Cirilo Oropeza, the master distiller, founded Espolòn Tequila in 1998 after studying distillation technology and perfecting his skill for decades. Oropeza used his abundance of knowledge to help bring his dream distillery, Destiladora San Nicolas, to fruition.

The San Nicolas Distillery, a custom-designed facility located in the Los Altos region of Jalisco. It is an area widely famous to as the “grand cru” of tequila. It was named “Best Tequila Factory” in Mexico by the School of Architects and Engineers of Jalisco

The distillery is just one of the variables that have contributed to Espolòn Tequila’s multi-award-winning status in just over two decades. Here are things you should know about Espolòn. Ranging from viral marketing strategies to the uplifting rock music that gets their yeast swaying.

Honor to the mexican culture

In Spanish, Espolòn means “spur,” and it relates to the defensive spurs seen on the rooster, which is a symbol of national pride in Mexico.

Ramón, one of these roosters, is on the labels of Espolòn’s Blanco tequila. In the artwork, Ramón is at atop José Guadalupe Posada, a renowned 19th-century Mexican artist, and printer. And the pair are charging into battle during the country’s 1810 revolution.

All Espolòn Tequila bottle labels instill a sense of patriotism. Posada appears in a Mexican marketplace on the Reposado bottle labels. While on the Aejo bottle labels, Posada dances the prohibited Jarabe de Jalisco, a form of protest prominent in the years following the Mexican Revolution. Meanwhile, the black glass bottles for Aejo X pay homage to Barro negro pottery, a popular form in Oaxaca.

The specific barrel-aging program

Espolòn tequila is matured in mildly charred American new oak barrels for its aged flavors. Rather than using industry-standard 500-liter barrels, the company opts for a smaller 200-liter size, which increases the proportion of wood in touch with the spirit and adds complexity.

Espolòn’s Reposados rest for three to five months in barrel, while its Aejos rest for a total of 12 months — 10 months in new American oak and the final two months in ex-Wild Turkey bourbon barrels.

What makes it special?

The spirits in this tequila are entirely from blue agave plants. These plants are all fresh harvest and their leaves say bye-bye, leaving only the hard fibrous core behind.

In the cooking of the agave cores, they have a difference from the regular process right away. Normally, this is in a brick oven or kiln; but, at this distillery, the cores are in stainless steel pressure cookers. The usage of wood-fired kilns, according to designer Cirilo Oropeza, adds too much smoke taste to the process, and these stainless steel pressure cookers allow for a smoother and more pure flavor to be made. As the core heat, the fibers begin to change into sugar, which normally necessitates crushing to release and collect. In this instance, though, the sugar naturally seeps out and pipelines collect it beneath the vessels.

After collecting the sugary liquid, it is in fermentation process for 70 to 80 hours, which is roughly twice as long as the standard “rapid” fermentation method. The faster-acting yeast creates enough alcohol for the process in roughly 48 hours, but the slower acting yeast takes the full 70+ hours to metabolize the residual sugar and adds substantially more flavors and characteristics to the spirit than the faster acting yeast would.

To make tequila, the fermented, semi-alcoholic liquid is distilled at least twice in a combination of pot and column stills. The tequila is promptly for this Blanco expression, with no maturing.

High-Altitude

Espolòn tequila is from 100 percent blue Weber agave from Jalisco’s Los Altos highlands, famous as the “Golden Triangle”. The plants are at elevations of up to 2,000 meters above sea level.

These high altitudes make growth conditions challenging. This stress results in agave with higher sugar content and a stronger flavor than plants grown in other areas.

The sweetness all from the heart

Following a thorough quality inspection and prior to cooking, Espolòn chops the agave plant hearts into four pieces rather than two. This greater surface area, along with extended cooking durations — 22 hours as opposed to the typical 18 hours — results in a sweeter finished product.

They won’t ghost you

As part of a viral marketing effort for Valentine’s Day 2019, Espolòn established a “Ghost Line”. Which could be reached by dialing “1-800-Espolòn”. The hotline, which could be reached by dialing “1-800-Espolòn,” gave a venue for shattered hearts to share their ghosting experiences.

They ROCK!

This spirit has a lovely crystal clear color. The scents emanating from this glass are a little more earthy for a tequila, leaning heavily into that “fresh cut grass” herbal element with a touch of lemon citrus backing it up.

The flavors are softer and more delicate than your typical tequila. The spirit has no harshness or sting, which is pleasant, but the tastes aren’t really strong. I get a hint of the herbal flavor, and there’s some black pepper spiciness towards the end, but that’s about it.

Overall Rating

Mid Adult Man Eating Salad

We typically associate tequila with a more rustic production process: hand harvested agave plants, wood burning brick ovens, and, on rare occasions, horse driven crushing. All of those stages impart their own particular flavors to the finished product. And it is these distinctions that truly distinguish a good tequila from the pack. All of those chances for unique flavors are strike out from the process with Espolon. Rejecting that ancient way in favor of modern methods and a pure flavor.

Blanco tequilas are becoming more popular as sipping tequilas in their own right. And Espolon’s mellow flavor makes it a great sipper neat or on the rocks. It has a lovely label with bright artwork honoring the 19th-century Mexican artist José Guadalupe Posada.

There are so many other tequilas available. Espolon blanco is a good value at $20. However, those looking for a tequila that will stand out in cocktails or with a distinct flavor profile should go elsewhere.