In 1826, Padre Feliciano built a grand new residence and renamed the ranch Hacienda del Padre (The Priest House). In 1858, the majority of the Hacienda passed into the hands of Joséfa Zalazar, Padre Feliciano’s goddaughter who hired Félix López to manage the Hacienda and its distillery. In 1866, Joséfa was forced to deed much of the Hacienda to Félix López in lieu of unpaid wages. Just four years later, Félix López assumed majority ownership of Hacienda del Padre and renamed it Hacienda San José de Refugio. In the same year, he officially registered the hacienda as being a place of tequila production and it is this 1870 date that Herradura print on their labels as being the brand’s origin. In 1928, the brand name ‘Tequila Herradura’ was registered in Mexico City and for more than two decades the tequila enjoyed steady growth as it earned respect from the Mexicans. The brand’s export started to develop in 1955, when Hollywood celebrities Bing Crosby and Phil Harris started an import business to launch Tequila Herradura to the U.S. market. In the late 1950s, Gabriela de la Peña took over the company, and during her 40-year era that followed, she oversaw continued modernisation and expansion. A new distillery was built alongside the original in 1963, with the old distillery closed and preserved as a museum. Today, the modern Casa Herradura facility covers some 50 acres, whose traditional methods of manufacturing Mexico’s much-loved spirit have been respected by his ancestors to this day. Herradura means “horseshoe” in Spanish and the “lucky” label has never deserted this 100-percent Mexican firm throughout its illustrious history.
What Herradura has here is a powerful and quite delightful exemplar of blanco tequila. The bouquet is sharp and peppery, with distinct lemon overtones. Clear agave character pervades, with nothing adulterating about it. On the palate, a rush of flavor hits quickly — more citrus, laced with spicy notes including cinnamon, gingerbread, and light sandalwood notes. While quite warming, it is surprisingly balanced and easy-drinking, a very pleasant sipper with a lacy, just-right body. The finish, which eventually turns vegetal as it fades away.