I’m standing inside Destileria El Pandillo in Arandas, Jalisco. It is located approximately 80 miles from Guadalajara, deep in the highlands of the western Mexican state. The mad scientist moonlighting as a third-generation master tequilero, Felipe Camarena, is about to give me an extremely detailed tour of his laboratory responsible for making tequila Terralta tequila that might just set the bar for the future of tequila production.
If his last name sounds familiar, it is because you’ve probably sipped on some of his family’s legacy before. For starters, his cousin founded Camarena tequila, and his brother is the master tequilero behind bartender favorite, Ocho.
Tequila Tapatio and Tesoro de Don Felipe was founded by his grandfather.
Terralta is made with the following key steps:
- Handpicked mature agave plants with the correct amount of brix’s levels that are shaved by jimadores that even take out the stem from the male agave plant that could add bitterness to the Tequila.
- Same natural yeast that his grandfather used to used 80 plus years ago, (today many tequilas use synthetic yeast in order to get a larger yield) we don’t like adding anything that is not natural or could change its natural flavor or aromas.
- Deep earth well water 140 meters or 459 feet with almost viscosity most feel even in the Blanco to the final product.
- Custom made Stone oven that cooks and steams and cleans the agave from top to bottom so you don’t get under cooked agave.
- 19,000 Thousand pound Steam roller that Felipe has converted in to a Mechanical Tahona that gently crushes the agave without breaking fibers that also cause bitterness.
- Custom Copper stills that are cleaned by distilling water and steam before every batch.