The El Tesoro brand, known in Mexico as Tequila Tapatio, is owned by the Camarena family. The Camarenas have produced tequila near the town of Arandas, since 1937, with patriarch Don Felipe taking control in 1971. Don Felipe is still active, but the daily operation is being turned over to his son, Carlos.
Their distillery, La Alteņa, is a working museum surrounded by dramatic construction ongoing since 1995. All agaves used for El Tesoro tequila come from the Camarenas agave fields. They own more than two thousand acres of land planted to 2.5 million agaves. Agaves are selectively harvested according to ripeness. They are split and then slow cooked in traditional hornos for 48 hours. After a 24-hour cooling period, the piņas are pulverized by a tractor-drawn stone tahona. The pulp is hand carried in wooden buckets to wooden tanks, where it is diluted for fermentation. After a three-to five- day fermentation, the aguamiel is again hand carried to the stills. The first distillation includes the pulp. The second distillation is completed in a tiny 500-liter still. El Tesoro tequilas are distilled to proof, approximately 42% alcohol. Visiting La Alteņa is a must for any true tequila aficionado.
El Tesoro is imported into the United States by Robert Denton and Company. Denton and his partner, Marilyn Smith, have almost single-handedly educated North America about fine tequilas, and their El Tesoro and Chinaco brands have become industry standards. They have fought for consistency in labeling and for adherence to Mexican law governing the proper use of agave in tequila production.
El Tesoro tequilas are rugged with powerful, earthy agave flavors and aromas. Aged tequilas are blended from several different batches of tequila, so oak remains an accent rather than an overpowering component. Rich, viscous, and complex, El Tesoro is not subtle, but it is intensely representative of Los Altos agave and tequila.
El Tesoro Plata: Brilliantly clear. Wow! intensity and pungent on the attack. Muy macho and suave intensity. Intense earthy agave character, like pavement after a summer rain. Smoky with floral notes in the aroma. Sweet, thick, and viscous in the mouth. White pepper and lemon flavors mix with the agave. Harsh and hot in the finish.
El Tesoro Aņejo: Lovely yellow gold color. Wow! and pungent. Macho and suave agave intensity. Intense agave aromas redolent with earth, smoke, and caramel. Butter, caramel, toast, and vanilla flavors swirl around the strong agave flavor base. Slightly sweet with a medium mouth feel. The finish is hot, with long-lasting agave flavor and hints of pepper and lemon.
Tapatio Reposado: Yellow color with a strong, slightly pungent attack. Muy macho and suave agave intensity. Powerful wet cement agave aromas with lots of floral and citrus notes blended with hints of pepper and smoke. Low sweetness with a medium mouth feel. All elements of flavor are beautifully balanced, except the wet cement agave, which is the main attraction. The finish is tingly, featuring long-lasting agave flavor.