Monday, December 24, 2018

Tuesday Treasures

Tom the backroads traveller hosts this weekly meme.

December 2018 - Mazatlan Mexico

Our visit to Los Osuna was in two parts. Last Wednesday we went to see the pinas being grinded. On Monday we had a private tour of the fermentation and bottling process.

As you drive into Los Osuna.

In 1933, Alfonso Tirado Osuna supported by family and local industry leaders, ran and won the Mayoral seat in Mazatlán. He became a very popular Mayor, much to the chagrin of the Governor of Sinaloa and the ruling PRI Party (Mexico’s Ruling Party). In retaliation, the Governor sent a cavalry of 320 men to confiscate and seize the Agave farms and factories and redistribute the land to local peasants. Los del Monte, a 40 man mountain rebel militia was hired by the Vinata owners and a bloody battle took place near the Los Osuna property. The Army Cavalry was defeated and lost 206 men, with only six of the militia group dying. Relative calm ensued and Mayor Alfonso Osuna remained in office for two years and then returned to manage the family’s Mescal business. Because of his immense popularity while Mayor, a movement began to have him enter and run in the upcoming state gubernatorial elections. In 1938, while at the Hotel Rosales in the capital town of Culiacán a gunman appeared and assassinated him. As it turned out, the gunman was the Chief of the State Police who testified it was a justified homicide caused by a barroom fight. The Police Chief was lightly sentenced to a minimum prison term. Most people believe it was a planned assassination by Mayor Osuna’s political opponents.

Six years later, in 1944, during a Carnival party at the Hotel Belmar in Mazatlán, the governor of Sinaloa, Rodilfo T. Loisa—the person believed to have ordered the killing of Mayor Osuna—was shot three times and killed. Many suspect the gunman was hired by Mayor Osuna’s father. As a result of what many believed to be retribution for the assassination of Governor Loisa, beginning in 1949 it was decreed that tequila from only a few selected regions, primarily in the State of Jalisco, could meet the Standards of Tequila Classifications. As a result, most of the Vinatas in Sinaloa closed, including the Vinata Los Osuna.

Fast forward to the year 2000, the fifth generation Osuna’s, Alfonso and Sergio Pelayo Osuna, decide to restore their family’s business. Alfonso Osuna met with the President of Mexico and received permission to produce and distribute their product so long as they did not represent it as Tequila.

  • Los Osuna Blanco, Reposado & Añejo are designed and maintained by the legendary Master Distiller and consultant, Ing. Leopold Solis Tinoco. 
  • A TRUE CRAFT distillery that is a small batch, single estate brand with local and naturally grown agave and yeast. 
  • 140 year old in-ground brick ovens cook the agave, followed by a slow, 5 day, cool fermentation process while playing Baroque classical music.
  •  All heads and tails are discarded and no colorings, flavorings or thickeners are added to the Blanco, Reposado or Añejo.

Just as only sparkling wine from Champagne can be called champagne, so too with tequila. Click here for our visit to Tequila a couple of years ago.

  • Our Lowland Agave is harvested at 8-10 years of age.
  • The spines are cut off clean and the piñas are transported to the distillery
  • Once at the distillery the piñas are halved and stems (cogollos) removed. 
  •  The process then requires four stages

We were here because  Bill and Carol knew they would be grinding the pinas today. This is only done every five months so this would be our only opportunity.

  • Cooking is done in traditional underground brick ovens (140 years old) for 48 hours with steam heat. 
  •  Cooking transforms the starch into fermentable sugars, and softens the structure of the plant to facilitate extraction of the juices or “jugos”

Me, tasting the warm tequila fresh from the press. Pure sugar.

  • At this stage, the purpose is to obtain the largest possible amount of liquid sugar from the agave. 
  •  A traditional four step mill is used to mash and extract

Fermentation is the most important stage to obtain the desired characteristics of our product. Our locally developed yeast transforms the sugars into alcohol. Slow and cool fermentation in wood tanks enhances the unique qualities and characteristics of Los Osuna. Baroque Classical music plays during fermentation.

Now in the barrels.

  • All Los Osuna products are twice distilled: the first, called “destrozamiento” yields a product called “ordinario” and the second distillation, called rectification produces the “tequila.” 
  • The Second distillation produces the rough product at 60° alcohol/volume and has the aroma and the flavor of the Blue Agave plant. 
  • The first still is copper/stainless steel, the second still is made of wood and copper, which also adds flavor. Wood stills are a unique rarity these days in Mexico. 

Alambiques Los Osuna

  • After the product is obtained at 60° of alcohol, it is lowered to 40° by adding local deep well, distilled water which gives you the finished Los Osuna Blanco Expression. The Blanco is then rested for 90 days before bottling. 
  • To make Reposado, the Blanco is introduced into new White Oak Barrels #2 Char and aged about 11 months. 
  • The Añejo is aged up to 3 years in the same barrels and then blended. 
  •  During the aging process the products refine its flavors and its bouquet after resting in white oak barrels. The product’s alcohol absorbs the different substances from the wood resulting in a perfect balance of texture, body, flavor and smoothness.
All bottling is done on site.

John has a new talent to add to his resume.

The bottling guy took a video as well.

Needless to say we "had" to try a few samples.


  1. ...'had' or wanted to try? It looks like you are having a great time on your trip. Thanks Jackie for stopping by, Merry Christmas.


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