Tequila For New Comers I of II

Tequila For New Comers I of II

Fields of Blue Agave. Voodoo Tiki does not own plantations. Not owning gives us the flexibility to "Buy the Best." We go to where the best agave grow.

Thankfully, unlike Festivus we do not begin with the airing of grievances, just a simple plea – Please savor your Voodoo Tiki Tequila.  We’ve been working on the tequila in your bottle of Voodoo Tiki for over a decade – minimum. That’s how long it takes to go from an agave seedling to the distinctive and trademark Voodoo Tiki “Spare No Expense” quality, sweet flavor, smoothness and no heat.  From our extra growing years, to our slow cook process and through our double barreling we have made it a core tenant of our business to bring fellow tequila lovers the best possible tequila in the most gorgeous package that money can buy. The more you know about tequila, the more you’ll appreciate Voodoo Tiki Tequila.

Think about that.  If you currently have a seven year old, we’re making the tequila that you and your wife will drink 2 minutes after he leaves for college. (Yep, here it is.  I’m looking at it right now.  The “Magic Word” is Freedom.)

Tequila is the fermented and distilled juice of the Blue Agave Plant (Maguey.)  There are 136 varieties of agave, but only the Blue Agave, the agave tequilana weber azul, can be utilized in tequila production.  Over 300 million blue agave are harvested each year for tequila production.

Voodoo Tiki Tequila’s Blue agave is grown in the “Highlands” region where the agave grow larger in size and sweeter in aroma and taste.  Blue agave is harvested between 80 to over 200 pounds.  In our opinion most are harvested prematurely.  We do not feel that under 8 years, and under 100 pounds has given the plant enough time to produce it’s unique flavors and sugars.  Not even in the rich soils of “Los Altos”, the area from which Voodoo Tiki buys agave.  This location is known and renowned for it’s large agave size and sweetness.  The agave from this region are prized, highly sought after by tequila manufacturers, and are often sold at large premiums.

Voodoo Tiki Tequila uses only the “Best of the Best” from the “Los Altos” blue agave selection.  It’s a core philosophy of Voodoo Tiki that Ultra-Premium Tequila must begin with ultra premium ingredients.

Contrary to popular belief, the agave plant isn’t a cactus.  It’s actually a succulent, a member of the Lilly family.  And agave’s “Non-Blue” cousin also comes in the same wide range of qualities.  Over the years green agave have taken a bad rap because they have been primarily used as “filler” for “Mixto” white or gold tequilas (51% blue agave tequilas) which are widely recognized as not very good.  However, contrary to popular belief, quality green agave is  also used in premium liquor production – just not Tequila.  When 51% or more green agave is used, the product is called a mezcal.

“Tequila” is a sub category of mezcals.  You may have heard the expression, “All Champagnes are Sparkling Wines, But Not all Sparkling Wines are Champagnes.”  We have a similar phrase in the tequila and mezcal hobby.

All Tequilas are Mezcals, But Not All Mezcals are Tequilas.

To be a “Tequila” three conditions must be met:

  1. The product must be made of at least 51% Blue Agave.  Voodoo Tiki Tequila is 100% Blue Agave.
  2. The Product must, by Mexican law, be produced in the state of Jalisco, with most tequila being produced directly within the city of Tequila, or the surrounding area, 65 kilometres (40 miles) northwest of Guadalajara.  Voodoo Tiki is made in the small town Capilla de Guadelupe within the tequila province of Jalisco.
  3. The Product must be a minimum of 70 Proof (35% Alcohol) and a Maximum of 80 Proof (40% Alcohol.)

Some of the more well respected brands distill the alcohol level of the blue agave juice to 110 proof and then use water to dilute it down to 80 proof (mix 110 proof tequila with water.)  This is still considered 100% blue agave as water is not considered to adulterate the tequila.  Voodoo Tiki Tequila distills to 80 proof without using additional water as a diluting agent. Voodoo Tiki Traditional Tequila is a true 100% Blue Agave, with nothing added.  Our infused tequilas are 100% natural with no artificial colors.

