to inspire the world around her, one person, one relationship at a time, to know and understand the culture she calls home.  Jessica is a partner at Intermountain Media, LLC, the Communications and Media Director of Terra Energy Resources Corp, and shares other travel and tequila adventures on her blog, Jessica’s Mexico.

 


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