Born in 1870, Casa Herradura, located at Hacienda San Jose del Refugio, is the last tequila-producing Hacienda on the planet. Within its ancient walls, Herradura crafts and estate-bottles some of the finest tequilas globally. In the Hacienda distillery, Herradura changed the world of tequila as they invented the first reposado and extra añejo. From the small town of Amatitàn in the heart of Mexico’s tequila region, Herradura continue to set the standard for what’s to come.
With a history as rich as the country itself, Casa Herradura, located at Hacienda San Jose del Refugio – the last tequila-producing Hacienda on the planet – is nothing short of a national treasure. A Hacienda is a large state or plantation with a dwelling house.
What Makes an Authentic Hacienda?
Must have been built in the 18th or 19th century
Must have a land extension
Must have worker housing within its walls
Must be self-sufficient in agriculture or livestock
Must have a main house
Must have a chapel on its grounds
The Old Factory stands as a reminder of the traditional methods that first made Casa Herradura the source of the world’s finest tequilas. As processes modernised, the Old Factory was preserved to offer a glimpse into the past of Casa Herradura.
For nearly a century, the original hand-built clay ovens were used to cook agave to perfection. These traditional ovens drew the nuances of the agave’s flavour profile forward cementing their place in Tequila Herradura’s history.
Cut from a single piece of volcanic rock, the tahona wheel, turned by a team of donkeys, would slowly crush cooked agave to extract juice for the fermentation process.
For over a hundred years, fresh agave juice was collected from the tahona wheel and poured into large fermentation tanks where it was mixed with water from an underground aqueduct.
The beautiful copper distillation tanks serve as a reminder that Casa Herradura has been committed to creating the world’s very best tequilas for over a century.
The Blue Weber Agave
Blue Weber Agave flourishes in the volcanic lowland regions around Amatitián region and produces an herbaceous, complex flavor.
Once mature, agave plants are carefully harvested and trimmed down to their cores, or piñas. Millions of agave, propagated from the original plants grown on our grounds since 1870, are meticulously cared for at Casa Herradura.
The agave is harvested exclusively by jimadores, who cut the pencas (leaves) as close as possible to the heart of the piña (plant) to prevent bitterness. Dangerous predators like snakes or scorpions often make their home in the field, making the jimador’s job challenging. The role of a jimador is one of the last true apprenticeships in the world, with many jimador families having lived for generations within the Hacienda walls at Casa Herradura.
To harvest mature agave plants, jimadores employ a coa – a curved, sharpened blade at the end of a long handle – a tool that requires considerable skill and strength.
The cooking of the agave is a critical part of creating Tequila Herradura. Each piña is placed within the ovens and carefully monitored until the exact moment that they ready for the next stage of the process. Up to 40 tons of agave is carefully hand-stacked inside each oven where it is slowly steamed for up to 26 hours to perfectly convert the starches into sugars. Prior to milling, the agave is cooled in the ovens for nine hours.
After the oven, cooked agave is milled twice. In the first pass, agave is ground into small pieces and softened with demineralized water. Then, the bagazo (fibre) is milled again to extract the remaining juice. This mosto (agave nectar) is extremely sweet and rich and what makes tequila.
Casa Herradura utilizes a 100% natural fermentation process. Over 16 different species of fruit trees provide the different strains of yeast that make the Tequila Herradura flavour profiles so unique. Within the fermentation tank, the yeast and mosto combine over the course of three days before being ready to be distilled into tequila.
Distilled twice to remove the heads (methanol) and tails (superior alcohols and vinasas), only the best alcohol is preserved to deliver a product of complex flavour. Even our traditional alembic stills (or pot stills) contribute to the superior flavour profile of the final product.
Each batch is repeatedly tested and reviewed by an exclusive panel of tequila experts prior to bottling or preparation for barrel aging.
Tequila Herradura is barrel-aged from 45 days to 49 months in 55-gallon charred American White Oak barrels to create a robust flavour profile. Casa Herradura is the only tequila maker that produces its own barrels and the only one to age their tequila beyond industry standards to optimize flavour notes.
The famous Herradura horseshoe is carefully hand-applied to each bottle and meticulously inspected before being shipped from Herradura’s Casa to yours.
To reduce their environmental footprint, Herradura integrates sustainable practices into every facet of their production process, from minimising waste and purifying water to maximizing energy efficiency. They are the only tequila producer to receive the 2015 Environmental Excellence Award from Mexico’s Federal Attorney for Environmental Protection (PROFEPA).
Fact: Tequila Herradura Is the World’s Most Gold Medal-Awarded Tequila Ever
Fact: Herradura Invented Tequila Reposado in 1974
Fact: Casa Herradura Was Home to The First Female Master Tequila Distiller. Master distiller Teresa Lara López, now retired, elevated the craft of distilling tequila for 30 years.