A few months ago we went to the grand opening of Total Wine & More in Estero, Florida. While there I got the chance to try Azuñia Tequila, a 100% blue agave tequila from Amatitán, Jalisco, Mexico. They were pouring a few, but I only tried the añejo. It was awesome! While there I met Denny Larson and we hit it off. A few weeks later we met for drinks and I got the chance to try all of their different tequilas. I also got the chance to interview Denny.
By the way, I now work at Total Wine. That has nothing to do with Denny, but I find it interesting I go to the grand opening, and end up getting a job there! Anyway, it is my pleasure to introduce you to Denny Larson.
How long have you been with Azuñia Tequila?
I’ve been with Azuñia for one and a half years.
Azuñia produces four different tequilas. Can you give me an overview of them and what your favorite bottle is?
We produce 4 types that are all uniquely different each having their own characteristics. I feel that our Black is one of the best spirits I have ever tasted.
- Blanco: The Azuñia Blanco is unaged, soft with subtle agave fruit and lemon on the nose finished with light pepper and citrus flavors.
- Reposado: The Azuñia Reposado is rested in American oak barrels for 8 months, presenting a light agave aroma with hints of butterscotch and wood. Delight in the warmth of its slight vanilla finish.
- Añejo: Our Azuñia Añejo is a “sip-able” ultra-premium tequila that is aged eighteen-months in American oak barrels for a smooth, buttery finish of vanilla, chocolate and caramel. This alluring classic añejo has a nose full of fruit and caramel.
- Black: This tequila is estate-crafted, 2-year extra aged, Special Reserve añejo for the tequila connoisseur. Every barrel is filled and rested on-site at our family-owned-and-operated distillery, where each bottle is numbered and signed by our Master Distiller, Salvador Rivera Cardona. I feel that our Azuñia Black is one of the best spirits I have ever tasted.
Where is the distillery located?
The distillery is in Amatitan, Jalisco, Mexico.
Do you get the chance to visit very often?
A couple times a year. We enjoy entertaining customers at Rancho Miravalle, home of Azunia Tequila.
Azuñia Tequila is USDA Organic. Tell me more about what that means for a distillery to be organic and how many other distilleries are certified organic?
Only the best Weber Blue Agave and the purest water make the best quality tequilas. At Azuñia, we take pride that our Blanco and Reposado tequilas have USDA organic certification. For tequila to be USDA Certified and BioAgriCert Organic, a rigorous certification process must be followed. The Weber Blue Agave must be grown without pesticides, synthetic fertilizers, sewage sludge, or genetically modified organisms (GMOs). The tequila process also must not include any additives. The regulations are stringently adhered to and we must go through an annual recertification process to maintain the organic status. We are one of only a very small handful of organic tequilas in the market.
You can use tequila to make a wide range of cocktails. What are some of your favorites and does Azuñia have any signature drinks?
I enjoy a wide range of tequila cocktails. My favorite is our signature cocktail the Organica. I also make tequila mojitos with strawberry and basil and another with watermelon and mint. Also the Mexican Mule (Azuñia tequila, lime juice and ginger beer) is a refreshing drink. You can visit our website www.azuniatequila.com where you can view dozens of great cocktails.
Where can someone try/buy Azuñia Tequila?
Azuñia is available at Total Wine & More. Consumers can also try Azuñia at many local restaurants and bars.
What sort of information goes out in the Azuñia Tequila Newsletter?
Get new recipes, what’s going on in the market, accounts where you can enjoy Azuñia, contests that we will be hosting, and more in the Azuñia newsletter. Lots of good information.
How much should I expect to pay for a bottle of Azuñia?
Blanco is usually about $39, Reposado about $45, Añejo about $52 and our Black about $115.
You are hosting a tequila dinner at Tiburón Golf Club later this year. Tell me more about that dinner and what attendees can expect to experience that night.
That will be a fun evening for sure. We will first start with a reception cocktail hour which will include a couple tequila cocktails. It will be a four-course dinner with each course having the tequila-infused as part of the recipe to show how versatile tequila is. Throughout the dinner we will share stories about our estate and educate everyone on the process of making tequila and answer any questions they may have.
I am sure you are going to say Mexican food, but what are some popular menu items that pair well with Azuñia?
Tacos are very popular now and are offered in so many ways. I enjoy spicy food with our Organica margarita.
When you aren’t drinking tequila, what is in your glass?
I am drinking wine or whiskey.
How important is the tequila.net rating to the overall success of your brand?
Tequila.net has been rating tequila brands for many years. We like to use the rating we received from them, and although we feel it’s important, the ultimate grade comes from customers who taste our brand.
Azuñia is active on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and Instagram. Who manages the social media and what sort of success have you had with it?
We have a marketing team who takes care of our social media presence. It’s a great way to let our fans know what we’re up to. We’ve made many great connections via social media since in many cases it’s the first time some people are exposed to the brand.
Tell me more about the Azuñia Tequila blog.
This is another great tool to get customers to know more about the brand. However, we have recently been concentrating on our social media presence and our newsletter.
When someone is new to tequila, what should he or she expect to smell, taste, etc.
When trying Azuñia for the first time? On the Blanco, the sweetness of the agave is what first comes across, both in the aroma and the taste. Next you’ll experience light notes of pepper and citrus, followed by a nice, smooth finish. As you move on to sample the Reposado, Añejo and Black, you’ll start to taste more of that whiskey influence from the barrel, getting more of it as you move to the more aged expressions, with the pepper and citrus notes still there but decreasing in flavor. The sweetness and smooth tastes persist throughout.
What’s next for Azuñia Tequila?
Azuñia is only known by a somewhat select group of customers when you take into account the national distribution the big brands enjoy. The next steps for Azuñia is to grow more on a national level, increasing distribution but maintaining that amazing quality and taste we are now known for.
In all of the interviews I do, I always give the artist the last word. Go.
I always encourage consumers to keep an open palate and try many different things. Also step outside the box and get creative in your recipes. Tequila isn’t just for margaritas.
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