Saturday, March 21, 2009

Legend of Tequila & The Finest Blue Agave Nectar

In the village of Magdalena, Jalisco, Mexico, “El Caudillo” is produced by Cooperativa Tequilera la Magdalena S.C. de R.L.

“El Caudillo” translates from Spanish as “the chief”. Not just any chief; a revolutionary chief. El Caudillo is an ultra premium tequila double distilled then carefully aged in white oak barrels previously used for maturing bourbon, imparting a complex golden color and oak flavor, before being bottled. Hail to the chief!

Other brands produced and bottled by this cooperative include Sangre Azteca and Pueblo Mágico. The town of Tequila is a "Pueblo Mágico", meaning "Magical Village", a place with symbolism, legends, and history according to Mexico’s tourism agency. There are three other Pueblos Mágicos in Jalisco. Visit them all. Book a flight into Guadalajara; board the tequila train; go to Magdalena. This village's amazing tequilia cooperative does not export its spirits to the USA or Canada … yet. Look for this to change in 2009.

If you research Magdalena on, you may be misled that “the name Magdalena is Xochitepec, which means the place next to the hill of flowers.” This is not true. Magdalena is a Spanish version of the Hebrew name “Magdalene” found in many languages. “Xochitepec” comes from the Nahuatl language and means “on the hill of flowers”. The town of Xochitepec is 300 miles away, near Cuernavaca, and has little to do with Magdalena, except they both have hills with flowers.

Let’s get back to tequila. The region surrounding the village of Tequila in Jalisco, Mexico is the only place where tequila is produced, as champagne comes only from the province of Champagne, France. Magdalena is just minutes from the magical village of Tequila. This is the place where the finest blue agave is harvested for El Caudillo. Magdalena's volcanic soil has produced the finest agave in Jalisco since this succulent plant was commercialized around 1600, when the first tequila distillery was established. In 1621 the oldest recorded description of tequila was insightful: "wine clearer than water, but strong as liquor" (from Nueva Galicia's Domingo Lázaro).

This early description refers to blanco, silver tequila, tequila that was not aged in wood. Purists insist blue agave suffers from wood flavor. Others argue the opposite, that reposado, gold tequila, is the finest. This argument will never be settled. Why should it be? With a cigar, reposado añejo is sublime. With food, a fine blanco is divine. Why argue?

The favorite tequilas according to a poll of 3,402 aficionados in the USA: 1) Patron; 2) Don Juilo; and, 3) Don Valente. El Caudillo is better than all three according to aficionados in Mexico, where they know tequila better than the average gringo. El Caudillo was not included in the poll, because it is not yet available in the U.S. The history of tequila in Mexico is rich and fascinating. The origin of the blue agave begins with Aztecs deities. Aztecs fermented agave long before the Spanish arrived.

The goddess of agave is Mayahuel, the young and beautiful Aztec woman who gave birth to the first blue agave. She left home to marry Quetzalcoatl, the Aztec god of redemption. Both of them turned into two branches of a leafy tree so they would not be found by their terrible grandmother, who according to legend, ordered their execution. Quetzalcoatl lived, but Mayahuel died. In the place where she was buried, the first agave plant grew. It was struck by a lightning bolt from a great storm sent by the enraged gods. A fire started.

From beneath the thorny leafs emerged a seductive nectar from the heart of first agave. This is why fine tequila provides a mystical experience. To drink "Sangre Azteca" is to drink from the plant nourished by "Aztec blood". To taste "El Caudillo" is to taste the nectar of the Aztec goddess Mayahuel, bride of the god of redemption. Her revolutionary spirit inspired blue agave and rebels such as Pancho Villa, Emiliano Zapata, and others.
Today, the spirit of the Aztec goddess continues to grow in the hills of Magdalena, the Pueblo Mágico of Tequila in the highlands of Jalisco.

1 comment:

  1. Ok, that's it. I need to change my latitude.

    Great blog!