Trip Review: Tequila!

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As I mentioned before, I decided to take a side trip to Guadalajara in between my LEVEL Airlines flights. The goal of the trip was visiting Tequila for some quality tastings.

So, after reading many of the reviews online and a talk with the hotel concierge, we decided to contract one of the tours offered by Tequila Grand Tours. I’d have to say that this tour was what I expected it to be.  It was a full day of activity although slight variations to the advertised agenda occured along the way.  My friend and I had fun, made new friends, and saw what we expected to see.

My friend and I were staying at the Intercontinental Presidente Hotel.  We arranged the “Tequila, Mariachi, y Campo Agavero” (Tequila, Mariachi, and Agave Field) trip after talking with the concierge.  We preferred a bus tour rather than taking a train to Tequila.

The tour agenda from the brochure:

  1. We will visit an agave field, where you will see a harvesting demonstration (jima).  You can try to be a “jimador” yourself.
  1. We will also visit the tequila distillery organic tequila factory.  In this place you will appreciate the whole tequila process and tasting of the best tequila.
  1. Visit the town of Tequila with one hour of free time to see some museums or shops.
  1. Lunch (Not Included) in a nice and reliable Mexicano food restaurant on time to enjoy a mariachi musich show.
  1. Then, after lunch, visit to the tequila “La Cofradia”.  Samples here too.

DURATION:  7 hours

Our tour went like this:

Told by concierge to meet in lobby at 9:15 for 9:30 pickup.   Promptly picked up in a small van at 9:30 and taken to the main departure point. At the departure point, we waited for other vans and then were boarded on 1 of 3 luxury tour buses (different tours so important to get on the correct one!).  The staff did a great job getting us on the right bus.

First stop, Tres Mujeres organic tequila distillery and factory.   While we didn’t see actual harvesting, we did see the harvested agave pineapples being thrown into shredders for processing. After this, a visit to the distillery with an explanation of the distillation process and the different kinds of tequila, followed by a visit to the cellars where the aged (añejo) tequilas are kept in oak barrels.  Overall a nice tour…no tequila tasting at the factory though.

Then we went to an agave field and were greeted by mariachi’s and escorted to a tasting area in the middle of the field.   We sampled each of Tres Mujeres brands of tequila as well as some specialty ones.  Additionally we tasted honey made from agave.   By the end of the tasting everyone was feeling pretty good and they were dancing to the mariachis!

The bus then took us to Mariscos El Mar 2 restaurant for a buffet lunch (not included with tour, 180-pesos).  The restaurant was open air and had a beautiful view of a vast valley.  Lunch was a delicious buffet with a variety of items.  A small (yes small) welcome margarita was also offered on arrival (we were already feeling fine).   The staff did a good job of bringing non-alcoholic beverages to the tables.  There was also a dessert table as part of the buffet.

We then left for the town of Tequila.  The bus has designated parking areas and we had to walk 10-12 blocks along the streets of Tequila, but it was an interesting walk seeing the town.  We were given about 1 1/2 hours total before the bus returned.

At 4:30pm, the bus left for Guadalajara and proceeded to drop everyone off at their respective hotels.  Ours was at 6pm while I imagine others were as late as 6:45. Overall, my friend and I had a fun day.  We saw everything we expected to see on this tour.  We met new friends and were happy to be back at the hotel.  Long day (approximately 8 1/2 hours from 9:30am until 6pm for us).

Conclusion

It was a great day. Maybe a bit too warm (it got to 41 °C in Tequila), but fun anyway. The tequilas we tasted were the best I’ve hade in my life, the Extra Añejo even being closer to a fine Cognac than to a rough José Cuervo. Tres Mujeres is highly recommended if you are into fine drinking, but I doubt you can get a bottle of their Premium products outside of Mexico.

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