by Guillermo Barroso, Founder and Maestro Tequilero of El Pintor Tequila & Mezcal
At El Pintor, our story starts in the state of Jalisco in the towns of Tequila and Capilla de Guadalupe. Our tequilas represent two very distinct terroirs - El Pintor Blanco is from the Lowlands (also known as the Heartlands), while El Pintor Joven is from the Highlands.
The Highlands are 125 miles above sea level while the Lowlands are just half a mile above sea level. The difference in elevation develops unique characteristics in the finished product. In the Lowlands of Tequila, the spirit has more mineral and herbal notes. Agaves from the highlands are more stressed out - less rainfall in the highlands creates more stress, and the agaves go dormant during the colder winters. This results in larger agave with a more floral flavor profile.
In both cities, the land is surrounded by volcanic soil, which is very rich in minerals and gives the soil its distinct redness. This soil is the perfect place for Tequila weber agaves to flourish. The agave’s sole purpose is to harvest the sun’s energy and reproduce. They take up to 8 years to grow. At around 4 years, the plant starts to develop a quiote, which is a stem that will grow and develop flowers. The creation of the quiote takes a tremendous amount of energy - after the flowers blossom and the seeds for the new agaves have been scattered, the agave has served its life’s purpose and will die. Once the agave starts to develop its first quiote, the jimador cuts it off, and the plant starts to gather more and more starches to develop a new quiote.
About six to twelve months after the quiote is cut off, the pina in the agave plant starts to ripen. Experienced jimadores look for a deep red spots on the leaves of the agave, as well as drooping of the leaves - this indicates that the agave is ready to be harvested. Once the agave has matured, it is harvested - the first step in making a delicious tequila.