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Our Agave is grown in the small town of Amatitan, located in the heart of Jalisco, where the blue agave has grown for centuries. This agave is special because of the volcanic soil in the region; resulting in abundant flora that gives the agave its unique herbaceous scent and flavor.
Tequila is Mexico’s most famous spirit thanks to the protected designation of the Weber blue agave, tequila’s main ingredient. Mexico has the exclusive international right to the word “tequila”, having achieved the Denomination of Origin status, recognizing tequila as unique and authentic throughout the world.
RECEPTION OF FEEDSTOCK
One of the main features of the Denomination of Origin is the usage of the agave tequilana Weber. In Mexico there are over 200 species of agave but the Weber blue agave is the only one accepted by the authorities as a raw ingredient for the production of tequila.
In the production of Dos Armadillos Tequila, our special process begins with the agave harvest which meets the most stringent quality standards. The producers harvest the agave swiftly in tight rows, removing the core of the plant or “piña”. Once the agave is in our production plant it is split into four parts. The cogollo, or stalk, is removed and the piña is taken to the next step of the process: cooking.
The autoclave is loaded with agave and the doors are closed. The temperature is gradually increased to 198° F, over a period of several hours. During these first hours of the process steam is generated and injected into the oven . Next, the piñas are washed to remove liquids from the cooking process called, “bitter honey”, to inhibit the formation of methanol. This washing also removes the waxes of the agave cuticles and other impurities that may give the juice an undesirable taste.
Carbohydrates contained in the agave are known as inulin, which in their original form can’t be fermented. The heating process, known as hydrolysis, can be recognized as having occurred because the agave changes color once the inulin has crystallized into sugars.
It is during this process that our experts begin to generate our flavors, and to produce the “red ant” color. This is a characteristic hue that is produced by our unique combination of top quality ingredients and proprietary methods.
The process of extracting the juice, or “must”, is done with a grinding train which begins with a shredder, chopping the piñas into very small pieces. Then the agave fiber is sent through the mills, which consist of a number of very heavy rollers. The force of the rollers is carefully modulated to avoid extraction of undesirable cellulose fibers from the agave. During the milling the extract is combined with water, so that the juice obtains a 12° brix value, which is the measurement of its sweetness. We now have our “wort” which is the liquid extracted during the milling process.
The most important process for our tequila is fermentation. Microorganisms convert the sugar of our “must” into alcohol. We have a unique yeast strain for the creation of our tequila. This process is done in equipment specially designed as bioreactors for the best anaerobic yeast.
The sugar concentration decreases, which is known as “dying the tub”. The residual sugar must be less than 1% after the fermentation of our must. To achieve this we slowly add external sources of nitrogen, so that our fermentation is done in 7 days.
Our process is carefully guarded, taking into consideration ancient distillation techniques. This process consists of two stages: a first distillation known as “shattering”, and a second distillation called “rectification”.
First distillation. – We use an apparatus called a still, which contains a large steam heating coil, to boil the liquid and separate the mixture of alcohols, water and other compounds that were generated in fermentation. They form a vapor which condenses into a liquid called “ordinary”.
Rectification. – This is the last step for creating our Dos Armadillos Tequila. Following the first distillation, we begin to boil the “ordinary” in a slow warming process by further refining the alcohol vapors.
The first few gallons to evaporate, called “heads”, are lightweight components that we remove from our tequila after the vapors condense. This is where we get our spirit and our great aromas and flavors. The heads and tails of the distillation contain usable alcohol and organoleptic compounds that can contribute to the body and flavor of the tequila, so these are often re-distilled afterwards to capture any extra tequila and make the result more robust. In some distilleries, they may also be discarded.
Maturation is a slow transformation that allows Dos Armadillos Tequila to acquire special organoleptic characteristics. They are generated by slow resting inside 200 liter American oak barrels selected to provide a spicy and woody flavor that is smoothed by the taste of vanilla from our tequila.
This process is carefully guarded and is done in warehouses with little sunlight and high humidity, the characteristic climate of Mazamitla, Jalisco. Dilution with water is minimal and imperceptible on the nose, resulting in a product with great body and character. There are many unique steps and ingredients in our Dos Armadillos Tequilas where traditional techniques and knowledge combine with modern equipment and science to create a world class drinking experience.