Tequila Herradura was founded in 1861 by Feliciano Romo in Amatitan, a small hillside town about six miles south of the town of Tequila. According to the family history, while Feliciano was looking for a building site for his distillery, he caught a glint of light flashing in the ground. Closer inspection revealed an old horseshoe, and thus the site was selected. The brand name, Herradura, means horseshoe in Spanish.
The original distillery has been transformed into a museum through the efforts of the Romo family. Both the original distillery and the current ultra-modern one are situated on the family estate, San José del Refugio, in Amatitan. Guillermo "Bill" Romo is the current general manager.
Modeled after a small European estate, Herradura grows all of its own agave on 10 thousand acres containing some eight million agave plants. Current production is four million liters annually, and about 75% is sold in Mexico. Herradura projects 1012% annual growth for the next ten years to reach an annual production of nine million liters.
All Herradura tequilas are made from 100% blue agave. Herradura ferments, distills, ages, and bottles its tequilas on the premises without additives, sugars, or colorings. Herradura has earned the right to use the legal terms "natural" and "estate bottled" on its U.S. labels.
Herradura successfully combines traditional and state-of-the-art tequila making methods. They have pioneered research into yeast types to carry on the initial fermentation of the aguamiel. Their attention to cleanliness and sterility in the production process has set the standard for the industry. They continue to experiment and test for new techniques in their quest to make some of Mexicos finest tequilas.
Herradura produces four classes of tequila: Silver, Reposado (Gold), Añejo, and Seleccion Suprema. The Silver receives little or no wood aging, while the Reposado averages three to eleven months in oak barrels. The Añejo tequila is aged for one to four years in barrel, and the new Seleccion Suprema (first released in 1996) is aged for five years. Their new El Jimador brand (currently available only in Mexico but due for release in the United States by 1997), is Reposado tequila aged two to three months in oak barrels. Plans include expanding the El Jimador line to include a Blanco and a Gold tequila.
The Herradura house style is intense, concentrated agave with lots of oak flavor in their aged tequilas. The tequilas are made from very ripe agaves, and exhibit complex aromas and flavors, with some nuances of distillate compounds like ethyl acetate or aldehyde. The barrel aging regimen at Herradura sacrifices fresh agave character for more complex wood-related flavors like caramel and smoke. The oldest tequilas (Añejo and Suprema) more closely resemble fine cognacs.
Herradura Blanco: This colorless tequila has a wow! and pungent attack. Light to moderate Agave intensity is overwhelmed by other complex aromas, such as the moderate earthy aroma, slight amounts of spice, citrus, and floral scents, and loads of distilled aromas like ethyl acetate. It has a nice, full feel on the tongue with
slight sweetness, followed by an astringent drying of the palate. Moderate earth and pepper with slight floral flavors are dominated by the heavy distilled flavors. Aftertaste is surprisingly short, with no single flavor at the forefront.
Herradura Reposado: Light yellow color, and strong on the attack. Pungent with sharp ripe apple aromas and hints of acetone. Also highly caramelized, with moderate smoke, floral and agave aromas. Sweet on the entry with rich, earthy agave flavor and some dry doughy flavors. The finish is long with smoky agave and a bourbon-like aftertaste.
Herradura Añejo: Golden in color, this tequila is strong on attack and slightly pungent. Moderate agave intensity is overwhelmed by wood aging character. Moderate earthy aromas, slightly spicy, fruity, and floral, with loads of oaky, caramelized aromas, and a prominent heavy, ripe apple aroma. Medium body in the mouth, full but not sweet. Slight to moderate earthy agave flavors, with slight pepper and ¡ay caramba! levels of oak and caramel flavor. Long oaky finish, reminiscent of a good bourbon whisky.
Herradura Seleccion Suprema: A definite wow! on the attack with pungent aromas. Dark gold color. ¡Ay caramba! levels of oaky, smoky, cream soda aromas mask agave intensity. Hints of white pepper and citrus show through. Almost oily in the mouth, the tequila is slightly sweet. Flavors follow the aromas: slight earthy agave and pepper, loads of caramel and oak. The finish is long with no bitterness, full of sweet oak and whisky flavors.
El Jimador Reposado: Strong attack and slightly pungent, this tequila is a pretty yellow color. Macho intensity and suave complexity lead to high levels of earthy agave with moderate pepper, fruit, chamomile, and caramel aromas. The mouth feel is medium with a low level of sweetness. Flavors are balanced between agave, caramel, and pepper with hints of fruit and smoke. The aftertaste is moderately sweet and moderately bitter. Duration of flavor is medium with a long, hot finish.