Francisco Alcaraz, master distiller and blender for Patrón, is a cool dude. When asked about his and Patrón’s vision for creating their range of ultra-premium (and ultra-tasty) tequilas, he explains “We don’t wish to automate.” According to Francisco, the Hacienda del Patrón in Jalisco highlands town of Atotonilco is “like a beehive” with 300 women (and one opera singing male manager serenading them). Hince the bee as the logo of Patrón? By the time a bottle of Patrón is ready to be shipped off for retail, sixty pairs of hands have touched each bottle.
I love that.
To celebrate Francisco’s forty years in the tequila business (he started working as a tequila inspector for the Mexican Industry and Commerce Department in 1968), he and Patrón’s vice president, Mike Hill, threw a lunchtime tequila tasting at the newly opened Paramount members club atop central London’s Centre Point. It just so happened the tequila-con-vista lunch coincided with the UK launch of Gran Patrón Burdeos, their limited-production triple-distilled añejo matured in new barrels of American mountain oak and oaks from different regions of France, and then racked in Bordeaux wine barrels. Of course, such a process results in a triple digit price tag for us drinking folks. If Burdeos doesn’t suite your budget, the good news is that the less economically challenging (and very easy to drink) Patrón Silver and luscious Patrón XO Café (coffee liqueur made with tequila) are a lot more affordable and readily available (I got my bottles at the Soho liquor wonderland known simply as Gerry’s).
At Paramount, I was in equal measure blown away by Patrón’s range of tequilas and by the stunning view of London. The staff was kind enough to let me take a few snapshots (I think photography is usually prohibited). Aptly named, Centre Point (just above Tottenham Court Road Tube Station) offers a panorama unlike any other in London. More than the tasty drinks and awesome sights, the best part of the lunch was simply getting to sit and chat with Francisco for much my time. What a gracious guy! His knowledge of tequila (but ability to talk about pretty much anything) made for a most enjoyable conversation. The Gran Patrón Burdeos was, indeed, among the most satisfying drinks to ever touch my lips.
Life is good,