Making Voodoo Tiki Tequila

While most agave are grown 6-10 years before being harvested, Voodoo Tiki’s agave are grown a minimum of ten years because we want a bigger sweeter plant with more natural sugars as our starting point. After a minimum of ten years the spiny cactus like leaves are cut of the agave leaving us with the head (cabeza) which is more commonly known as the “Pina” – which is easy to remember as it looks like a pineapple base.
The Pina is cooked in an oven known as a “Horno” – and here’s another myth we’re happy to shatter about tequila production – all those brands that are talking about the “Old world techniques” and “methods handed down “for generations from tequila’s historic past” – pure fantasy.  All pinas are cooked with steam today – not wood,  above ground, not below.  Some ovens are still brick, but the best ovens are stainless steel as they give you a greater level of temperature control.  The truth is that the best tequilas, like Voodoo Tiki Tequila, are a rich mosaic of modern and old world methods some handed down (crushing in particular is still pretty old school) and some being invented at this very moment.
What is important is cooking time.  Voodoo Tiki cooks the agave 24 to 48 hours. Many tequilas “Flash Cook” their agave to make as much as possible in the shortest period of time to save factory and labor costs.  Rushing to cook results in two major problems:
        • Burnt areas of the Pina.  Even when workers then cut away all the visible burned areas, there is at the very least microscopic charring left behind, (often more.)  These burned areas creates flavors like, smoke and char – these are acceptable flavors for tequila in general, but not the Voodoo Tiki profile.  We are trying to create a very fragrant, agave sweet, natural flavor.  We want you to taste the agave plant, which when cooked is sweet and delicious.
        • The natural “wax” found on the agave leaves is not given ample time to melt away and be separated or run off in rush situations.  When left to mix with the juices this wax produces bitter, unusual flavors that aren’t very appetizing or pleasing.

The steam-injected stainless steel ovens used in modern distilleries do a wonderful job in removing this wax, which is why Voodoo Tiki Tequila is produced in one of the most advanced tequila factories in the world.  Stimulate your senses – taste, smell, touch, sight – with no expense spared is our goal.  If we could get the Tiki in that bottle to talk to you -believe me, we’d do it (We have received reports of the Tikis talking, but nothing we can substantiate.)

Often times the bitterness left by the wax, or the poor quality as a result of the use of sub par or premature agave is attempted to be hidden with “essences.”  Essences are another Voodoo Tiki Tequila “Never Never” that some very well known, as well as some recent and “sacred cows” have introduced into their production to save money and speed up the presses. A primary reason for the use of essences is that barreling is an expensive process, which starts with the purchasing.  After use, factories attempt to reuse their barrels as often as possible, and after a while you simply can’t get anymore brandy or char flavors out of that wood.  Rather than go to the substantial expense – they add essences.  Voodoo Tiki Never Does and Never Will.

Voodoo Tiki Tequila 100% Blue Agave Platinum Tequila 

The juice (known as Masquow) is separated from the pina through a system of crushing.  The collected agave juice from the trademark Voodoo Tiki slow cook process is fermented, and distilled twice.  We now have 100% Blue Agave Silver, Platinum or Blanco Tequila.  Silver, Platinum and Blanco all mean the same thing.  At this point the tequila found in a bottle of Voodoo Tiki Tequila costs $5-7 times what most of our competitors put in their bottle.

At this point a tequila manufacturer can make it cheaper, or more expensive.  Cheaper is worse, but more expensive is not necessarily better, just different.  While “Making cheaper” obviously ruins the quality, aging (making more expensive) simply alters the profile of flavors.  Most tequila connoisseurs drink Platinum / Silver / Blanco tequilas so as to experience the base product without the complexities of the aging process altering the taste.

For explanation purposes only, let’s start off how you make tequila cheaper (worse.)  If you took 100% blue agave tequila, and due to insanity or other odd reason, mixed it with the fermented juice of other agave it would become a “Mixto.”  Mixto tequila is only 51% blue agave, but still clear.  This will contain waters, could contain cane sugars, and all types of agave.  You can bet that in the case of a mixto, if it saved someone 2 cents, it’s in there.  Sadly this gets even worse.

100% Blue Agave All Natural

To get people to buy mixto tequilas companies put caramel color into the mixto, and  created what they marketed as, “Gold Tequila.”  This is the Tequila equielant of naming a place that covered with a 20 foot sheet of ice “Greenland.”  This liquid was named “Gold Tequila” in the 40s in order to fool the American market into thinking it’s good stuff.  It’s actually the worst tequila you can buy.  Voodoo Tiki Doesn’t make mixto tequilas, we don’t  drink mixto tequilas, and we don’t like to be around mixto tequilas.  When we hear people say, “it’s good enough for margaritas” we cringe.  Our motto is, “Use the best you have all the time.  We’ll make more.”  All our tequila – even our infusions are 100% Blue Agave, and all natural.

Lately an even uglier trick is being played on the American tequila buying public.  Companies are aging mixto tequilas, and advertising them as “Reposado” or “Anejo.”  This is a dirty trick as traditionally mixtos were never aged, so the buyer assumes when they see Reposado they are getting a 100% Blue Agave Tequila – Make no mistake, if the bottle does not say “100% Blue Agave” it is not 100% Blue Agave.

Next: Why We Love Cougars: The Aging Process Revealed. For “Tequila for New Comers II of II” Click Here

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