How we make our Tequila
Two types of Tequila
Although not the official name, these tequilas are also known as 'Mixto'. They use only 51% of sugars from Blue Weber agave, the true source of sugar for tequila. The other 49% comes from other sugars such as cane, corn and molasses.
Tequila 100% de agave
Tequila that has been made only from Blue Weber agave sugars and packaged in specific areas of Mexico. While the 100% agave label is the first thing you should look for on a bottle of a tequila, on its own it does not ensure true quality.
Designation of Origin for Tequila
Even with a history spanning 400 years, it was only in 1974 that the Designation of Origin (DO) for Tequila was declared. All of the World's tequila 100% agave is produced in just 5 of Mexico's 31 states.
Our home in Mexico is right at the heart of tequila-country in El Arenal, Jalisco. Our NOM number, 1560, is the unique identifier for our distillery.
Grown in the heartlands of Jalisco
Tequila Pancho Datos is created using only Blue Weber agave that has been grown to maturity around the Jalisco town of El Arenal, right in the heart of Mexico's tequila region.
A plant native to Mexico, Blue Weber agave is one of many different types of agave, but is the only variety that may be used to produce tequila.
Other types of agave are used to produce alcohol such as Mezcal and Bacanora, but these are grown outside of the DO for Tequila.
Grown in the lowland valleys of Jalisco, the altitude difference exposes our agaves to less of the Sun's energy than those grown in the highlands.
As a result the tequila is not overly sweet and benefits from a complex flavour profile that takes some of its character from the earth around it.
Harvested by hand
At the heart of the plant is the piña, containing the sugars that will be used to make the tequila.
Experienced workers called Jimadors first identify mature agaves and then use a razor-sharp hoe (Coa de Jima) to cut away the spines and remove the piña from the ground.
It’s an labour-intensive process, but a Jimador only takes about one minute per agave.
Our Jimadors have kept the skills of their trade in the family for generations and still work together as a family.
Weighing 10-30kgs each, about 20 tonnes of piñas are loaded into small stone ovens.
Packed full of sugars from the years spent soaking up the Mexican sun, the agaves are cooked at around 90 Celsius. This process takes about 2-3 days, including the time it takes for the agave to cool.
Cooking them this way breaks down the complex sugars into simple sugars that are easier to ferment. There are modern diffussion methods that can be used to speed up this process, but this sacrifices complexity of flavour.
Tequila Pancho Datos opts for the traditional method to achieve the highest quality.
Extracting the sugars
Once the agave has been cooked and cooled, it must be broken down to get the juices needed to make the tequila, a process called extraction. We use roller-mills to crush the cooked piñas into fibres, maximising the amount of sugar obtained from the agave.
Where the magic happens
Once the sugars have been extracted, yeast and water are added to the agave juice (the 'musts').
This is the beginning of the fermentation process that takes place over a few days, during which time the yeasts consume the sugars to produce ethyl alcohol.
After fermentation, the alcohol content is still only 6-7%, so steel pots are used to distill the liquid.
During this phase the unwanted 'Heads' and 'Tails' are removed, leaving behind the 'Body' (called the "Ordinario"), with an alcohol content of around 26% ABV.
The Ordinario goes through a second round of distillation, producing tequila at around 55% ABV. Tequila Pancho Datos is then diluted down to a smooth 40% ABV.
The distillation process produces a clear tequila called Blanco or Plata (Silver), which is tequila in its traditional form and is the best way to enjoy the pure flavours of agave.
Blancos can be aged for up to 2 months, but Tequila Pancho Datos Plata is completely un-aged to give an unadulterated agave taste.
The resulting flavour profile is very smooth, with herbal and mineral notes.
A tequila made for classic cocktails like the Margarita and the Paloma or perfect for more modern premium drinks like a Pink Grapefruit Tequila and Tonic.
Ageing with a bourbon touch
Since the 1950’s, distilleries have begun ageing their tequila, a slow process that adds other sensory characters to the tequila and mellows the agave flavours.
We age our tequila in ex-bourbon American White Oak barrels for set periods of time, depending on their categorisation.
Tequila Pancho Datos Reposado (rested) is aged for 6 months, giving our most balanced tequila that is ultra-smooth. Perfect either sipped on its own or in a Tequila Old Fashioned cocktail.