Don Felipe Camarena was born into a family that had distilled tequila since back in the early 1800s. The familyâ€™s original distillery was destroyed and abandoned during the Mexican Revolution, therefore Don Felipe began his career by growing and selling agave plants to other distillers. In 1937, Don Felipe opened La AlteÃ±a Distillery in the mountainous region of Jalisco, Mexico, known for producing the best blue agave. His passion for doing things just right inspired his family to continue handcrafting Tapatio so it could be enjoyed by future generations.
Don Felipe passed the business to his son, Felipe J. Camarena, who in turn passed it on to his daughters; Lilianna and Gabriela, and to his son; Carlos. As Master Distiller, Carlos maintains today the standards of excellence set down by his grandfather.
La AlteÃ±a Distillery reached a proud milestone on the 7th of July 2012: 75 years of handcrafting one of the world's finest tequilas. Many of the methods used to create this fantastic spirit are still the same as a century ago. For much of the production, a large stone wheel, a Tahona, is used to crush the cooked agave plants, with the resulting juice and agave fibres mixed in a barrel by foot before fermentation and distillation. Tapatio is double distilled to as close to bottle strength as possible so that the Tequila retains as much of its natural character as possible.
In recent years the Tequilas from La AlteÃ±a distillery including Tapatio, Ocho and El Tesoro brands have become a phenomenon in the UK on-trade and they now enjoy an unrivalled reputation for quality, integrity and authenticity amongst bartenders and Tequila connoisseurs alike.
Tapatio AÃ±ejo is described by many connoisseurs as one of the world's finest sipping Tequilas, it is aged around 18 months in first-fill ex-Bourbon casks, six months longer than Mexican law dictates.
Nose: Rich and spicy, but rounded. The time in a cask has sanded the sharper edges off the agave, leaving fruit and a more subtle and refined flavour. Itâ€™s also picked up creamy notes as well as a hint of vanilla sweetness.
Palate: Comparatively weighty, but still elegant. Itâ€™s soft, with nutmeg, cinnamon and clove balanced against the agave pepperiness, and complemented by sweet fruit and cocoa richness.
Finish: Long and spicy, with herbal notes developing and fading to a chocolate-led end.
Very moreish, thanks to the softening effect of the casks. Everything is much more integrated, combining complexity and an easy-drinking character.