José Cuervo Tequila Tasting with Don Francisco Hajnal Alfaro Maestro Tequilero

“Tequila is to enjoy, to know it, to really feel it in the body.” – Don Francisco Hajnal Alfaro

José Cuervo Tequila - Don Francisco Hajnal
The Tasting Room at the Oak Barrel in Sydney

During BarShow Week, a special tequila tasting was led by Don Francisco Hajnal, Master Blender for José Cuervo at the Oak Barrel premises in Sydney. The intimate event took guests on a journey through a range of tequilas including the rare José Cuervo 250 Aniversario valued at $4500 AUD.

José Cuervo Tequila - Don Francisco Hajnal

Brightly coloured ponchos, floor mats and flower arrangements coloured the Oak Barrel’s tasting room with a Mexican theme and set the scene to convert the die-hard critics who associate the spirit with the “Lick. Sip. Suck.” mantra.

José Cuervo Tequila - Don Francisco Hajnal
Don Francisco Hajnal Alfaro, Maestro Tequilero 

Don Francisco Hajnal Alfaro has been maestro tequilero, master blender, for José Cuervo since 1981. A maestro tequilero is a person in charge of all the tequila making process from the Agave plant to the bottle. His role is to develop different products especially towards the end process when the tequila is bottled, and make changes if necessary to the profile of the tequila. As chief blender, he ensures that the blending of different ages of tequila results in an exact profile that never changes.

José Cuervo Tequila - Don Francisco Hajnal

José Cuervo is the oldest producer of tequila and dates back to 1758 when the king of Spain granted Don José Cuervo with wide extension of land to grow Agave. From artisanal beginnings, he produced some kind of tequila and later, under the rule of another Spanish king, he was granted the first official permission to commercialise tequila.  At the time, the product was known as vino mezcal (cooked wine), due to the name given to the agave plant by the indigenous people. The company has been family-managed since its beginnings, with the 10th generation continuing the traditions.

Tequila is made from the blue agave plant known as Agave Azul Tequilana Weber. Weber is the name of the botanic who came to Mexico, studied many Agave varieties and concluded that the blue Agave was the best for tequila. It takes 6-12 years for the Agave plant to mature.

The process of tequila making starts with “el jimador”, an experienced farmer who uses a large implement  with a circular steel to dig the plant and remove the leaves, leaving behind what is called a piña, which resembles a pineapple. The piñas are slowly cooked in stone ovens for 48 hours to release its sugars, changing colour from white to brown. After it has cooled down for 15 hours, it goes to the mills where the fibres are pressed to extract the juice that is used in the distillation.

José Cuervo Silver

José Cuervo Tequila - Don Francisco Hajnal
José Cuervo Silver

The first tequila on taste is the José Cuervo Silver, the latest addition to La Familia, a tequila that is not aged andcontains no additives.

José Cuervo Tequila - Don Francisco Hajnal
Don Francisco demonstrating the formation of “tears”

Don Francisco explains that tasting should involve all the senses. He demonstrates how to tilt the glass almost horizontally, and turn it then hold it up and watch the formed circle of liquid go down into drops or what is called tears. To get the maximum of aromas, place the nose into the glass, mouth slightly open and inhale. When it comes to taste, take a little in the mouth, leave it for 10 seconds then swallow the liquid.

José Cuervo Silver ishas a light Agave flavour with molasses from the sugar cane, mild citric notes with green fruits. Popular with shots, it is a little rough on the palate but has a clean finish.

José Cuervo Gold

José Cuervo Tequila - Don Francisco Hajnal
José Cuervo Gold

José Cuervo Gold is known as a reposado tequila, meaning rested, with a straw golden colour comes from ageing in barrels for 3 months.

José Cuervo Tequila - Don Francisco Hajnal

There is oak on the nose, with a little cinnamon spice and pepper with no green fruit or mature fruit notes. With an aroma “like a flower that’s just opened”, this is a smoother tequila that is well balanced. This is a tequila I have often used in a Margarita and delivers a smoother cocktail than using the José Cuervo Silver.

José Cuervo Tradicional

José Cuervo Tequila - Don Francisco Hajnal
José Cuervo Tradicional

José Cuervo Tradicional introduces 100% Agave tequila, compared to others where the minimum sugars is at 51%. Tradicional comes in the original bottle design for José Cuervo and is meant to be sipped neat.

José Cuervo Tequila - Don Francisco Hajnal

A light straw coloured liquid, the aromas has the essence of Agave with light oak tones. There is more wood on the nose, due to resting in oak for 7 months. There is sweetness from the Agave, with dried fruit, mature fruits and a mild herbal flavour. Smoother than its predecessor, it is also sweeter with a long finish. A drink that is promoted to be enjoyed neat after being chilled for one hour.

José Cuervo Platino

José Cuervo Tequila - Don Francisco Hajnal
José Cuervo Platino

José Cuervo Platino is made from 100% Agave that has been matured 10-12 years in a special field. Made from a process called Esencia de Agave which concentrates the richness of the Agave in the spirit.

