So you say you have a nice collection of bottles of tequila at your home bar? Oh, and it's top-shelf stuff?
Yawn. Talk to us when you have your own barrel of tequila.
In June of 2011, tequila distillery Tequila Herradura announced the launch of its Buy the Barrel program, which allows tequila connoisseurs to travel to the distillery near Guadalajara, Mexico to select and purchase their very own barrel of liquor. Five restaurants in Arizona have purchased bottles to take home since; the Spotted Donkey Cantina at el Pedregal became the fifth in January.
Along with other restaurateurs, Spotted Donkey general manager Cameron Carlin completed a comprehensive two-day tour of Herradura that included a start-to-finish learning process about how to produce tequila.
"People don't realize the artistry and craftsmanship that goes into tequila," Carlin says. "It's a slow, natural process that takes time. You come away loving and appreciating the product even more."
Each participant in the program is then offered three barrels to choose from, depending on the flavor profile they're looking for. Carlin, who says he wanted something versatile -- both easily blendable with margaritas and good for sipping -- went with barrel number three, though the choice was tough. Carlin went back and forth over which barrel to choose for over an hour.
"Each barrel was very different," he says. "One was very vanilla-heavy. The one we went with had nice citrus tones and notes of black pepper."
His choice, the Herradura Double Barrel Reposado, is a non-blended tequila that's aged in oak barrels for eleven months and rested an additional month in a second, toasted oak barrel for finishing. Once chosen, the tequila was placed in 240 bottles adorned with personalized labels -- in this case, Spotted Donkey's logo -- along with a number and bottling date. The barrel itself was varnished, branded and shipped to the restaurant with a framed certificate of ownership.
If you want to buy your own barrel, be prepared to spend -- the barrels run about $10,000 each. A cheaper option would be to head to Spotted Donkey, the only place this particular barrel's tequila is available.