Don Felipe Camarena was born into a family that had distilled tequila since back in the early 1800s. The family'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 Altena 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 Altena 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 Altena 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.
The Reposado is a more restrained Tequila than the Blanco and is aged for four months in ex-bourbon casks, two months longer than the law dictates. Tapatio Reposado is best enjoyed in a wine glass to fully bring out the honey and spicy character.
Nose: Led by Tapatio's trademark pepperiness, this is more mellow than you might expect. Fruity apple and an undercurrent of roasted agave are joined by sweet cream and a hint of wood smoke.
Palate: Again, the pepper leads the way, but doesn't get in the way of the fruit and cream from the nose. The time spent in wood has added more spice to the already spicy spirit, although it has also rounded off some of the edges.
Finish: Spicy, but not spiky. Fades very slowly.