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Patrón launches a trio of tahona-only tequilas

Patrón Spirits has launched Roca Patrón, a trio of tahona-only tequilas, in the US. This is the company’s first line of tequilas produced entirely from the labour-intensive, centuries-old tahona process.

Crafted from only the highest-quality 100% Weber Blue Agave, each tequila in the new Roca Patrón family – Roca Patrón Silver, Roca Patrón Reposado, and Roca Patrón Añejo – is traditionally handcrafted at a specific proof, higher than the core line of Patrón tequilas, to create the perfect balance of flavours.

Roca Patrón is the product of a painstakingly meticulous – and today rarely practiced – process that starts with a tahona, a giant two-tonne stone wheel hand-carved from volcanic rock (roca), that slowly crushes the cooked agave to break the bonds of fibre and release the rich agave juice. From here, both the juice and the agave fibre are placed together into wooden fermentation vats for 72 hours, and then distilled in small-capacity, handmade copper pot stills. Because of its intensive nature, it is believed that only a handful of the more than 150 working tequila distilleries in Mexico still utilise the tahona process.

“What truly sets this process apart from other more automated methods of producing tequila is that in the tahona process, we introduce the agave fibers – not just the agave juice – into fermentation and distillation,” says Francisco Alcaraz, Patrón’s master distiller.

“Patrón is one of only a small number of distilleries in Mexico that still uses this traditional tahona process. It’s very time consuming and expensive to create tequila in this way, but it’s well worth the effort, as the tahona method creates an incredible and distinctively complex tequila, characterised by its earthy and vegetal aromas and flavour.”

While Roca Patrón is the company’s first line of tequilas crafted exclusively from the tahona process, the process itself is nothing new to Patrón. From the brand’s very beginning, every tequila in the Patrón portfolio has included tahona tequila in the blend. The core line of Patrón tequilas, and Gran Patrón Platinum and Gran Patrón Burdeos, are created from a combination of tahona tequila and tequilas produced from the more modern roller mill process. Patrón has also recently introduced a tahona-only extra añejo, Gran Patrón Piedra.

“From the beginning, we set out to create the highest-quality, most exceptional, ultra-premium tequila possible using traditional and time-honoured distillation techniques,” says Ed Brown, president and CEO of Patrón Spirits. “Because the tahona process has always been an integral part of our recipe, we now have the proud opportunity to introduce a tahona-only artisanal tequila, a spirit that only a brand like Patrón can truly perfect.

“Consumers’ appreciation for fine tequila has quickly grown and evolved, and Roca Patrón represents our continued commitment to producing top-quality, highly crafted and innovative spirits that people around the world are seeking.”

The Roca Patrón line of tequilas are sweeter, earthier and more vegetal – with distinctive notes of roasted agave – than other Patrón varietals, exhibiting more complexity and slightly less citrus, pepper and fruit. The aged variants are rested in single-use American bourbon barrels – Roca Patrón Reposado for five months, Roca Patrón Añejo for 14 months; this differs from the core Patrón line, which are aged in a blend of new and used oak barrels. Through extensive experimentation and tasting, the Patrón master distiller team determined that the ideal flavour characteristics of Roca Patrón Silver came through at 45% alcohol (90 proof). Similarly, Roca Patron Reposado is optimal at 84 proof, and Roca Patrón Añejo at 88 proof.

The Roca Patrón packaging was designed to evoke the rustic characteristics of this outstanding spirit. Bottles have the same design language as the other Patrón tequilas, with some special features including a distinctive medallion bearing Patrón’s iconic bee, and a color-coordinated, hand tied and finished rope.

The suggested retail prices for the Roca Patrón line of tequilas are US$69.99 (750ml), US$79.99 (750ml) and US$89.99 (750ml).

They will be available first in the US from this summer, before making their way into additional markets across the globe.


21 July 2014 - Felicity Murray The Drinks Report, editor