José Cuervo Tequila - Don Francisco Hajnal

There are strong Agave notes with hints of vanilla and oak and a light herbaceous aromas. Rich and smooth, velvety in the mouth with soft Agave flavours on the palate, this tequila, according to Don Francisco, bears the tagline “please drink me”.

José Cuervo Reserva de la Familia Extra Añejo

José Cuervo Tequila - Don Francisco Hajnal
José Cuervo Reserva de la Familia Extra Añejo

The Reserva de la Familia Extra Añejo is the tequila chosen to be shared with consumers when the José Cuervo company turned 200 years old. Not a vintage tequila, it is one that is aged in new American oak for a minimum of 3 years.

José Cuervo Tequila - Don Francisco Hajnal

On the nose, there is a fine wood aroma, with dried fruit overtones. Elegant with hints of butterscotch, vanilla, and fine chocolate, this tequila borders on the complexity of a Cognac, and according to Don Francisco, says “please drink me slowly”.

José Cuervo 250 Aniversario

José Cuervo Tequila - Don Francisco Hajnal

The much anticipated José Cuervo 250 Aniversario is presented in a box which has a lock and key.

José Cuervo Tequila - Don Francisco Hajnal

The collector’s bottle resembles a decanter with hand stitching on the side and numbering on the hand-blown glass.

José Cuervo Tequila - Don Francisco Hajnal

This rare tequila is blended from the most select tequilas in the family’s reserve and aged in new American oak barrels for a minimum of three years. After the tequilas are blended, they are finished in sherry casks from Spain for 10 months which give it a unique character and a deep auburn hue.

The 250 Aniversario has a unique aroma – rich and complex with refined agave notes, sweet honey and chocolate. More akin to a Cognac and even an aged Armagnac, this rare tequila, valued at $4500 AUD per 750ml bottle says, “drink me… and kill me slowly” – an apt tag line with which to conclude the tasting.

¡Salud!

José Cuervo Tequila - Don Francisco Hajnal
Pechugas de polo (Marinated chicken breast with lime, sherry, brown sugar and oregano)

José Cuervo Tequila - Don Francisco Hajnal
Corn and roast pumpkin empanadita

José Cuervo Tequila - Don Francisco Hajnal
Chorizo chipolatas

José Cuervo Tequila - Don Francisco Hajnal
Don Francisco with his Maestro Tequilero tasting horn

José Cuervo Tequila - Don Francisco Hajnal
250 Aniversario and the José Cuervo range on taste

The José Cuervo Tequila Tasting with Don Francisco Hajnal was held on Wednesday 14 September 2011 at the Oak Barrel in Sydney.

José Cuervo Tequila
http://www.cuervo.com

The Oak Barrel
152 Elizabeth Street
Sydney NSW 2000
http://www.oakbarrel.com.au

Gourmantic attended the event as media guests.

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

This article is posted on Gourmantic.com - All rights reserved - Copyright © 2016.

José Cuervo Tequila Tasting with Don Francisco Hajnal Alfaro Maestro Tequilero was last modified: December 20th, 2015 by Corinne Mossati

Did you enjoy this article? Share it with your friends using the icons below.

Corinne Mossati

Corinne Mossati is the founder and editor of Gourmantic. An avid scribe, she has taken pen to paper since the age of five. Her repertoire includes long works of fiction, short stories and travelogues. She is a winner of the GT travel writing competition, has judged the Australasian Whisky Awards and several cocktail competitions. She is also named in the Australian Bartender Most Influential List.

11 Comments:

  1. Pingback: BarShow Week 2011 Highlights | Gourmantic

  2. Pingback: BarShow Week Exhibition 2011 at the Hordern Pavilion | Gourmantic

  3. Dang, you really are going to so many great events this month! Trying to curb my jealousy….especially for Tequila tasting, reminds me of home…yum.. Plus, I think one of those lovely blondes above is you, any hints? Inquiring minds want to know, lol.. bon martini Friday and bon weekend bella!

    • It’s been an amazing month with special events, that’s for sure. This tasting was an incredible opportunity not only to taste the 250 Aniversario but to meet Don Francisco.
      As for the inquiring minds, they will be answered in private :)

  4. Pingback: Patrón Tequila Tasting at the Oak Barrel | Gourmantic

  5. Pingback: 2011: A Gourmantic Year in Review & Christmas Message | Gourmantic

  6. Pingback: Sydney Agave Cartel: The Tequila Route and Los Altos | Gourmantic

  7. Pingback: El Topo, Bondi Junction | Gourmantic

  8. Pingback: World Cocktail Week Mexican Wrap Party | Gourmantic

  9. Pingback: Don Julio & Jose Cuervo Tequila Tasting Notes | Gourmantic

  10. Pingback: Agave Love in Sydney | Gourmantic

Comments are closed