Blue Iguana Tequila
Distilarora del Valle de Tequila
Distilarora del Valle de Tequila is located in the town of Tequila, Jalisco, near Guadalajara, one of the major cities in Mexico, famous for the production of its namesake beverage which comes from the Blue Agave Tequiliana Weber.
Hornos and Autoclaves
These are the Blue Agave Weber hearts. They are slowly steam-roasted in century-old traditional brick ovens, known as hornos, for 36 to 54 hours. These enormous ovens have the capacity to cook 40 tons of Agave at a time.
Next, one half of the roasted agave hearts are pressure cooked in a 20 ton autoclave. Cooking time is approximately 15 hours, with an additional 9 hours for cooling, prior to being shredded in the mill. During the heating process, the agave is hydrolyzed, which means the starches in the heart are converted into sugar. Delicious, soon to be alcoholic sugar.
Each fermentation tank has a capacity of 30,000 liters. They are used during the natural conversion of agave juice into a beer like product. We pride ourselves in utilizing a very slow (approx. 36 hour) natural fermentation process while maintaining a 28 to 30 degree centigrade temperature. All tanks are stainless steel and are disinfected on a regular program basis. More importantly they are a quintessential part of the tequila making process.
With 5,000 liter pot stills, or Alembics, we begin the distillation process. The first distillation makes ordinary tequila which has approximately 30 percent alcohol per volume. The 6,000 liter pot still alembic, or rectifier, is used for the second and final distillation. It creates a tequila with an alcohol content of approximately 55 percent. These pot stills allow for single batch distillation before being mixed in one of the storage tanks.
Agave tequiliana, commonly thought of as a cactus, is actually a member of the Lily family. This interesting plant prefers high altitude locations with nutrient laden sandy topsoil, like the highlands of Jalisco, Mexico where our suppliers are located. We have long term contracts with our agave suppliers. Quality agave requires between 6 years and 10 years to reach maturity. Climatic conditions, such as drought or abundance of rain, affect its growth and maturity.
We use the most state of the art transportation methods to carry our freshly cut agaves. We choose agaves with 23 to 28 brix sugar content. 29 degree brix or more is only possible for agave harvested towards the end of May which is the end of the dry season and just prior to rainy season. Also, we require our agave hearts to be trimmed very closely, leaving almost no green from the leaves. This gives us a cleaner fermentation and distillation process, and also a cleaner flavor.
Hornos and Autoclaves
The Blue Agave Tequiliana Weber hearts are steam-roasted in century old traditional thick stone walled ovens, called hornos, for 36 to 54 hours. Each of our hornos has the capacity to cook 40 tons of agave. This traditional art of ‘slow cooking’ in a brick oven prevents the cooked agave from caramelizing while it softens the fibers and transforms the carbohydrates into fermentable sugars. These ovens also help retain the naturally sweet and mellow flavors of the carefully grown agave. Agaves cooked in the hornos are combined with autoclave cooked agave on a half and half basis.