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It was 1996 that Jose “Pepe” Hermosillo founded Casa Noble Tequila in Tequila, Jalisco, Mexico. At the time, tequila was starting to find new fans as consumer’s tastes began moving beyond a drink that was normally consumed (shot) with lime and salt. For those of us who were already in love with tequila, Casa Noble’s entrance into the industry was a welcome addition to the growing group of tequila-makers determined to produce fine spirits.

Over the years, the once small group of tequila-makers has steadily grown.  As of 2013, there were almost 2000 different tequila brands, so how does one distinguish itself? By devoting itself to quality, detail, care and technique. Casa Noble does all of this!

Casa Noble Tequila is one of only a few tequilas that are organic and CCOF certified. The CCOF – the California Certified Organic Farmers – designation, is really difficult to achieve. There are a myriad of small rules to follow.  For example, the crop of agave must be grown at least one kilometer from a motorway to avoid pollution. The result is really a much more intense and complex process in growing agave. No pesticides are used and there are no chemical growth enhancers. It is an all-natural process.

Once the agave plant is harvested, the pinas, the part of the plant that is the “heart or core”, is steamed for 36 hours in brick ovens, and put through a process to extract their juice. Most tequila distilleries crush the pinas, some with an old-timey stone wheel.  However, Casa Noble instead uses a screw-type device that shreds the pinas to get the juice.  They claim in doing this, unpleasant oils and chemicals are released from the fibers of the plant, leading to different flavor profiles. Subsequently, they end up with much less juice than their competitors, but they argue it is better tasting in the long run.

Next, Casa Noble triple distills their tequila to strip it of impurities. While most every good tequila is double-distilled, this is one of the only to use triple distillation. The process takes longer, but again they argue that the resulting product is much better.

 Adding to their list of complexities, costs and some would argue, inefficiencies of distilling their tequila, is the use of new French oak barrels. To make their reposado and añejo tequilas - both which age in oak barrels – most tequila producers would use bourbon casks. Casa Noble, however, only ages their añejos in new barrels. They then use their used barrels for the reposados. This is significant because the cost of a used barrel is about $50 while the cost of a new one is about $1000.

The result….Casa Noble tequilas have won numerous awards throughout the world. All have won gold medals at various spirit judging contests at one time or another, and are often included in the list of the best tequilas in the world.

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Like most other distillers, Casa Noble makes three types of tequila: a blanco (they refer to it as a crystal), a reposado and an añejo.

The crystal is unaged and more closely resembles the true taste of agave. This is where you experience the fruits, slight spice (including cinnamon and vanilla), pepper and earthy tones.

On the other hand, the reposado is aged for 364 days (one day short of being called añejo) in used oak barrels.  The taste includes elements of chocolate and strong cinnamon.

Their last tequila, añejo, is aged for two years in new oak barrels. This is a sweet, rich tequila to be sipped and enjoyed (not mixed!). You will find sweeter chocolate and wood notes. This is a beautiful spirit.

In the crowded tequila market, most producers are trying to find ways, methods and processes, to distinguish themselves.  While some may characterize Casa Noble’s approach as slow and inefficient, the results are some of the finest tequilas in the world!